Thursday morning’s headlines screamed, "Anthrax attacks!" Trixi Lightheart delivered the bad news. "According to an Associated Press story out of Jerusalem, al-Qaeda has taken credit for the most recent attacks on America. An unidentified spokesman said they were ‘a direct result of America’s corrupt foreign policy.’" File footage was run of the arrests of the truck drivers and the mass exodus from the cities.
"A spokesperson for The Centers for Disease Control predicted that as many as four hundred thousand people may have been infected with anthrax. As many as half of them could ultimately die from the disease."
Trixi continued, "FOX News has learned that the al-Qaeda network targeted ten cities. Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego have been turned into virtual ghost towns." As she spoke the network showed eerie pictures of deserted streets. Atlanta and Dallas were spared due to inclement weather."
She turned to face the center camera. "We are told that the early morning showers along the eastern seaboard following the attacks have significantly reduced the risk of infection. According to the CDC, the number of people exposed is half of what it would have been had it not rained. In moist conditions the spores are unable to stay airborne long enough to find a host. Rainstorms washed exposed surfaces of buildings and vehicles, carrying the deadly spores down storm drains, and in many cases, out to sea. Speaking from their headquarters in Atlanta, a CDC official told FOX News that the high humidity in South Florida and fog in San Francisco caused blower malfunctions, saving even more lives. Environmentalists, however, are outraged by the potential impact on sea life."
The studio cut to a file photo of Ghumani, AK-47 at his side. "Even with their ringleader, Halam Ghumani, in a Federal prison, al-Qaeda was able to attack America," Lightheart said, as if one person was solely responsible. "An anonymous spokesperson told the Associated Press in Jerusalem yesterday that ‘the attacks were designed to punish America for sending its aircraft carriers to the Middle East.’ Al-Qaeda claimed that ‘America’s unilateral support of Israel and Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people are to blame.’ Speaking from the White House, Secretary of Defense Ditroe replied, "These statements underscore the urgency of the President’s planned withdrawal from Saudi Arabia and her upcoming summit with Israeli and Palestinian leaders at Camp David."
With the camera back on Miss Lightheart, she smiled. "Amid the killing, the only real hope for a lasting peace may lie with Palestinian Chairman Yasman Alafat. He arrived in Washington last night, flying into Andrews Air Force Base. He and his aides were taken by car to Camp David. At a press conference, the Chairman said he was prepared to sign his Palestinian Peace Initiative. The ceremony is scheduled to take place tomorrow morning. According to the White House, the President’s Peace Initiative removes America from the Middle East, bringing a true and lasting peace in our time," the info-babe proudly proclaimed.
She continued, "Chairman Alafat expressed regret that Americans were poisoned. In his remarks to the media, he also criticized the use of military force in the Middle East, saying, ‘Coming here we flew over an armada of American warships. Every gun was pointed at my people.’"
The studio broadcast a picture of Hasler in uniform. "Unable to protect Americans from terrorists, William Hasler, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said today that he will resign as soon as the President names his successor. Insiders say that the President lost confidence in the General.
Trixi moved to other news. "Republicans, upstaged by the President’s remarkable diplomatic coup, are calling on Thurston Adams to address a Joint Session of Congress tomorrow evening. Democrats are calling the speech ‘irrelevant.’ The Admiral could not be reached for comment."
In Thor’s mind, the Lincoln Memorial was America’s Temple Mount. He asked his fiancé to meet him there. He needed some inspiration - from both Abraham and Sarah.
He had worked on his speech all day, pecking away at a laptop in Troy’s study. Sarah had shifted gears. Having finished her written report on Islam and its founder, she had gone out with mom to look at dresses. They had picked a date and a place for the wedding. It would be held in three weeks, in a beautiful chapel called the Belfry. The church adjoined a nineteenth-century mansion. Friends of the family had restored both buildings, making them perfect for the wedding and reception. High above the Severn River, it overlooked Annapolis and the Naval Academy.
Surrounded on three sides by the massive memorial, Thor and Sarah were together again. They looked up at the back wall. He read the Gettysburg Address. The words were powerful, moving, almost majestic.
Holding her hand, he turned to his right, mouthing the words of Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address as if he were giving it. Finished, he and Sarah gazed up at the statue.
"If only he could write my speech."
"If only he were still President."
"Yeah. Slavery was evil and he knew it."
"Fortunately," Sarah said, "he had the courage to stand up and fight it. He wasn’t into appeasement."
"In a way, we’re fighting slavery today, Sarah. Do you know that?"
"Yes. A billion people are slaves to Islam. In fact, the very word ‘Islam’ means submission. They’re slaves to those who use it to stay in power. We need to help free them - for in freeing them, we free ourselves from the terror their masters inflict on us. Win-win."
Thor agreed. "The dictators who control these governments are no better than the worst slave owners. Their people have no freedoms. If they step out of line, they’re lashed."
"A billion people are slaves to a false doctrine, a doctrine that legitimizes - actually glorifies - terror. How on earth did something so bad get so big?" she asked as they walked away from the statue and toward the open end of the Memorial.
"I think I’ve figured it out, Sarah," Thor said, sitting down on the steps. He motioned for her to do the same. "I’ve been thinking about this since I heard them praising Allah while my men hung on those crosses." He touched her knee. "The Prophet died in 632. And surprise! Arabs rejected Islam. They refused to pay the I-love-Mo tax. Afraid he might actually have to go out and earn a living, Abu Bekr started the War of Compulsion instead. The bloodiest battles in the already violent history of Islam were fought between Arabs. But by year’s end, the anti Islam rebellion was squashed by the military wing of the fledgling ‘religion’.
"Now the new caliph, Muhammad’s best friend and father-in-law, has a bit of a problem," Thor said as Sarah rested her head on his shoulder. "Bekr knew Islam’s gains had come as a result of turning peaceful Bedouins into a warmongering horde. With the war over, he had to either change the spirit of the new Muslims, change his religion, or find a new enemy. He chose the latter. In 633 Muslim Arabs invaded Judea and Syria. Three years later they attacked the Byzantines, and the year after that, they massacred the Persians - occupying all of Iraq. In 640 they invaded Egypt. Blitzkrieg on camels."
Sarah suppressed a smile. "Seven major wars in less than that many years. There’s a pattern developing here."
"You think so? Yep, Islam’s as peaceful as the Third Reich," Thor moaned. "So then the Prophet’s cousin, Ali, became khalif in 656, but the Muslim governor over now-occupied Syria and Judea refused to recognize him. Cousin Ali was assassinated, bringing the Umaiyid dynasty to power. Then there was another civil war, this one lasting five years. It ended with the killing of the Prophet’s grandson. This led to a blood feud, a schism that still exits today - between the Shiites and the Sunnis. With me so far?"
"You do love your history." Sarah reflected, "Up to this point, Islam makes the Nazis’ rise look like a Sunday School picnic."
