Book Review – “The Fight Of Our Lives” by William J. Bennett & Seth Leibsohn
Professor Bernard Lewis. The Crisis of Islam
The above statement is a truth that cannot be denied, a truth that if ignored by the American public and our government, will have long -lasting consequences for our nation. It is this fact that underlies William Bennett and Seth Leibsohn’s latest book, “The Fight for our Lives.” In this book they present us with the unpleasant reality that we as Americans are in the fight of our lives, this fight isn’t something that is on the horizon or off in some distance future, it’s here, and now, and truth be told it’s been here for some time. This fight is one that is two-fold. It’s a war against a theocratically fueled enemy that despises everything we stand for and against a home-front trapped in the nets of political correctness, a journalistically driven veil that has covered that has obscured the true intents and desires of our enemy, rendering us incapable of seeing it for what it is, ourselves for who we are.
From the very beginning the authors make it clear that rather than simply detailing the incidents, attempts, and actions of our enemy they seek to refocus American attention on the war against radical Islam and to highlight the necessity of a ‘cultural defense’ of our country. That is their stated goal and for all intents and purposes they reached for what they sought, and did so in an engaging and ethical fashion.
The book begins with something that is from our not too distant memory, the terrorist attack that took place at Ft. Hood, which took the lives of fourteen people. Why start there? The answer is a simple one, this event is the ‘poster child’ for our nation’s lack of resolve when it comes to fighting. After the December 7th 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, then President Franklin Roosevelt addressed the nation before a joint session of congress, and in that speech he made this statement…
“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory… that we will make very certain that this form of treachery will never endanger us again” (p.2)
It was a similar state of mind that permeated the American conscience in the days just after 9/11, but that drive and direction was not to last. It was soon overshadowed by the dual menace of complacency and Political correctness, two issues that are as much of a threat to our national security as the acts of the perpetrated by the terrorists themselves.
To give insight on this issue the authors dig into the investigation showing that it was nothing short of a total ‘whitewash’ of the events that took place, and the motivation behind the action. The authors went on to point out that if we want to avoid another tragedy like we experienced at Ft. Hood then we must start calling thing as they really are, Muslim terrorists are really terrorists, and evil does indeed exist in the world.
The authors go on to give an in-depth examination of how we as a nation have arrived at the point where we place political correctness above national security, where we place not offending people above protecting the lives of people, and where we give legitimacy to groups that are nothing less than terrorist thugs, discussing the often overlooked or moreover avoided lessons that can be learned from the fight surrounding the Ground Zero mosque, putting into perspective that the issue wasn’t about religious freedoms or rights, but about what is “right.” Throughout the context of this section of the book they echo the sentiments of the Apostle Paul, that just because something is ‘permissible,’ that doesn’t mean that it’s ‘beneficial.’
Also brought back to light was the idea that our national focus has been diverted from ‘winning’ the wars we’re currently engaged in to ‘ending’ those wars. If the goal of winning isn’t at the forefront, it will take longer for those conflicts to end, that’s an undeniable fact of war. If we ignore that we do so at our own peril. The authors rightly point out the program of ‘appeasement,’ that is being enlisted by the Whitehouse, appeasement towards terrorists, appeasement towards Iran, and apologies the world over for getting involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, and countless other conflicts from decades past. Obama is free to disagree with the war, but he’s not free to take the path of appeasement with our enemy’s. Attlee and Kennedy discovered the disastrous results of such actions during their interactions with the Nazi’s in the days leading up to WWII. If America doesn’t remember it’s past and learn from it, she will undoubtly repeat it. A convincing case is made that our current government instead of denouncing terrorists and their supporters, is now changing focus and classifying illegal immigration protesters, pro-life advocates, and veterans as possible terrorists, without any evidence to back up such allegations. (p.74)
Towards the end of the book the authors courageously do something that most in the media refuse to do. They draw out the differences between Jewish/Christian and Muslim violence. The Media is quick to point out atrocities carried out by Jews and Christians down through the ages, as if it somehow justifies the current atrocities perpetrated by the radical Muslims. They point out that those who equate the violence in the Bible with the violence in the Koran fail to realize the difference between a ‘historical account,’ and a ‘living injunction.’ The Bible records actions of war and violence, the Koran calls for currents actions of war and violence. To compare them would be to compare apples to oranges.
The book also rightfully makes a call for specific reforms when it comes to Muslims engagement of their own people. The call is for moderate Muslims to denounce their radicalized brothers and sisters for their terroristic activities and statements against themselves, the West and against Israel. Making their point they say;
“A truly reformed Muslim would lament extreme Islam and would denounce the application of Sharia law, prohibit polygamy and underage marriage, and extend social and legal equality to nonbelievers, and would weigh in against terrorism everywhere and always.” (p.125)
It can’t be overstated that until the Muslims hold their own in check and quit appeasing them or in some cases outright supporting them, by qualifying their action the danger of Radical Islam will not be abated.
The authors end the book by making a very direct and very correct observation;
“…let us call good and evil by their proper names. Let us know the enemy as the enemy and not hide behind sophisticated philosophies and synonyms and pseudonyms. And let us know ourselves for who we are and what we’ve done, for our citizens here, as well as for the immiserated abroad. Let the double speak and nonspeak end and let the relearning and rededication begin. To win the fight of our lives we must do nothing less.” (p.148-149)
This is a bold and readable book that makes a powerful, and in many quarters controversial case against political correctness and the appeasing of terrorists and those who support them. One may disagree with some of its points made, but to ignore its central conclusions at your, and our, peril.”
The Fight of Our Lives is not a smear campaign against Muslims, but an informative and well-cited work with a timely message. Unlike many books written today on this topic, this book goes beyond mere conjecture, and does a tremendous job at substantiated all its claims with mountains of footnotes and indexes. This book proves the old axiom that Dynamite truly comes in ‘small packages.’ It’s worth reading. I highly recommend this book to all Americans. Read it, ponder its contents, then draw your own conclusions.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their “booksneeze program.”
I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions and views expressed here are my own.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”