September 7, 2006, - 5:12 am
By Debbie Schlussel
When Ronald Reagan ran for President against Jimmy Carter in 1980, one simple question was the focal point of his campaign:
Are you better off today than you were four years ago?
Five years after 9/11, Reagan’s campaign question is a good template for the war on terror. On Monday, we should ask ourselves: Are we better off today than we were five years ago today?
The answer is no.
Those who hate us are in our midst, and lax immigration laws have made their entry easier. Politically correct federal law enforcement officials, civil rights proponents, and judges have all made “sensitivity” to certain ethnicities the priority over security for all Americans. Those who share the same ideology, the same religious fervor, as the 9/11 hijackers are promoted as “peaceful” in Hollywood, in Washington, and every other center of influence.
Just looking back five years ago isn’t enough. Looking back at the last great world war, World War II, and comparing it to this– World War III against Islamofascists–the answer is still no. We are not better off than we were even decades ago when we fought the the first Nazis.
A good benchmark for that is the life of Guy Gabaldon. A World War II hero, he died last week at the age of 80. Gabaldon’s amazing feat in getting more than 1,000 Japanese soldiers to surrender was celebrated in movies and on TV.
But today, he’d probably be excoriated by the New York Times, the ACLU, and Chris Matthews. He’d be lambasted in Jay Leno monologues and obnoxious Jon Stewart soliloqies.
Just an 18-year-old Marine, Gabaldon persuaded the Japanese soldiers to surrender in the Battle for Saipan. He didn’t just shake his finger at them and say: If you don’t listen, I’ll get Kofi Annan to write a letter.
Gabaldon used brazen trickery and an elementary knowledge of Japanese. He bribed them with cigarettes and candy. He warned them, making up stories about encampments surrounded by U.S. troops. He coerced Japanese soldiers into abandoning their posts and surrendering.
Gabaldon’s scheme was so successful, he won the Navy Cross, the Marines’ highest honor. His story was told on the small screen in “This is Your Life” and on the silver screen, in the 1960 movie, “Hell to Eternity.”
But today, were he fighting the war on terror, Gabaldon would not be celebrated as the “Pied Piper of Saipan.” He would be vilified and likely court-martialed the way soldier Ilario Pantano was. His ethics and integrity would be challenged by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. He’d likely be accused of violating the new Pentagon rules banning “abusive” treatment and interrogation of prisoners.
The 1,000 soldiers, whose surrender Gabaldon secured, would quickly get ACLU lawyers and gourmet meals according to their strictest Japanese diet requirements, a la Guantanamo Bay prisoners. Sean Penn might even go to visit them. And George Soros would fund websites supporting them and attacking the Allies.
Today, it’s questionable whether Guy Gabaldon would be regarded as a hero in America. But it’s certain his heroic efforts would be hotly debated and dragged through the mud over and over again.
This is the post-9/11 way. But is it really “Post”-9/11? We are not better off then we were five years ago on 9/11.
Today, we are promoting those from the same religion as the 9/11 hijackers on game shows, like this season’s “The Amazing Race.” Can you imagine putting members of the German American Bund on “Quiz Show”? It would have been unthinkable then.
But five years after 9/11, the unthinkable is not just Reality TV. It is reality.
During Guy Gabaldon’s time, the American mindset was shaped by the likes of Bob Hope and Superman promoting war bonds. Today, it is shaped by Oprah, who refused to visit young girls at schools in Afghanistan when asked by the President.
Yesterday, movies promoted our World War II efforts against the Nazis. Today, billionaire movie-makers, like Mark Cuban, make movies like “The War Within,” sympathizing with terrorists and siding against those fighting them. Yesterday, movies with Nazis as villains got Oscar nominations. But in 2006, a movie celebrating Palestinian terrorist homicide bombers, “Paradise Now,” got that nod.
During World War II, every effort was made to conserve supplies, funds, and resources to fight the war effort. Today, the Department of Homeland Security won’t spend adequate funds to update and unify an archaic set of terrorist databases for visa background checks. But DHS chief Michael Chertoff spends thousands in dollars on Daniel Sutherland, a high-ranking DHS employee whose sole purpose is to fly around the country consoling the most extremist Muslims who openly support HAMAS and Hezbollah.
Yesterday, our Justice Department hunted Nazi War criminals and prosecuted them. Today, there is no similar Office of Special Investigations to hunt Islamic terrorists. On the contrary, today, key Justice Department officials, like U.S. Attorney Stephen Murphy III in Detroit, sit on indictments of Islamic terrorists, until they flee the country and visit mosques to gush over extremist imams who incite those terrorists. And Presidents, like George W. Bush, reward efforts like Murphy’s with appointments to the Federal Bench.
Judges, like Gerald Rosen, don’t have the guts to uphold jury verdicts against Al-Qaeda terror cells. And Federal Magistrates, like Charles Binder, don’t have the guts to make Islamic men who illegally alter cellphones–for untraceable, unlimited use and marked for shipment to Lebanon–to stand trial.
Are we better off than we were five years ago? The answer is still no. And it’s getting worse.
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