Alan Jackson wrote a song in 2001 that asked the question, “where were you when the world stopped turning that September day?” For most of us of age to remember, we will never forget. I was sitting in a high school junior English class watching the fall-out from the first plane when we watched the second plane strike the second tower knowing that America was at war. For all of us high school boys nearing 18, we assumed that meant we would be drafted as war would ensue. The innocence of my generation, and America’s post-Cold War confidence, were shaken Tuesday morning, September 11th, 2001.
Al Qaeda used commercial airplanes, a symbol of American technological and economic prowess, to shake not only the foundations of our iconic buildings, but of Western Civilization. The terrorists attacked America because we are free, and that freedom rests upon the Constitution’s Judeo-Christian commitment to individual rights. The terrorists attached us for who we are, and they attack us still.
We still face a determined enemy, that continues to grow and strengthen in the face of our passivity over these past 8 years. Al Qaeda has given way to ISIS, but the motivation is the same. Terrorists hell-bent on the destruction of Western Civilization. This threat is as serious as Nazism and fascism, and requires a national strategy to defeat these terrorist armies as determined as the one proposed by General George C. Marshall as WWII was looming.
Marshall understood the global threat posed by the rise of Nazism and Japanese Imperialism, and he knew it would take American leadership on a global scale to defeat it. As such, he recommended that the scant U.S. Army be rebuilt and that America’s naval and air forces be expanded. Not doing so, Marshall understood, would lead to defeat and surrender.
Today, we need a twenty-first century Marshall Plan that will destroy the threat radical Islam poses to western civilization and world peace. This means expanding America’s special operations forces, modernizing our Air Force, and increasing the number of vessels in our Navy. This will, of course, mean that we must reduce our national deficit and government spending to reallocate necessary funding to critical military readiness needs. Fiscal responsibility and military readiness go hand-in-hand.
Fifteen years ago today, we were given a wake-up call that we should never forget. Terrorists attacked us when we were not at war, and in ways we least expected. Their resolve to kill innocents hasn’t receded one bit, and our resolve to defeat radical Islamic terrorism must not waiver either. May God bless America, and the memory of those we have lost in this ongoing struggle.