OPINION

God Bless the U.S.A.

Make no mistake. Due to brave leaders and the indomitable spirit of its people, America will be back and fighting for freedom once again.

America has been here before. Unexpected and seemingly insurmountable forces have pummeled America and left this great nation humiliated, defeated, uncertain, temporarily blinded and incapacitated due to a foreign attack, one that cast dark shadows over the American dream. But only for a while. This nation has always risen again, due to brave leaders and the indomitable spirit of its people who refuse to accept the dictates of fate and the vagaries of history.

This nation has always risen again, due to brave leaders and the indomitable spirit of its people who refuse to accept the dictates of fate and the vagaries of history.

As we commemorate the 20h anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks this weekend, we might well remember that. Because this is not shaping up to be the sort of anniversary that it might have been, one marking our victory and strength and indomitable spirit. In part, that is because America is in the midst of yet another crisis of confidence, another numbing defeat, another moment of doubt and despair. This time, it’s one promulgated not entirely by foreign powers, but by the incompetency and almost treacherous actions of the federal government.

Instead of celebrating America’s victory over the Taliban, the defeat of ISIS, and the degrading of al-Qaeda, the nation is instead pandering, bowing and kneeling to forces of terrorism because the Biden administration has proven itself to be one of the most stunningly inept governments in the history of America.

Twenty years ago, the 9/11 attacks left America shocked, dazed and on her knees. Where has this attack come from and how could such an insidious plan, so simple and yet so clever in its nefarious design, have succeeded? At the time, many Americans looked inward and found solace in song. Not only was Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America” rediscovered by millions of Americans, but Lee Greenwood’s song “God Bless the U.S.A.” became an anthem of healing.

“GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.”

“If tomorrow all the things were gone
I worked for all my life
And I had to start again
With just my children and my wife
I thank my lucky stars
To be living here today
‘Cause the flag still stands for freedom
And they can’t take that away”

As the song says, Americans have so much invested in this country to just let it pass away with mismanagement or have it snatched away by the enemies of freedom. Americans are grateful just to be American and it is that triumphant spirit and the leadership it inevitably promulgates that ensures the future of the country.

Irving Berlin.

Irving Berlin.

THE DEBACLE IN AFGHANISTAN

President Joe Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan has been roundly criticized, across the political spectrum. Just why or how could this administration produce an evacuation plan that failed so completely and dismally—unless it was intentional, and this was the end they were trying to achieve. It seems incomprehensible that reasonably competent military leaders would remove all American forces from Afghanistan with such little planning or exit strategy, and then rely on the good graces of a terrorist organization posing as a government to cooperate.

20 years after September 11th, the American people have very little to celebrate, and their leadership has left them in a dismal position.

But that is precisely what happened. Meanwhile, the White House, or more precisely National Security Council spokeswoman Emily Horne, is actually describing the Taliban as “businesslike and professional,” as if they were referring to a law firm or real estate agency, and not a host of enemy combatants who find little value in human life and have no interest in building a pluralist democracy. Recall how Rob O’Neill, the former Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden, talked about the activities of the Taliban during a Sept. 9 segment of  Fox News Primetime:

They’re going house to house, and if they find you worked for the Americans as a translator or even a driver or a secretary, you’re lucky if they just kill you. What they’re generally doing right now, even though we are not seeing it because we are only seeing what they let us see, is they’re torturing families in front of them before they cut their heads off.

If flatly denying the horrifying reality of the situation weren’t bad enough, President Biden has lied about the withdrawal throughout the crisis.

The President made the outrageous claim during an August 20th news conference that America’s allies had been supportive of his withdrawal plan. That was painfully not true. Britain especially has been vehemently condemning President Biden’s actions in Afghanistan. The U.K. Parliament held him in contempt this week, and Member of Parliament Gavin Barwell, former Chief of Staff to Theresa May, said it was “time to wake up and smell the coffee.”

President Biden also had the gall to suggest that al-Qaeda was no longer a threat in Afghanistan.

In response to questions from reporters at his August 20th news conference, Biden stated: “Look, let’s put this thing in perspective here. What interest do we have in Afghanistan at this point with al-Qaeda gone? We went to Afghanistan for the express purpose of getting rid of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, as well as getting Osama Bin Laden. And we did. Imagine, just imagine if that attack, if Bin Laden had decided with al-Qaeda to launch an attack from Yemen, would we ever gone to Afghanistan?”

This was a particularly profound misstatement by the President because, it wasn’t Fox News or some either conservative news media that fact-checked this declaration; it was CNN fact checker Daniel Dale who noted that the Pentagon contradicted President Biden’s words that same day! “Biden’s claim that al-Qaeda is “gone” from Afghanistan is false—as his own administration acknowledged soon afterward. Following Biden’s remarks, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters, “We know that al-Qaeda is a presence, as well as ISIS, in Afghanistan, and we’ve talked about that for quite some time.”