"Yes. And why? Because the Arabs who’d rubbed shoulders with Allah’s Messenger, those who knew him best, acted just like him. Within one hundred years of Mo’s death, Islamic warriors had conquered most everything from the borders of China and India in the east to Spain and a good bit of France in the west. There was something about Muhammad’s new doctrine that turned peaceful nomadic Arabs into aggressive warriors."
"Yeah. That’s ’cause killing for Rocky and Hoodwinker was their ticket to plunder and paradise."
"Rocky and Hoodwinker - now there’s a twosome." He gazed out upon the great reflecting pools and Washington’s crippled obelisk. "They became as fond of violence as they were addicted to booty."
Long shadows descended across the mall as evening drew near. "So then how, you ask, did this violent, money-grubbing ‘religion’ become relatively peaceable and tolerant? Why was it assimilated into the conquered cultures? And why, after all these years, did it revert back to the warlike ways of its forefathers?"
"You plucked the questions right out of my mouth."
"As the Arabs advanced, they gave their victims three choices: die, pay a debilitating tax, or say the magic words."
"The magic words?"
"There is no rock but Rocky and Mo’s da Man," Thor paraphrased. "But that’s about all the conquered knew about Islam. You see, the Prophet forbade taking the Qur’an to infidel lands. Not that it would have made much of a difference if they had, you understand. The preponderance of Arabs were illiterate."
Thor looked toward the Vietnam Memorial, drawing strength from the courage of those who had gone before.
"Muslim warriors had expanded the Arab Empire to its maximum size by 750, a hundred years before Al-Bukhari compiled his Hadith or Ibn Ishaq’s biography was edited by Ibn Hisham. Therefore, during the hundred years of conquest only the Islamic warriors themselves knew anything about the life and sayings of the Prophet. And they knew it only by virtue of oral tradition."
"Ah," Sarah said as the light dawned, "so if by saying the ‘magic words’ you got to keep your money and your life - well, why not? Nobody had a clue what they meant. It would be more than a hundred years before an account of Muhammad’s life was written or his speeches compiled, and another millennium before these were available to anyone except for khalifs and clerics."
"Precisely." The lovebirds watched as a pair of white doves flew in front of them, seeking shelter. Thor finished his tale. "Now, uncomfortable living in the lands they’d conquered, the nomadic Arabs returned home, leaving a void. The conquered found that, for all practical purposes, they had surrendered to a religion they knew nothing about. Its founder, his message, and his hatred for Christians and Jews, was a mystery. As a result, the conquered continued to be the same tolerant people they had always been. All they knew for sure was that giving Islamic ‘alms’ was cheaper than paying the heavy taxes imposed on non-Muslims and a whole lot less painful than losing their heads."
Sarah nodded. "I get it. There were no printing presses to publish the Qur’an, and Arabs were really snooty about it needing to be read in Arabic. That made it both inaccessible and incomprehensible."
"It’s perfectly clear, Sarah. When Arabs were influenced by the Prophet, they were militant. Those who didn’t know about him were tolerant. This was never more evident than during the glory years of the Islamic Empire, the period between 750 to 860. The cultural high-water mark followed the period of violent conquests and preceded the advent of ‘reliable’ information on the Messenger and his message. The good times were literally sandwiched in between the bad. The decline of Muslim tolerance, culture, prosperity, and intellectual curiosity coincided with the publication of Al-Bukhari’s True Traditions and Ibn Hisham’s edits of Ibn Ishaq’s biography. It was no coincidence."
"You have a gift, love."
"Then you agree," he said, pleased by her response.
"Sure. In fact, I know right where you’re going with this." She brushed a stray curl away from her eyes. "Fast forward to the fifteenth century. Guttenberg invents the printing press and everything changes. The first book he publishes is the Bible, and for the first time in a thousand years, Christians could actually discover for themselves who Jesus was, what he said, and what he did for us. It transformed the world, gradually depoliticizing the clergy and eroding their power. Thus began the Reformation and with it the dawn of Western civilization."
"But," he said, stealing her thunder, "eventually those same printing presses that did so much to liberate the West made their way to the Middle East. There they had just the opposite effect. At the dawn of the sixteenth century, the Turks became the first Muslims since the time of Muhammad to actually know their Prophet. Imbued with this new understanding, they became terrorists again, acting as he had acted. The Ottoman Turks conquered Syria and Egypt, starting in 1517. Then they moved on to Iraq and Algeria." Thor stood, pulling her up by the hand.
"Now Sarah, fast forward again - to the twentieth century. The world finds itself running on oil, and, thanks to the Brits, Arab Muslims find themselves back in power. What’s more, their schooling focuses on teaching children all about the life and times of Muhammad, the Prince of Destruction. Arabs get it from all sides, their madrases, their mosques, their media, and the maniacs in charge. So what do you suppose happens?"
"They begin to act like the Mighty Mo."
"Yep. Muslims once again begin emulating der Prophet. Terror reigns. The scourge of Jihad commences anew."
Friday morning dawned fraught with portent. The international media had joined the Washington press corps at Camp David. The place was abuzz; the world was changing before their very eyes.
Limousines were stretched out as far as the eye could see. If you were somebody, anybody, you were here. Or at the very least, you were stuck in traffic trying to get here. Identification badges, all proudly proclaiming, "I’m important," were being flashed at every enlisted man and Secret Service agent within miles of the historic, normally tranquil retreat nestled against the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Inside, still cozy in the nicest cabin, the President prepared for the day. Secretary Ditroe had slept alone. She had a job to do. On this chilly spring morning, other cabins were coming alive as well. One was occupied by the Chairman of the soon-to-be state of Palestine, another by the leader of the soon-to-be-smaller state of Israel.
These two statesmen had come to Camp David for different reasons. For one, it was a command performance. Show up and sign or be completely abandoned, orphaned, if you will. By signing his nation away, Israel’s Prime Minister saved face in the arena of public opinion. And hopefully, as a result, he would weather the storm, endure long enough to reach more sane times. Half of his nation was crying out for political compromise, for caving in to terrorist tactics, for trading land for the promise of peace. The other half was right.
But as sad as he was, he had to laugh. His son had packed his favorite t-shirt. It featured a picture of an American Indian sitting cross-legged next to conservative Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The caption read, "Bebi, let me tell you about trading land for peace."
Down the path a bit, the other contestant was yawning. His being here was a horse of an entirely different color. This was to be his crowning achievement. His nation would be born this day. And while the agreement failed to cede all of Jerusalem to his people, as he had promised them, he was no longer afraid of the political fallout.
The last time he had been here was in July 2000. He had been a guest of his friend, Bill Clinton. During that stay, liberal Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak had offered him the keys to the kingdom - his kingdom. But it wasn’t enough. With terrorists, thugs, and other lesser life forms, it never is. Alafat knew that signing a peace accord that didn’t have Arab flags flying proudly over all of Jerusalem was akin to signing his own death certificate. Having seen Yitzhak Rabin assassinated by his people shortly after initialing the Oslo accords, he knew exactly what awaited him. And to his credit, he’d admitted as much to Clinton at the time.
