As 911 fades into the history books, the daemoneoconically delish High Priest of Democrazy brings up a cool thingy Uncle Winnie said eons ago:
''The United States is like a giant boiler. Once the fire is lighted under it, there is no limit to the power it can generate.''
"Americans are known to be forgetful about history. That's not always a bad thing. Certainly, it's better than living in the past. When Saddam had declared that the incorporation of Kuwait as Iraq's 19th province was ''a fact of history,'' I recall the Chief of Staff of the Omani Armed Forces saying that ''Until people stop talking about history around here, there will never be any peace.'' And few countries could have put the past behind them as quickly as the U.S. did with Germany and Japan after World War II.
"Forgetfulness has its price, however. As we mark the eighth anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we are in danger of becoming complacent once again. Perhaps that is because--thankfully--there have been no more attacks on American soil during those eight years. No one predicted that we would be so fortunate, and to this day we cannot fully explain why we have not been attacked again Our success in breaking up planned attacks, including through information obtained from captured terrorists, is certainly part of the explanation.
"Although the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue--and we must be careful about premature declarations of victory--they have so far proven to be setbacks for the enemy. And improved domestic security has not only prevented attacks but also serves as a deterrent.
"But the enemy has certainly not given up. In the last eight years, there have been successful attacks on the U.K., Spain, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, to name just a few. And this is an enemy with great patience and a long time horizon. It took more than eight years from the first attack on the World Trade Center in February 1993 to prepare the second, more devastating, one.
"There is a grim joke about a member of the Taliban who meets an American who is bragging about his expensive Rolex: ''Yes,'' says the Talib, ''you have the watch but we have all the time.''
"Unfortunately, this struggle will be with us for a long time to come and it could re-emerge in more dangerous forms if we try to pretend that it's no longer serious.
"Even if the terrorists are in retreat, extremist views are still gaining strength among large segments of the world's population. And the threat that terrorists might someday get their hands on weapons of mass destruction remains and could easily grow if nuclear proliferations continue.
"A successful attack with biological or nuclear weapons could produce casualties that would dwarf those of Sept. 11. Beyond the death and destruction, such an attack could transform the way we live and lead us to hunker down into closed societies and closed economies.
"President Obama has some unique qualities that could help him lead the country in a new and possibly more demanding phase of this struggle, one that is likely to be waged as much in the realm of ideas as on the battlefield. He brings to the task his own personal qualities and eloquence and also represents in his person what can be achieved in societies where all citizens are treated truly as equals. The power of that idea is one of our most powerful tools for draining the swamp where extremists breed and find support.
"To be successful, however, President Obama needs to speak hard truths to the world and particularly to the world's dictators. He must not only defend the right of Muslim women in the West to cover their heads, as he did three times in his speech in Cairo, he must also--even more importantly--speak in defense of women's rights in those Arab and Muslim countries where both Muslim and non-Muslim women are forced to cover completely or not allowed to drive. And he must also speak hard truths to the American people, to remind them that there are still large challenges ahead and that those on the front lines need our full support.
"The American military and their families--along with law enforcement agencies and the intelligence community--continue to demonstrate incredible strength and resolve in defense of the country. They deserve in return to have the country's full support and gratitude.
"There is also much that can only be done from the civilian side. That includes supporting those brave individuals throughout the world who are standing up against extremism, including the reformers in Iran today. It means supporting the struggle for women's rights that those extremists would deny.
"It means doing everything we can to take the Palestinian issue away from the extremists, at the same time that we must be clear in our support for Israel's security.
"The United States still has enormous strength, but only if we maintain the will to use it.