Are conservatives waking up?

Diana West writes on Townhall: When the White House promised to punish the murderers who sawed off Nicholas Berg’s head, a spokesman said the crime “showed the true nature of the enemies of freedom.” Wrong. Or, rather, not wrong, but vague, and perilously so. It’s not every enemy of freedom who shouts, “Allahu akbar (God is great)!” while committing murder in front of a video camera….pulling the political veil over the face of the enemy is not just a fashionable nod to political correctness. Failing to unmask the brutal face of modern jihad is a possibly suicidal lapse of logic and nerve that has dangerously obscured the wider war on “terror” — which, of course, is the euphemism of choice for Islamic jihad.

I have been arguing for a while now that George Bush is a poor commander-in-chief; while I was initially vilified for saying so, it’s interesting to see how Republican champions of the administration are beginning to have their doubts about the competence of those responsible for the war effort. The rumors now beginning to float of an early pull-out by the occupying coalition are probably nothing more than just that, rumors, and certainly it would be very surprising to see a president admit a mistake of this magnitude in an election year.

There are also some signals that the war is going to be significantly expanded after November 4th. The rumblings of a draft, the three giant bases being constructed in Iraq and Debka’s reports that Germany, Russia and the UK have already signed off on the plan for the next stage – whatever that is. Perhaps the administration has finally woken up to the fact that the jihad will expand as long as the Wahhabists in Saudi Arabia are funding it. The recent onslaught of jihadist activity in Thailand, of all places, proves this.

The biggest blunder the administration has made is not the cynical decision to pretend to engage in nation-building while laying the groundwork for the next stage, (if that is indeed the case), but in foolishly attempting to deceive the American people about the nature of the enemy and the scope of the war. There is no answer that will lead to peace as much as we might want it.

There are two choices. Retreat to Fortress America, root out the jihadist disease within, get serious about the borders and hope that the jihad will burn itself out as it has before. Alternatively, strike at its heart, then systematically pursue the limbs. Both are real options, and there are serious risks to American rights and liberties on both paths – given the Law of Unintended Consequences, the first path is probably safer, if less emotionally satisfying. Unfortunately, the current administration lacked the resolve to pursue either, and so appears to be caught in a trap of its own making.

Even more unfortunately, the other major party has an even lower capacity for dealing with the challenge. But it would be nice if at least one leader in either party would be willing to address the situation honestly.