But now, that little annoyance was no longer a problem. He had taken destiny into his own hands.
At seventy-something, body racked with Parkinson’s and character assailed by those even more militant than he, the Chairman was ready. He would die as he lived. Within an hour he would be the most famous person on the planet, his legacy assured. And if Allah was the god the Messenger claimed him to be, if Paradise was how he had described it, then he was within minutes of ecstasy. If not, then at least he had the satisfaction of having lived the Marxist/Leninist version of paradise - dictatorial domination over the masses.
With curtains partially drawn, he calmly and ever so carefully strapped the burden to his ill-shaped body. It was heavy and uncomfortable. It chafed, was stiff, and a bit awkward, he thought. The deed done, he lay back on the bed. Shadows filled the rough-hewn room. The fire he had built the night before had died. Only the smell of soot remained.
Fanciful imaginings danced through the old man’s head. He read tomorrow’s newspaper headlines in his mind’s eye, listened to the news anchors eulogize his life and struggle. He saw his people carrying his wounded body through the streets in a massive celebration, the biggest ever. Then he saw the virgins - the most beautiful of all. Perhaps the Prophet was right. They seemed so real.
He sat up and reached for the gauze he had packed for this moment. Like a kamikaze warrior enveloping his head with slogans stirring his soul, as if he were drinking one last ounce of liquid courage, the Chairman reverently wrapped his privates, protecting them from what was to come. He knew this was how it was done.
How having a penis in paradise would do him any good after the rest of his body had been blown to bits took a leap of faith he couldn’t quite muster. But at times like these, terrorists tend to ponder such things, although suicidal Muslims muse with the wrong head.
With a few minutes to spare, Yasman Alafat reviewed his magnificent life. He thought back through the decades to his youth in Egypt. Following the Six Day War, he, a devoted Marxist-Leninist, had been hand picked by the head of Soviet Intelligence, General Aleksandr Sakharovsky. It had been such an honor. He was viewed as the perfect terrorist. That brought a smile, for he knew he had become the best in the world at his chosen profession.
Lounging in the quiet of his cabin, Alafat remembered the joy of co-founding Fatah and then being elevated to the Presidency of the PLO. It had all been arranged by General Sakharovsky and supported by his ally, Egypt’s Marxist-Muslim President and PLO founder Nasser. The gullible Americans had never understood Egypt’s role in his life as a terrorist, Alafat mused. For the last two decades, the only national leader he had felt obliged to seek counsel from was Egypt’s "moderate" Hosni Mubarak. The PLO’s plans for the annihilation of Israel, even the PLO’s Covenant had all been conceived, approved, and implemented in Cairo.
Stretched out on the unmade bed, he thought of the trip he had taken to the Soviet Union for training. He and his KGB mentor had so much in common. They lived to rid the world of Zionists and other rabid dogs. He had done so much to keep America’s infected fangs out of Arab lands.
Then his smile broadened as he relived the early seventies, the siege he had so cleverly planned with the PLO and KGB. The American diplomats in Khartoum, deep in the Sudan, never knew what hit them. They had been invited to a reception hosted by the Saudi embassy, he remembered. The Americans were to be held hostage, he reminisced, pending the release of Sirhan Sirhan, the Palestinian assassin of Robert Kennedy. Nixon had refused. Alafat clinched his fist. Then he replayed in his mind how he had given the order to murder his hostages. First blood.
He thought about his role in the kidnapping of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic Games. It too had been a murderous affair. All those plots he had planned - all those he had denied. He laughed out loud. They were the same. He was the master of deceit. It had been so easy to fool the stupid Americans. They were all so naïve.
And then there had been the uprising. September 1970. He and his fellow PLO militants had nearly overthrown King Hussein in Jordan. While he had been expulsed, he had managed to turn that dark hour into a tremendous victory. He smiled as he remembered leading his troops into Lebanon, subverting the government, starting a civil war, and destroying the country just six years later. Yes. Those had been the golden years. His friendship with Syria had led to the occupation of Lebanon which continued to this very day. I shall be remembered as a great warrior.
Friends he thought. He had so many. Any enemy of the Jews or Americans was a compatriot. Cuba, Iraq, Iran, North Korea. That brought his reflections around to his comrade, Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, like himself a devoted Marxist. He had successfully murdered 50,000 of his own people, yet the gullible Americans had congratulated him following each ‘re-election’ by the Communist party. The American State Department, he thought. What a joke. For twenty years they wallowed all over Ceausescu, believing that he could be used to breach the Iron Curtain. During the Cold War, two American presidents had traveled to Bucharest to grovel at his feet.
For him, it had been the same. He too had deceived the Americans, and for just as many years. He had convinced them he could bring peace. That deception brought a smile. Alafat shook his head, remembering the times he had been a guest at the White House, for a while more than any head of state. Secretary Colin Powell had even come calling a few years back. The Americans groveled so nicely when Arabs threatened to withhold their oil.
Then he recalled how his pal, Ceausescu, had died at the hands of his own people, executed after being accused of genocide and tyranny. That wouldn’t happen to him. No, not to him. He was about to write his own history, take his legacy into his own hands.
He patted the bomb wrapped around his torso, donned his military fatigues and artistically arranged his headdress. He was a soldier, doing his duty, he reassured himself. Rabid dogs were about to become extinct.
There was a soft knock at the door. "Mr. Chairman," the voice said respectfully. "Are you ready? The President and the press are waiting for you." It was Secretary Ditroe. She had been asked to escort the man of the hour to center stage.
He said nothing, sucked in his gut, and buttoned his jacket. He looked official. He checked himself out in the mirror one last time. Pleased with what he saw, he turned and walked out the door.
"You look splendid," the Secretary lied.
"Thank you," the Chairman answered. "And how have you and the President been doing?"
She ignored the veiled affront to her character. "She’s waiting for you in the central cabin along with the Prime Minister." They zoomed off in their golf cart, Ditroe behind the wheel.
Bumping along the uneven path, the Chairman growled, "Slow down, woman. You’re going to get us killed."
Driving more cautiously, Susan informed her passenger, "The plan is for you to leave the room together and sit at the head table - you on the President’s left, the Prime Minister on her right. Each of you will have an original copy of the Peace Agreement granting total independence to the Palestinians. Congratulations, sir. This must be a very proud day for you." She rambled on as they rode, constantly encouraging Alafat for fear he might bolt, do something foolish, embarrass them.
"What about the others?" Yasman asked as they made their way through the towering trees and toward the prestigious gathering.
"Everyone important will be seated behind you. They all want to be included in the pictures. This is a momentous occasion."
"All as in who?" he asked, as they neared their final destination.
