The 9/11 attacks were the culmination of a decade in which Islamic terrorists tested the resistance of America and the West. And saw that their stomach was very soft.
Islamists understood that capitulation to threats and violence bespeaks the spiritual poverty of a society obsessed with Monica Lewinsky and for whom the highest good is physical comfort and amenities. Islamists knew that, without commitment to faith and with plummeting birth rates, Europe would also be literally unsustainable and fragile.
The history of 9/11 and what followed is the story of a military and cultural defeat that revealed the weakness and decadence of the United States and the West. Osama bin Laden, who had never visited New York, believed that the greatness and power of the West were only apparent. In the face of a brutal attack, the West would be too hypocritical to launch an effective response against Jihad.
The last decade of erosion in US military readiness, Western cultural amnesia and hedonistic intoxication, seem to have just confirmed Bin Laden’s terrible prophecy.
The terrorists timed their attacks in Madrid before the election precisely to intimidate the Spaniards withdrawing from Iraq. An al Qaeda document made public after the bombing in 2004 speculated that Spain “cannot suffer more than two to three strikes before pulling out (from Iraq) under pressure from its own people”. Al Qaeda’s only mistake was thinking it would take more than one “strike.”
Since then, the West has retreated militarily from all the existing fronts and surrendered to the Islamization of Europe under a Muslim youth fired with spiritual fanaticism, filled with hatred for the “godless West” and abandoned by a materialistic society.
We are now living through a time perfectly understood by George Bernard Shaw, who in 1903 wrote:
“The day is coming when great nations will find their numbers dwindling from census to census; when the six-roomed villa will rise in price above the family mansion; when the viciously reckless poor and the stupidly pious rich will delay the extinction of the race only by degrading it; whilst the boldly prudent, the thriftily selfish and ambitious, the imaginative and poetic, the lovers of money and solid comfort, the worshippers of success, of art, and of love, will all oppose to the Force of Life the device of sterility”.
The West and America are now in limbo, like the one that Europeans lived in between 1939 and 1940. Once again, Westerners feel that the price of terrorism is tolerable, that Islamists cannot be stopped from slaughtering “infidel” commuters from London to the Rhine. Certainly these crimes do not warrant a deviation from the Western affluent and leisured lifestyle.
Another 9/11 is on the horizon.
The writer, an Italian journalist with Il Foglio, writes a twice-weekly column for Arutz Sheva. He is the author of the book “A New Shoah”, that researched the personal stories of Israel’s terror victims, published by Encounter and of “J’Accuse: the Vatican Against Israel” published by Mantua Books.. His writing has appeared in publications, such as the Wall Street Journal, Frontpage and Commentary.