- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 26, 2002

Conventional wisdom compares September 11 to Pearl Harbor. But this war's Pearl Harbor has yet to come. Before Dec. 7, 1941, World War II was known as the "Phony War." Hitler had invaded Eastern Europe, but America watched from safety beyond a great sea. One of America's greatest heroes, Charles Lindbergh heiled Hitler. Britain's Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, pursued peace at any price.

The bombing of our embassies, the first World Trade Center bombings and the USS Cole all these were battles in a unilateral "Phony War" in which we refused to engage. Now, like the English, the war has come to our own soil.

And so, it's time for America's Churchill. A voice that says if we are going to fight, and fight we must, then we must fight to win. The American people, the whole world, must hear this message at every turn: We will fight to protect ourselves and we will win. Our victory will be convincing, complete and unconditional.

The president began the year successfully rallying the nation, sounding much like the Churchill he so admires. But that good beginning has since been sullied by some hard to rationalize policy decisions. Administration officials have been predicting a coming holocaust, calling it "inevitable." Even our redoubtable vice president says the next attack is "not if, but when." As a realistic assessment of the future threat, this is important. But outside the context of assured ultimate victory, these statements are fatalistic defeatism, unworthy of the United States. And they raise an important question: Are we doing all we can to be ready for the worst-case scenario?

A quick read of current headlines does not inspire confidence. While Osama bin Laden is regrouping, the American war effort includes the following incomprehensible actions: Our Federal Aviation Administration has denied weapons to most American pilots; National Guard troops have been pulled off of our Mexican border while at the same time we are loosening the inspections of semi-trailer trucks traversing that porous border; we hear of cargo ships with large, overseas-shipped containers coming off ships to our ports uninspected; we have arrested hundreds of illegal immigrants working in restricted areas of our airports with false Social Security numbers an apparently easy thing to obtain for blending into society; and, it is still possible for foreign nationals from countries that sponsor terrorism to sponsor students at flight schools.

We must win first, and here's how:

We must identify our enemy. The enemy has common characteristics we know who they are; we know the countries that encourage them. The political correctness that has airport personnel frisking grandmothers while young men who fit the profile of terrorists with one-way tickets and no luggage board unchecked must be stopped.

We must secure our borders. Our enemy is within and without. One area that cries out for adult attention is the massive level of illegal immigration that has overwhelmed our ability to stop terrorists from entering the country. We need a wartime immigration policy. In the year 2000 alone, more than 100,000 illegal immigrants obtained Social Security numbers using fraudulent documents. The enemy must be kept out of our country. No visitor visas should be issued for nationals from countries harboring terrorists until our technology and manpower can deal with the massive numbers we are currently handling. Citizens from other countries who are here without permission should be sent home.

Law-enforcement officials nationwide should be given immediately the list of illegal aliens already slated for deportation, rather than expecting the INS to do the job alone. A nationwide database for tracking international visitors should become top budget priority.

We must realize we are at war. At this very moment our enemy is planning to kill more American families. Islamic terrorists are committed to bring America to its knees. The axis of evil continues to amass weapons of mass destruction. As the president has said, "time is not on our side." Saddam Hussein must be removed from power. The first President Bush was deterred from destroying Saddam in the Gulf War by voices of caution and hesitancy. Today, Saddam is our implacable foe bent on revenge, capable of producing and using nuclear, biological and chemical weapons. Anything less than absolute victory will signal our internal weakness and produce our eventual defeat. That leads to the last point:

We must win. The only remedy to terrorism is to so completely crush the enemy that his will and ability to wage war is eliminated. Picture Berlin in May 1945, or Dresden or Tokyo. If our victory is not decisive, we place our children and our country's future at risk. Do we really want an America in which homicide bombings at the local mall are part of the price you pay for living in America?

That will must be reinforced consistently from the top. In times of war, great leaders inspire, and surround themselves with like-minded warriors. King Henry challenged his troops before their great victory at Agincourt: "He that hath no stomach for this fight, let him depart." Those in the Bush administration who cannot support the war effort should stand silent behind the commander in chief.

Faced by a resolute foe committed to our destruction, our country will be taking these steps, sooner or later. We can take these measures now before a dirty nuclear device is detonated in New York, Washington or your hometown. Or we can await that horror and get serious later. I know which choice I chose.

Do we have the will to win? The lasting image of Winston Churchill from World War II is one of him signaling the V for Victory. And victory is what he achieved.


Gary Bauer is president of American Values.


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