"The Vice President, our entire Cabinet, the Speaker of the House, Senate pro tempore, the minority and majority leaders, most all Congressional Committee chairs. Everybody who counts is here."
"Admiral Adams?" he questioned, as she opened the door.
"No. He wasn’t invited. I hope that’s okay. We didn’t think you’d want him here. Not with all the killing."
"What’s wrong?" the President asked pensively as they arrived.
"The Chairman was asking about Admiral Adams."
The President loathed that name. But after upstaging him today, she would never have to hear it again. She forced a smile.
"You fellas know each other, right?" the President asked, hoping the Chairman and Prime Minister might embrace each other.
They nodded grudgingly. They would shake hands only when required, once for the camera. That’s all they had in them.
"No, not quite yet," Alafat replied, reaching into his jacket pocket. "I have something for you to sign. My people need a little bit more honey."
The President wanted to say, You’re getting nearly half of the land of milk and honey, honey. Don’t push your luck. But having anticipated what was coming, she replied, "How much more do you want, Mr. Chairman?"
"If I recall, Anwar Sadat received two billion dollars a year for signing the last set of peace accords initialed in this place. Don’t my people deserve at least that much?" No one ever said terrorists were stupid.
The President called Ditroe over to the corner. This had been expected. "I told you he’d hold us up - force us to buy his signature."
"You were right," she whispered. "He’d have us over a barrel if you hadn’t seen this coming. It was shrewd getting Congress to take it out of my defense budget. We were planning on a peace dividend anyway."
"Yeah, but I wanted to spend it on our people, not his."
The President looked down at the paper. Seeing no way out, she asked Susan to bend over. She placed the agreement on her back and scribbled her name. It was written in a hasty, illegible scrawl, but on the right line.
"Thank you," Alafat said politely, retrieving the paper from her.
Less than amused, the President walked outside, followed by the Prime Minister and the Chairman. The cameras were rolling, the tapes were recording, the pens were flying. This was the big moment, the moment the whole world had yearned for. Peace was at hand.
Three abreast, they made their way through the sea of political dignitaries. A professional-sounding voice proclaimed, "Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the President of the Palestinian Authority, the Prime Minister of Israel, and the President of the United States of America."
They were hailed with reckless abandon. Even the squirrels ran for cover. Arriving at the elegantly carved mahogany table, they sat, staring at the crowd. The President wanted the agreement signed first, self-congratulatory speeches later. It left less to chance.
"Gentlemen, we have given each of you a commemorative pen and an original agreement. There are three signatory lines. It is time for each of us to sign, for each of us to etch our names forever in history."
They all lifted their pens. The President was the most dramatic, then the Chairman, followed by a dejected Prime Minister. They put pen to paper, and in their nicest writing, they spelled their names. By so doing, they each committed their peoples. Exchanging papers, they repeated the process two more times. As they placed the elegant plumes back in their receptacles, the audience broke out into a spontaneous roar; even the impartial press joined in the frenzied celebration.
Ministers from each nation took their respective copies, placing them into blood-red commemorative portfolios. The Chairman slid the multibillion-dollar annuity the President had signed into his binder so it could be carried away for safekeeping.
It was time for the speeches. The President went first, proclaiming how wonderful she was. Her speech was filled with all her best words. They represented the very height of tolerance, multiculturalism, political correctness, and compromise. It was forward thinking, not mired in the past. She was magnificent. Even the press was moved.
The Prime Minister followed. He was not nearly as optimistic. His words beseeched the ghosts of past generations to forgive them for not heeding the harsh lessons of history. His speech was utterly forgettable. It was all about yesterday, not tomorrow.
Then the High Priest of Peace rose to his feet. The audience gasped. He was godlike, having with a single slash of his pen removed the last obstacle to a true, lasting peace for all mankind. They all rose to their feet, politicians and press alike giving Yasman Alafat the thunderous ovation his life’s struggle had earned. This was his moment and they were reveling in it.
He walked confidently to the rostrum, placing a hand on either side. The world saw him smile. It was an odd sort of smile, the smile of a twisted mind, a subtle outward sign that he was about do something that would bring him great pleasure. Suddenly, inexplicably, all who saw it were chilled to the bone.
His left hand fell to his side and slipped into his pocket. Yasman Alafat turned and eyed the President. "Die!"
He pushed the button. It was over in an instant.
The world had no idea what had happened. Nor did those who had gathered at Camp David hoping to bask in the glory. Every camera was obliterated. Every life was extinguished.
"My fellow Americans," Admiral Thurston Adams began his televised speech from the House Chamber. It was eight o’clock in the evening. All but two dozen seats were filled, including the balcony. The empty chairs belonged to souls now lying in state under the Rotunda, fifty paces from where Adams was standing. The day had not started well.
"I thank you for coming, and I thank you at home for listening - especially those whose lives have been ravaged by the scourge of terrorism. The horrific stench of terror has swept across our land once again. Many of our best and brightest have succumbed, dying needlessly to satisfy the ungodly cravings of deluded minds." He paused. "But we will survive." He looked around the mighty room, then at the camera. "We will wipe this plague from the face of the earth, so help me God."
The audience rose in agreement. The country, although depleted, was once again unified in its resolve. "We have lost our President, Vice President, their entire Cabinet, and many of the leaders who served in this august body. Our nation has been injured; we have been dealt a vicious blow." His eyes narrowed in righteous indignation. "But we shall endure."
The Admiral surveyed his surroundings. The giant chamber spread out to his right and left. The lower walls were a deep, dull red, the upper walls, above the balcony, a soft sky blue. Between them, white columns and trim majestically brought the hall’s patriotic motif together.
"Tonight, I speak for the families who have lost loved ones to Muslim militants in Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, and now Camp David. It is my hope that their sacrifice gives us the courage to defeat this enemy."
He wasn’t in a hurry. The message he had to deliver was going to make more enemies than friends. "America, we have made a tragic mistake. Al-Qaeda and the hundreds of terrorist organizations like them are not the enemy. Nor is this some new and malignant form of radical extremism. Groups like al-Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad are merely a symptom of a far more infectious and widespread disease."
He blurted it out. "The cancer is Islam itself."
The audience gasped. While it should have been obvious, no one had ever had the courage to say these words - not this bluntly. "America has paid a terrible price. Which is why I unabashedly call the perpetrators - and those who motivate them, harbor them, fund them, delude them, and celebrate them - the enemy. They and the doctrine that drives them are evil.
"Four years ago nineteen Muslim suicide bombers shattered the financial heart of our nation, robbing three thousand innocents of their lives. Since that time, Islamic lunatics have inflicted all manner of violence on our people. It continues on to this very day. In fact, every terrorist attack on America by a foreigner has been planned, funded, perpetrated, and celebrated by Muslims. Islam is the only common denominator."
