09/08/07 — Combating jihad: We persevere because we remember

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Combating jihad: We persevere because we remember

Everybody is waiting to hear what Army Gen. David Petraeus is going to say Monday when he delivers his report to Congress on the success, failure and future for the war in Iraq.

His report is supposed to devote special attentio1An to the effectiveness of the recent troop buildup — and perhaps to give federal officials a better idea of when some of the troops stationed overseas can safely come home.

How appropriate that there should be such a discussion 24 hours before the sixth anniversary of the day that changed America — Sept. 11, 2001.

Early leaks are that the general is going to tell Congress that the surge is working, needs more time and will allow servicemen to be rotated home without being replaced.

Associated Press reports also suggest that Gen. Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker have recommended that President George W. Bush stick to his war strategy.

We will have to wait until tomorrow for the specifics on the surge and when or if our troops can come home.

But in the meantime, there is reason to remember that this is not just a discussion about Iraq, troops and the American military.

It is not even about politics and whose foreign policy is right or wrong.

It is about the future of this nation and the world.

This past week, we got a reminder that terrorism is not going away. In fact, the latest threat targeted Ramstein Air Base in Germany, which is where many Seymour Johnson Air Force Base airmen have trained. Many might even know someone who is currently stationed there.

The threats are a reminder that we still have groups of radical jihadists ready to kill Americans and their allies targeting as many innocent civilians as possible.

So, what does that mean in light of the anniversary that we will mark Tuesday?

Simple. We must never forget that the haphazard policies we followed before 2001 did nothing to prevent a group of men from taking over jet airplanes and crashing them into buildings killing 3,000 innocent men, women and children.

To pretend now, all of a sudden, that diplomacy will change the viewpoints of these extremists who think their beliefs are the only ones that are just and right is ridiculous, naive and dangerous.

And even if future safety is not enough of a motivator, there is a legacy and promise to consider.

We should not forget that on board one of those planes on that fateful day, Americans stood up and said “no more,” in a desperate attempt to save not only their own lives but those of others on the ground.

They fought back for us. Now it is our job to make sure their efforts were not in vain and that we think for the future, not just the immediate.

And that is the most important question we must ask ourselves Monday. What have we really learned?

Published in Editorials on September 8, 2007 11:24 PM