The Flaming Sword

I’ll join Kevin Kim in suggesting that readers go take a look at this post by Bill Keezer — one of our valued readers and commenters — on how wrong things might go if our Islamic enemies acquire nuclear weapons.

Bill’s post is dramatically apocalyptic in tone, and may well overstate the case, but it is thoughtful and coherent essay, and represents a view that is a necessary counterweight to the gathering mood of isolationism and appeasement that is taking over in the national discussion of foreign policy. As a New Yorker who watched with my naked eyes as the towers burned, taking the lives of people I knew with them, I have since that awful hour had in the back of my mind the expectation that one day soon the purposeful bustle and clamor of this incomparable city would be frozen in the sudden pink flash of an atomic detonation. It seems so easy to manage — a container ship in our welcoming harbor, or a non-descript van on the city streets, could easily get the job done — and frankly I am surprised that it hasn’t already happened.

Many see the Islamic threat as being exaggerated by those who seek arrogation of power, or military contracts, and I am sure that it does indeed serve the interests of such parties to make things sound as scary as possible. But there are also many who, perhaps to advance their own political agenda, or from a native distrust of the powerful, or, more charitably, in the service of a well-meaning but ultimately dangerous pacifism, dismiss the enemy arrayed against us as a pipsqueak bunch of ragtag zealots, who may be in a position to bite us on the ankles from time to time, but who aren’t worth a paroxysm of military and social initiatives. I think such people are very wrong, and Bill’s post, even if it may somewhat overshoot the mark, clearly outlines the sorts of things that could go catastrophically wrong if we do not maintain a forward-leaning posture against this ancient and implacable foe.

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