He stared at the camera, making eye contact with millions. "I did not go in to this search with an open mind. I went in to find the enemy, to understand their motives, and to discover what we can do to eliminate the threat before they eliminate us." It was going to be a long night.
"I recognize that it is our nature as a people, as a nation founded upon freedom, to leave other peoples alone, to let them believe whatever they wish, to let them live however they choose. But today there are reasons why doing so will be at our peril - and theirs. The Islamic states have targeted us. We are their enemy, whether they are ours or not. We are the Great Satan, infidels worthy of death. They have demonstrated this hostility toward us with word and deed. I have not imagined this, nor can I ignore it. Nor can you, if you wish to live.
"The goodness within us cries out for tolerance and compassion, for dialog and even appeasement - but this course, though instinctive with us, is not in our national or personal interests. We must resolve to understand the madness that drives those who view us so malevolently. And we must use what we learn to stop them.
"Whenever totalitarian governments deprive their own people of basic human rights - the right to life, liberty, and the freedom to live in a manner worth living - Jefferson’s ‘pursuit of happiness’ - we have an obligation to free the many from the tyranny of the few.
"Throughout the Muslim world, dictators are now depriving their citizens of these things, and to such an extreme that life is intolerable. Swamps breed disease. Despair gives rise to despots who terrorize.
"When we see leaders perpetrating heinous acts upon their people, we must act. Yes, us. Americans. Why? Because failure to do so reduces our humanity and separates us from the God in whom we trust. Failure to act actually endangers the freedoms we hold so dear, for racial hatred knows no borders. Yesterday, they killed their own. Today, they kill us.
"History confirms the merits of my warning. Hitler had no regard for human rights. He terrorized his critics, and viewed Jews as Muslims view us. The Marxists in Soviet Russia were equally tyrannical and similarly devoted to their misguided cause. But rather than understand these new emerging enemies of human decency, we ignored them, appeased them, did anything we could to avoid fighting them. As a result of our delays, our self-delusion, and the misguided ‘peace process’, fifty million souls were obliterated, and many times more found themselves imprisoned, impoverished slaves in their own land.
"We are facing the same referendum today with Islam. We can ignore, appease, and capitulate - or we can understand what motivates Muslims and eliminate the threat. The choice is clear. It is our minds that have become clouded. And to those who think it’s immoral to criticize another’s religion, I say Islam is no more a religion than Communism is, nor is it any more peaceful than Fascism was.
"Understand beyond all else that I share this harsh reality not because I wish to destroy Islam, but because Islam is trying to destroy us. Muhammad was more like Adolph Hitler than a man of God." A million mouths fell open. "And for this reason the world is in terrible peril. Not because he lives, but because his warmongering message survives in the hearts of five hundred million impetuous boys and girls of fighting age."
The chamber let out a collective gasp. Viewers across the nation dropped their remotes in astonishment. "We were not tolerant of Communism or Nazism when they proved to be barbarous. We fought them, even though many who lived under these regimes were good and decent. So, too, we must recognize the doctrine of Islam for what it is: a terrorist manifesto. We must deal with that uncomfortable truth."
The Admiral continued by explaining what the founders of Nazism and Islam had in common. "They told their people what they wanted to hear, made them feel racially superior, and blamed their woes on others, creating an enemy out of the Jews! Both rallied their people and funded their war chests by raping them. They were both guilty of genocide, killing a race of defenseless innocents to satisfy their own inadequacies.
"How can this be? You’ve been told that the Qur’an is a beautiful work, that it stirs the soul and inspires its followers to seek God and live in peace with man. That is a bold-faced lie. The Qur’an is repetitive and contradictory, fixated on hell and punishment. At its best, it’s a poor attempt to present the great stories and moral lessons of the Bible. At worst, it’s a call to war. But it’s not only the Qur’an that incites Islamic violence. It’s the Hadith as well - the Messenger’s speeches - that inspire young Muslims to acts of terror. Unable to give his followers a reason to live, Muhammad gave them a reason to die.
"Fighting, by definition, is the antithesis of peace. Yet Muhammad says that the greatest rewards are given to those who die fighting. Allah agrees, commanding his followers to kill us. Since fighting in Allah’s Cause is the highest calling for a Muslim, their religion can’t be peaceful. Since Allah is fixated on banishing Christians and Jews to the fires of hell, it can’t be tolerant or merciful. And since Muhammad is dead and Allah never lived, why do those who have been infected with this poison adhere to such nonsense and terrorize the world? Why do they lie about the essence of their perverse doctrine? And, more important still, why do we believe them?
"There are fewer than five surahs in all of the Qur’an that do not devolve into threats of pain and suffering. Fighting in Allah’s Cause dominates the Hadith. The Prophet, as revealed by his earliest biographers, is arguably the most maniacal soul ever to have set foot on our troubled planet." Adams held a copy of the Qur’an high above his head. "I’m going to read one verse. But with the fate of the world handing in the balance I implore you to read this hellish book yourselves." He opened it to the fifth surah. "After speaking of the Children of Israel, Muhammad claims Allah revealed the following: ‘The punishment for those who wage war against Allah and his Apostle is to crucify them, or banish them from the land. Such is their disgrace in the world, and in the hereafter. Their doom shall be dreadful.’"
Looking down and shaking his head, he closed the Qur’an and handed it back to Sarah. "Many of you tonight will choose to ignore what I have discovered, to deny reality. After all, it’s easier to believe that one man is wrong than to deal with the fact that a billion have been deceived. But I say to you, although all have been indoctrinated, only a minority actually believe. Most profess this demented doctrine simply to survive.
I’m sure that sounds a bit harsh, but I am not the first to recognize that Muhammad was a fraud. Islamic scholar Dr. D.S. Margoliouth says this of the Prophet: ‘The character attributed to Muhammad in the biography of Ibn Ishaq is exceedingly unfavorable. In order to gain his ends Mohammad recoils from no expedient, and he approves of similar unscrupulousness on the part of his adherents, when exercised in his interest. He organizes assassinations and wholesale massacres. His career as the tyrant of Medina is that of a robber chief whose political economy consists of securing and dividing plunder. He is himself an unbridled libertine, morally or sexually unrestrained, and encourages the same passion in his followers. For whatever he does he is prepared to plead the express authorization of his deity. It is, however, impossible to find any Islamic religious doctrine which he is not prepared to abandon in order to secure a political end. At different points in his career he abandons the unity of Allah and his claim to the title of Prophet. This is a disagreeable picture for the founder of a religion, and it cannot be pleaded that it is a picture drawn by an enemy.’
"Repressive regimes like those in the Muslim world have learned how to assure conformity. It’s a one-word formula: terror. It’s routinely directed at those who step out of line. Enemies of the state or faith - often one and the same - are imprisoned, beaten, and murdered. Such draconian measures diminish dissent. Call it coercion. Call it the deprivation of basic human rights. But call it on the carpet; call it what it is, and deal with it. If we eliminate the incentive to comply, we eliminate the threat. In order to prevail, we need only to defang thousands, not millions, and certainly not billions.
