Ten years ago our nation was attacked by Islamic terrorists. No words can alter the facts of that day. No ceremony can undo it. Only through our actions looking to the future can we change the significance of that day. As Lincoln said at Gettysburg, it is for us the living to be dedicated to the great task remaining before us.
In the circles of our elite it is social suicide to speak of Islam as a civilizational threat. It is true that rhetoric of clashes of civilizations can be overblown. It is true that Islam is not a strictly monolithic block. But it is wrong that these facts should forestall serious discussion of the leading political-civilizational struggle of our day.
Political correctness stifles discussion across society. Consider this graph from Google ngrams, measuring the frequency year by year of the usage of “Islamic threat” in a large collection of digitized books. Use of the phrase increases with the rise of Islamism, with the threats to Salman Rushdie, even with the first attack on the World Trade Center. Then, in the late 1990’s, a more organized and serious threat emerged, and attacked in turn the American embassies in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi, the USS Cole, and finally, ten years ago today, the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
During these very same years, usage of the phrase “Islamic thread” stopped its rapid increase, and began to fall dramatically.
Not reacting blindly to threats is a virtue, one we could have used to avoid our misadventure in Iraq. Not reacting to threats is folly. Reacting to threats by stopping talking about them beggars description.