History is littered with the detritus of attacks by tribal gangs against civilized world powers. In the past, nations under siege rose up with righteous anger and visited the full measure of their force upon their enemies. Although they often made costly mistakes, they did not make excuses for their foes while their own city burned. They did not blame themselves for the assaults of their enemies, and they never engaged in prostrate self-abnegation to atone for the carnage. They did not apologize for defending themselves.

Apologetic self-abnegation, however, is the hallmark of America’s approach today.

Attacked on our own soil and across the globe, we have refused to accept that the cause of the slaughter is the openly stated commitment of clerics, pundits, and political leaders to a barbaric ideology of religious war. Schools in Pakistan train Taliban jihadists who kill Americans while we negotiate with so-called “moderates” among them. University academics scream about American sins, praise bloody tyrannies as “liberation movements,” and call Israel “occupied territory.” Newspaper columns predict the ascendance of political Islam, while the maniacal theocracy of Iran makes the prophecy real. Clerics issue fatwas sanctioning the murder of blasphemous writers and artists. Young people are indoctrinated into jihad as the path to paradise. Killers who enjoy the ambrosia of American life murder American soldiers at American military bases.

To explain this litany of aggression we search doggedly for evidence of our own malfeasance. We atone for our alleged sins by showering foreign dictatorships with money and the sanction of diplomatic discussions. We apologize for every dead civilian, even as the enemy hides behind defenseless children and flees into safe havens across foreign borders. We offer constitutional protections to murderers pledged to destroy our Constitution. . . .

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