"You have been told by our leaders, some from this very platform, that Islam is not our enemy. But I stand here tonight and declare to you: we are theirs." He looked around the House Chamber. Every eye was glued on him. "If you take solace in their comforting words, if you are a Chamberlain and seek peace through appeasement, dialog, and political compromise, understand this. Their spiritual leader commanded them to lie, to steal, to kill, to terrorize. His Qur’an even tells Muslims that treaties with infidels are not binding. It’s no wonder they’ve violated them all."
Thor had nothing to hide. He had no agenda, not even his own. He wasn’t running for or from anything. He simply had a message to deliver.
"I am going to read something to you out of the Hadith of al-Bukhari. It’s but one of hundreds of similar verses that define Islam and reveal why its followers are dying to kill us today. This verse is from the Book of Faith, chapter 23, number 34. It reads, ‘The Prophet said, "Allah assigns to a person who fights in holy battles in His Cause...to be rewarded with booty if he survives, or Paradise if he is killed in battle as a martyr."’ The Prophet added, ‘"Had I not found it difficult for my followers,"’ to do without me, is the implication, ‘"I would have fought in army units going for Jihad. I would have loved to be martyred in Allah’s Cause and then made alive, and then martyred again in His Cause."’"
Thor let that sink in for a long moment. "Because Hitler and Muhammad are similar, mankind is in similar peril. The signposts along the road to oblivion are hauntingly familiar.
"With your indulgence, I would like to speak about the rise of Hitler’s Nazism and demonstrate how it parallels the rise of Muhammad’s Islam, for the best predictor of the future is the past. The character of man has not changed, nor have his methods, cravings, or delusions.
"World War II arose out of World War I. No one debates that today. It is simply understood. What the world does not realize is that just as assuredly, World War III will also emerge from the rubble, ashes, blood, and miscalculations of the First World War. That is, unless you and I have the courage to stop it here, in this place, tonight."
Thor Adams recounted the history. Too few knew it. "At the dawn of the last century, enough Muslims turned against their brethren for the British and French to defeat the Ottomans. Having no interest in vast reserves of sand and having too little regard for oil, the victors simply sliced and diced. They drew lines on a map and rewarded the warlords who had turned on their Muslim brothers by making them heads of state. They called some of the warlords Princes, some Presidents, Shahs, Sultans, even Kings. But Lebanon, my friends, was not ready to be a nation, nor was Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Syria, or Kuwait. Not surprisingly, it hasn’t worked, nor will it work. The only winners in this doomed drama are the warlords, Sultans, and Princes - and, of course, the Islamic clergy. The dictators need them to manipulate the masses.
"And the loser in this game of evil thugs on oily thrones? Why us, of course - the very same nation that rescued the world from the tyrannical regimes of World War II. We’re now faced with the same burden. And we must eventually fight in another war not of our making - either that or stop it from happening."
"For those listening who share my faith, the answer is Biblical. For those who profess no faith, it is historical. But either way, it’s the same answer. As painful as this course of action may be, it will be infinitely less costly than any alternative.
"So having come to know this enemy, to know why they kill, what can we do?" Adams asked. "First, in Israel," he answered, "the flashpoint of the world, we must separate the warring children - separate Isaac from Ishmael, Jews from Arabs. The Arabs who wish to remain in Israel may do so, but only if they repudiate terror. They should be given all the rights and responsibilities afforded and required of Israelis, except for the right to vote. This course of action would make them the safest, freest, best-educated, and most prosperous Arabs in the world.
"But for those who prize independence even more than prosperity, for those who feel they must have the right to vote, the right of self-determination, a sovereign ‘Palestinian’ state needs to be established - but not in isolated little pockets of territory within the borders of Israel. I recommend that this state include all that is currently the Gaza Strip, plus a contiguous territory along the southern Israeli border with Egypt of similar width, for twenty miles or more. And while I’m no fan of the Prophet, we should deploy a more charitable version of Muhammad’s own relocation strategy. The international community, for far less than it is currently wasting in the Middle East, for a fraction of the cost of fighting the war against terrorism, can help fund a prosperous new ‘Palestinian’ state - help make the desert bloom.
"Under this solution, every Arab living in Israel gets a choice: inclusion or independence, prosperity or self-reliance, the rocky, dry land of Israel or autonomy. The solution is as simple as the choices.
"As for Jerusalem, let us be perfectly clear. Jerusalem is Israel’s. The only reason Muslims care about it is that the Jews consider it holy. Yes, I know. Muhammad dreamed about flying there one night from Mecca. Sorry. Dreams are not enough.
"I would like to shatter another illusion that has clouded our judgment: Palestine. The name itself was designed to deceive. The Romans derived it from the Philistines - seven hundred years after they had been obliterated by the Babylonians. Rome renamed Judea ‘Palestina’ in a vain effort to repress Jewish attachment to their ancestral homeland.
"The name went unused, even by the Muslims who conquered Judea, for fourteen hundred years. Then, with the intent of returning Judea to its rightful heirs, the British reprised the Roman name in 1920. ‘Palestine,’ a mandate that included all of present-day Israel and Jordan, was to be returned to the Jews. But the Arabs squawked, and the Brits backpedaled.
"Then, to influence public opinion, the Arabs living in Judea elected to call themselves ‘Palestinians.’ But calling them the ‘Palestinian people’ is like calling Sarah and me the Virginian people. It’s a farce. We have been fed a lie. The land they claim, the West Bank, was occupied by Jordan as recently as 1967. During the Israeli War of Independence two decades earlier, the Jordanians conquered this territory - calling it the ‘West Bank’ for the first time. You see, it’s really hard to sell the idea of it belonging to the ‘Palestinians’ if the world uses the ancestral name ‘Judea.’ History has been revised to deceive you."
The Congress was mesmerized. They had no idea. "I bet most of you don’t know that Alafat’s PLO was at war with the Jordanians while the Arabs occupied Judea. They were unable to live in peace with anybody, anywhere, anytime. No one wants them. The Palestinian terrorist group ‘Black September’ was named after the month the PLO was expelled.
"So I say, if the Arabs in Judea, today’s Israel, want to be Philistines, then let them have the ancestral homeland of the Philistines - Gaza. The next time somebody whines that the poor ‘Palestinians’ are living under Israeli occupation, call that person a liar. The next time you hear people blame suicide bombers on Israeli ‘occupation’ or justify the mass murderer of innocents by labeling these butchers ‘freedom fighters,’ call them evil. Not only are they wrong, there’s blood dripping from their hands."
With that off his chest, Admiral Adams continued. "Now as for the rest of the Arab world - that caustic mix of Islam and racial hatred, our choice today is no different than the decision the world faced in the years leading up to World War II.
