Jewish World Review May 31, 2002 / 20 Sivan, 5762

Lewis A. Fein

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The End of the Beginning | President George W. Bush's use of the word evil, a term suspiciously absent from the dictator's tongue and the European's vocabulary, risks becoming a preface without a story -- a clarion call, replete with military drums and royal trumpets, but no army. Ironic words, indeed. For neither enormous blood nor costly treasure - measured by innocents beneath terrorism's fire, and actualized by flying fortresses overhead - can obscure what now characterizes the president's leadership: an abdication of rhetorical responsibility, where Mr. Bush has a duty to explain why certain demonic leaders must go, and why, if one speaks of peace upon victory's horizon, the president has no ideological agenda during or after the war's conclusion.

The president must first deliver a series of monthly (or bimonthly) addresses, speeches that explain that - notwithstanding the Left's moral blindness - evil exists -- quantified by the number of lives sacrificed before the altar of Aryan purity, Soviet perfection or Islamic fundamentalism, and qualified by the threat against American civilians. Here the president also has a rare moral opportunity: a forum to expose his legitimate and illegitimate critics, a great chasm between those that question his vision or protest his inaction (a chorus conservatives join) and those that abhor the use of morally clear language. For the president's challenge is not to identify Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden as evil, which is obligatory but hardly revolutionary; his mission is to explain why America must confront a violent brand of radical Islam, one that celebrates the murder of Jews, cheers the persecution of Christians and commemorates the importance of political villains named Atta, Arafat and Ayatollah.

Perhaps this mission is the president's most difficult challenge, because - in properly protecting the rights of all Americans, including unfairly targeted Muslims - he must also admit a cultural war exists between Western civilization and radical Islam. He must squarely concede that radical Islam is a mess: that, absent glorious histories and magnificent kingdoms (built with slavery's sweat, and weathered by the desert's sun), radical Islam is an institutional threat -- one that demands the murder of assorted infidels. He must explain radical Islam's cause-and-effect relationship, where hateful propaganda broadcast by dictators or repeated by teachers encourages murderous actions.

Yes, the president's critics (at home and abroad) will accuse the White House of gross hypocrisy -- stating that, so long as one black male experiences discrimination or one child goes hungry or one family remains homeless, America loses its moral right to condemn evil. As if the inability of a black male to secure a taxi, or the failure of a bum to get welfare, somehow equals the mass murder of Kurdish refugees or the indiscriminate slaughter of Jews.

No, the president must articulate a vision - his vision - beyond the logical. Beyond the events of this past September, which, had Leftists prevailed or the United Nations triumphed, would be nothing more than a glorified therapy session: a council, convened by international mediators and managed by global jurists, that would offer a sympathetic ear or a warm embrace to those tyrants - men with bejeweled fingers, countless wives and infinite supplies of oil - that wave an accusatory fist toward the United States, and say -- "You, the Great Satan, are the enemy of Allah. We hate you, because you comfort the Zionist entity and pollute our culture. These attacks against you warrant our praise. We celebrate the martyrs."

The president needs to talk about victory, a victory beyond the rise of more government or greater spending. A victory beyond how much Democrats waste on Social Security or Republicans plunder on corporations. A victory beyond balanced budgets or uncontrollable deficits. A victory, instead, for freedom -- for the understanding that evil exists, and that America - when attacked by monstrous evil - has a moral duty to vanquish these killers that carry Korans.

In short, a victory for the ages.

JWR contributor Lewis A. Fein is a writer and Internet entrepreneur in Los Angeles.Comment by clicking here.


© 2001, Lewis A. Fein