These days, "timorous defeatism is on the march," says Gerard Baker in an article in the Times Online. Since the invention of the newspaper, defeatism has been on the march. The war against jihadis and the creation of democracies in the Islamic domain is simply the latest victim of their pessimistic cynicism.
"In Britain setbacks in the Afghan war are greeted as harbingers of inevitable defeat," wrote Baker. "In America, large swaths of the political class continues to insist Iraq is a lost cause. The consensus in much of the West is that the War on Terror is unwinnable.
"And yet the evidence is now overwhelming that on all fronts, despite inevitable losses from time to time, it is we who are advancing and the enemy who is in retreat."
This war has always been about morale (read more about that here). And despite the best efforts of the anti-war journalists in the West, morale is being lost among jihadis, and is rising among freedom-lovers around the world. And you can help keep this momentum going. How? Baker wrote:
Next time you hear someone say that the war in Afghanistan is an exercise in futility ask them this: do they seriously think that if the US and its allies had not ousted the Taleban and sustained an offensive against them for six years that there would have been no more terrorist attacks in the West? What characterised Islamist terrorism before the Afghan war was increasing sophistication, boldness and terrifying efficiency. What has characterised the terrorist attacks in the past few years has been their crudeness, insignificance and a faintly comical ineptitude (remember Glasgow airport?)
The second great advance in the War on Terror has been in Iraq ... The “surge”, despite all the doubts and derision at the time, has been a triumph of US military planning and execution. Political progress was slower in coming but is now evident too. The Iraqi leadership has shown great courage and dispatch in extirpating extremists and a growing willingness even to turn on Shia militias.
The soldiers are in the field doing their job. Now we need to do our job. A key piece of winning against jihadis is strengthening our own morale. Another key piece is winning the meme war. As Baker wrote:
The third and perhaps most significant advance of all in the War on Terror is the discrediting of the Islamist creed and its appeal.
This was first of all evident in Iraq, where the head-hacking frenzy of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his associates so alienated the majority of Muslims that it gave rise to the so-called Sunni Awakening that enabled the surge to be so effective.
But it has spread way beyond Iraq. As Lawrence Wright described in an important piece in The New Yorker last month, there is growing disgust not just among moderate Muslims but even among other jihadists at the extremism of the terrorists.
Deeply encouraging has been the widespread revulsion in Muslim communities in Europe — especially in Britain after the 7/7 attacks of three years ago. Some of the biggest intelligence breakthroughs in the past few years have been achieved from former al-Qaeda supporters who have turned against the movement.
There ought to be no surprise here. It's only their apologists in the Western media who really failed to see the intrinsic evil of Islamists. Those who have had to live with it have never been in much doubt about what it represents. Ask the people of Iran. Or those who fled the horrors of Afghanistan under the Taleban.
This is why we fight. Primarily, of course, to protect ourselves from the immediate threat of terrorist carnage, but also because we know that extending the embrace of a civilisation that liberates everyone makes us all safer.
In fact, a free and democratic government is the only force powerful enough to override and nullify the terrifying brilliance of the Islamic memeplex.