"What do you think? What would it have taken to subdue Nazism and Communism when they were young and frail? Tens of thousands of lives? Hundreds of thousands? It’s academic now, merely a painful lesson. The world hesitated and appeased them. The isolationists, "peacemakers" - those who controlled the public discourse - prevailed. We denied reality and as a result, fifty million people perished.
"Like it or not, we face the same referendum today. Islam can be curtailed and its infectious spread contained. This mind-numbing cancer can be sent into remission. Or we can sit here and watch it grow and do what cancers do - kill. Untreated, this disease will infect billions." He paused. "Oh, wait...it already has."
"But all is not lost, at least not yet. As we should have learned in Desert Storm and again in Afghanistan, it takes less than one might expect to free the world from this cancer. Though there is a cure today, there may not be one tomorrow. One Muslim state already has nuclear weapons; two others are on the cusp. Most have biological weapons. And all have an abundance of something even more sinister - suicide bombers - like those who flew into the heart of New York and Washington, like the one who showed his true colors this morning at Camp David."
He looked behind him. The loves of his life returned his gaze. "Sarah, would you please introduce our daughter and share how she found her way into our arms." Sarah rose, wheeling Mary to the front of the stage. Adams knelt down beside her, holding her hand.
Stepping to the rostrum, Sarah said, "America, this is Mary. She was the victim of a suicide bomber in Israel. By the grace of God, she is going to survive. But not her biological mother and father. They were consumed by this cancer the Admiral has told you about. They were just living their lives, doing what families do, loving and nurturing one another. How many more Marys are going to suffer before we wake up, before we act? A million Marys, precious little children, were murdered by the Nazis, bright and joyous candles whose flames were snuffed out before they had the chance to glow. Can you muster the courage, America, to prevent more Marys from suffering at the hands of militant Muslims? Or are you going to bury your head in the sand?"
Every eye grew wet. Even the hardest souls softened. In Mary, they were forced to face reality.
Admiral Adams again approached the podium. "Boy bombs happen because the despots we coddle, support, and enrich in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Egypt reward their families. These nations fund the Islamic schools that promise great sex in paradise to those they teach to maim little girls like Mary.
"The money that funds these schools and rewards the families of suicide bombers is beyond comprehension. And it’s being used by those who view us as the enemy to indoctrinate the masses - to teach them to hate and terrorize. The four airliners hijacked in September 2001 became little more than big boy bombs. The terrorists who hijacked these planes had but one thing in common - Islam."
The Admiral studied the faces staring back at him. His message was beginning to resonate. "Unless we stop the flow of money and stop the racist indoctrination of impressionable youth, it will buy more terror than we can endure. The sources of terror that must be subdued are: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Libya, and Egypt." He read the list slowly, letting every name sink in. "Removing the scum who control Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, the Sudan, Somalia, and other Islamic nations will also liberate their people from the scourge of this cancer. Simply stated: it would be good for the world."
Adams took his audience on an imaginary journey. "My fellow Americans, in your mind’s eye, I want you to take a step back from the edge of this abyss upon which we are now standing. No, you’re still too close. Please step back - all the way back to the dawn of the Dark Ages in medieval Europe. Imagine that you govern a powerful nation, one vastly superior to any feudal state. In your mind’s eye, look into your crystal ball. What do you see all around you? Heartache and tyranny, extreme poverty. There are no freedoms of expression, no freedoms of religion, no means to escape the cesspool, no way to better one’s life. For everywhere you look, life hangs by a thread, the thread of allegiance, obedience to cleric and king.
"Looking again into your crystal ball, you see the high priests. They’re elegantly robed, rich and powerful, brutal and repressive. This politicized clergy is in lock step with the royals - symbiotically working to subdue the people, plundering them for personal gain, killing or torturing them when they step out of line.
"Now imagine these despots making inroads into your kingdom, sending raiding parties to sack your seacoast towns. They kill a few thousand civilians. But they get bolder, more vicious as time passes.
"So what do you do? Do you engage the empowered clergy and warlords in dialog? Ask them to behave better? Do you deny their existence? Close your eyes to the hell you know is coming? Do you turn away and let tens of millions suffer because you have neither the courage nor character to get involved? Remember, you have the means. The question is: do you have the will?
"Now, my fellow Americans, please step through time with me. You remembered to pack your crystal ball, right? Okay, now gaze into it. What do you see emerging in the motherland and in the fatherland, Russia and Germany? Revolution? I thought so. Do you see tiny minorities, less than five percent of the population, mobilizing? They’re fanatical, aren’t they? They’re driven by doctrines that poison young men’s minds. You see the masses succumbing. You watch in horror as they grow to worship their leaders. Then you see their names: Lenin and Hitler, ruthless dictators, thugs of epic proportions. Their followers, animals like Stalin and Goebbels, spread the false doctrines far and wide. Terror is their ally. Human rights are abolished. Anyone brave enough to criticize them is sent to the gulag, the concentration camp, or the grave. You hear them scream; you see their anguished faces. Life isn’t worth living unless one spews the official rhetoric as if it were gospel.
"Now, my friends, you’re still the leader of the world’s only superpower. It’s the early 1930s, and you know what’s going to happen because you’ve got your crystal ball. Fifty million people are going to die. Eight times that many are going to live in relative slavery for decades, with no human rights. They’ll be indoctrinated - told what to think, what to believe, how to act. They’ll be taught to hate you.
"What do you do? Engage the socialists and fascists in dialog? Mind you, these doctrines are no more or less delusional or repressive than today’s politicized Islam. Do you think it will be helpful to ask them to behave better? Or do you want to deny their existence, close your eyes to the hell you know is coming. Appease them by acquiescing to their demands? Turn away and let four hundred million people suffer because you don’t have the courage or character to get involved?
"While you’re pondering that question, turn your crystal ball around and gaze upon the dictatorial regimes of the Far East for a moment. Please indulge me. What do you see? Warlords and emperor worship in Japan, the rape of Nanking, the devastation of the Philippines, Americans pushed on death marches by Japanese bayonets. And only five years after we liberate the Chinese from a tyranny nearly as horrific as the Holocaust - what then? Do you see them storming over the horizon and slaughtering our young men in Korea? I thought so. And now - do you see it? Mao’s little red book being lifted in praise.
"Now remember, you are supremely powerful - the world’s only superpower. What do you do? You know what we did. We ignored the abuse. We closed our eyes to the genocide, the mass murder, the suffocating repression of hundreds of millions. We refused to fight until the battle was brought to us, and the price of victory was millions of lives.
"Okay, it’s time to hand in your crystal ball. You wont need it anymore. In fact, you never needed it. You’ve always had something better - history. Some say hindsight is 20-20. With history as our ally, I say foresight can be just as clear.
"The evils that have led to the most painful chapters in human history are festering in the Muslim world today: delusional doctrines, revisionist propaganda, the rule of dictators, abject poverty, indoctrination of youth, a disregard for the value of life, and wealth beyond imagination. What’s going to happen as a result?
"Should we ask them to play nice?" There was an edge to Thor’s voice. "Should we try to convince them that they should allow their people to think for themselves, to choose a faith based upon its merits? If we ask them to stop killing us, to stop throwing billions of dollars at terrorists, to stop indoctrinating future generations in religious schools that teach racial hatred, do you think they will? What are the chances that the Islamic state-controlled media will stop lying, stop encouraging terror?
"Are you a Chamberlain who thinks we can appease them by giving them Czechoslovakia...excuse me, Palestine? Are you one who sees wisdom in denial? Do you think we should wait a few more years perhaps, and see what happens. Shall we continue to lavish dollars upon them for oil they did not create, hoping they will not turn our dollars into nuclear and biological arsenals? Do you suggest sitting back and merely hoping that they won’t use these weapons against us when they have them?
"We have the means to stop World War III before it starts. Simply stop the flow of money, and the indoctrination will stop. But do we have the will - the character and the courage?
"It will be painful, but if I recall, when Iraq had the fourth mightiest army on the planet, we overwhelmed them in the blink of an eye. But we didn’t finish the job. The second time, our mission was flawed. We sought regime change, not recognizing that Saddam was meaningless. He wasn’t the enemy; Islam is. Al-Qaeda didn’t go away because bin Laden finally died from failed kidneys. He wasn’t the enemy either; Islam is.
"Douglas MacArthur knew something we must all learn. To minimize the loss of life, one must control the time and place of the battle. Using this simple strategy, he did more with less than any general in history. We must follow his lead in eradicating the source of terror, because its adherents will kill us if we don’t. But then we must finish the job.
"The MacArthur Plan is precisely what the suffering masses in the Muslim world need. The MacArthur Plan is what the free world needs if we do not wish to die at the hands of Islam. And we can use the oil that flows from these sands to pay for it.
"MacArthur finished the job by putting the warlords out of business. In so doing, he spared the world, but he also improved millions of Japanese lives. He pointed out the obvious flaws inherent in emperor worship, freeing their souls. He wrote their constitution and helped revise their educational institutions so that they could eventually manage for themselves. He provided a model for free enterprise that enabled their middle class to grow and prosper. He gave the Japanese people a life worth living, eliminated despair and poverty, and thus the need to manufacture enemies - the need to hate, the need to terrorize others. And then, when they were ready to govern themselves, he left. The job was done.
"Everybody won. Everybody, that is, except for the warlords. They didn’t think much of the idea. But why do we care what they think? The royal family in Saudi Arabia, the Ayatollah in Iran, the General in Iraq, the President in Syria - why do we care what they think? Why do we solicit their opinions or seek to form alliances with despots?
"The wisest man who ever lived said, ‘There is nothing new under the sun. That which has been is that which will be.’ From the historian’s pen: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ From my lips: ‘The best predictor of the future is the past.’ We must take heed; we must awaken from our collective trance and stop this menace now, while the costs are tolerable. If we do not, if we delude ourselves, if we ignore our past, we ensure a future consumed by terror.
"Throughout time, totalitarian thugs by any name - Pharaoh, King, General, Messenger, Chairman, or Fuhrer - have galvanized their power by lashing out at their neighbors. Kind words uttered in tolerance have never deterred them. Concessions have never appeased them. The only thing they respect is a strong shield, a sharp sword, and the will to use them. Harsh words and a puny stick only spur them on."
The hawks in the audience smiled, but their glee was short lived. "To the conservatives who may be celebrating these words, I say: this is not about conquest, not about flexing our muscles, and not about imposing our will and our ways on other peoples. Our mission must be to stop the flow of money, remove the thugs from power, demilitarize the region, stop the indoctrination, and establish the infrastructure these peoples will need to think for themselves, provide for themselves, govern themselves."
He looked to his left. "To the liberals in this chamber clamoring to squander our military preparedness by spending the peace dividend, I say: read your history. We disarmed after World War I, and we paid with our children’s blood. We disarmed after World War II and encouraged the Communist incursions that led to the spilling of more American blood in Korea and Vietnam. We invited trouble. We were unable to fight effectively, to thwart sadistic and repressive regimes, so our boys died instead. They did not have to die.
"To the media watching this proceeding, eager to ridicule my message, I say think about how you chastised Reagan for calling the expansionist and repressive regime in Russia ‘evil’. Despite your longing to revise history, he set the forces in motion that ended the suffering - the enslavement really - of hundreds of millions. You were wrong. He was right.
"When Winston Churchill criticized Neville Chamberlain’s betrayal of Czechosolvakia, giving this democratic nation to the rising despot in Germany, the London Times liabled Churchill, saying, and I quote, ‘The warmonger Churchill, who would make war without counting the cost, ought to be impeached or hanged. Mr. Chamberlain has achieved greater success in his agreements with Czechosolvakia, Italy, and Hitler at Munich than anyone in history.’ Again, you in the media were wrong. And your mistake was not without consequence. More people died as a result of this ‘land-for-peace process’ than in all prior wars combined. Please, I beg you, do not repeat the mistake.
"By the way, Churchill was not silent regarding our current enemy. At the end of his life, he left us a warning: ‘The Islamic genie poses a greater threat than even the Soviet Union,’ he said.
"For nearly a decade now, you have parroted the Islamic delusion. Unwittingly or not, you have fallen prey to their propaganda. Islam is not a peace-loving religion. We do not worship the same god. Their Prophet was anything but. Thus far, you have misled the American people. And while that in itself is wrong, it is inexcusable when it costs American lives.
"You are partially to blame for the rise of Islam. Your predecessors failed us during the rise of the tyrannical regimes in Japan, Germany, Russia, and China. Sometimes because you ignored them, enthralled with lesser stories. Other times because you failed to scratch below the surface. Mostly because you gave the lunatics a platform.
"I implore you to read, investigate, learn, think, and then report. I pray that there are enough real journalists among you to ferret out the truth, filtering what you find through the sieve of history and reason. Think about who killed the journalists in Afghanistan. Think about what motivated the assassins of Daniel Pearl. There is a lot at stake: the very freedom of mankind, the lives of millions of precious souls like Mary’s hinge on you acting rightly.
"I have met with these terrorists. I know who they are. I have learned what motivates them, what unifies them. Our enemy is Islam. Everyone hearing my voice must come to terms with this reality: Islam in its purest form is a manifesto for war. We are their enemy.
"In closing, I would like to leave you with two of history’s most important lessons. First, bad things happen when good people don’t stand up. Second, peace never results from the toleration of evil.
"America, I have done my duty. I have fulfilled my promise. I have found our foe. The enemy is the perverse doctrine of Islam. I have presented a remedy, a painful yet possible solution. I say it is time to raise our shield and wield our sword. Destiny is calling. We must rid the world of this cancer before it consumes us."