The United Nations has also documented back in June that al-Qaeda “is resident in at least 15 Afghan provinces, primarily in the east, southern and south-eastern regions.” That same report pegged al-Qaeda’s membership at 500 people.

20 years after September 11th, the American people have very little to celebrate, and their leadership has left them in a dismal position. But thankfully America is not about Joe Biden, or any one president, or even the humiliation we now face in Afghanistan. It is about a shared conception of nationhood that transcends petty politicians and ideological fashions, something we can hear echoed in the chorus of “God Bless the U.S.A.”:

“And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.”

Taliban.

Taliban.

A STAGGERING DEFEAT

This was the unsaid part of the news conference—the sin of omission—as President Biden neglected to mention just how well-armed the Taliban now is. It is a dereliction of duty worthy of impeachment.

We will find new leadership if the current leadership is not up to the task of governing.

During an August 17th interview with Fox News’ Hannity, former President Donald Trump outlined the stark reality facing usa and how events could have transpired differently: “The people come out first, then I was going to take all of the military equipment,” he said. “We have billions and billions of dollars worth of new Black Hawk helicopters, brand new that Russia will now be examining, and so will China, and so will everybody else to figure it because it’s the greatest in the world. We have brand new army tanks and all sorts of equipment, missiles, we have everything,” Trump continued.

Not a pretty sight. Was Trump exaggerating with these words? Well, turns out this was not another moment of hyperbole for the Donald, and this existential threat has been recognized by all including the mainstream media. As The Hill reported: “Billions of dollars of U.S. weapons are now in the hands of the Taliban following the quick collapse of Afghan security forces that were trained to use the military equipment. Among the items seized by the Taliban are Black Hawk helicopters and A-29 Super Tucano attack aircraft.”

Hoover Institution senior fellow Victor Davis Hanson spoke about this disaster in an September 3rd, interview on Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Tonight. “So this is the greatest loss of military equipment in the history of warfare.” Hanson said the loss was accepted by the Pentagon “so nonchalantly,” and demanded that “the people responsible for this should be either fired or resign. They’ve done so much damage to the United States and they’ve empowered a pre-civilizational terrorist band into making them into a considerable… militia that will cause havoc for the next 20 years.”

It is difficult to argue with Hanson. But we turn again to the lyrics of Lee Greenwood.

“From the lakes of Minnesota
To the hills of Tennessee
Across the plains of Texas
From sea to shining sea
From Detroit down to Houston
And New York to L.A.
Where’s pride in every American heart
And it’s time we stand and say”

Taliban in Afghanistan, 2021.

Taliban in Afghanistan, 2021.

The leadership may be incomprehensibly abhorrent, and the lack of resolve by the Biden administration to exercise American power and exert American will might be beyond reason, but our nation is larger than these deficiencies. We will find new leadership if the current leadership is not up to the task of governing.

He told Americans they could save themselves, and they could make the nation strong again.

Former President Geroge W. Bush, for all his failings as a conservative, reacted to the 9/11 disaster with eloquence and determination. He said America was down but never out; that we would ultimately triumph over her enemies; and that these terrorists would be punished for their actions. On September 28th, 2001 he delivered an address to a joint session of Congress, affirming that, despite the recent disaster, the state of the union was strong.

We have seen the state of our union in the endurance of rescuers working past exhaustion. We’ve seen the unfurling of flags, the lighting of candles, the giving of blood, the saying of prayers in English, Hebrew and Arabic. We have seen the decency of a loving and giving people who have made the grief of strangers their own. My fellow citizens, for the last nine days, the entire world has seen for itself the state of union, and it is strong.

Faintly in the background, we might have heard:

“That I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.”

President Bush did not save America in the wake of 9/11. He did not make America strong again. He told Americans they could save themselves, and they could make the nation strong again. And America did. It will do so again in the wake of the Afghanistan debacle—whether President Biden arises to the occasion or not.

Iran Hostage Crisis.

Iran Hostage Crisis.

THE REAGAN RECOVERY

America was similarly enfeebled in 1979 when President Jimmy Carter and the entire nation was entangled in a hostage crisis that never seemed to end. There was a similar feeling of powerlessness throughout the land even before the Iranian militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran in what became the Iran Hostage Crisis where 56 Americans were forcibly contained. For an incredible 444 days, America appeared to be inert and unable to control its destiny as the national media covered the stand-off day after agonizing day.

The 1970s were a difficult time for this nation. It had been a decade of Watergate, inflation, stagflation, the retreat from Vietnam and urban crime.

Reagan reminded America that it had the resolve, the purpose, the determination to be great again.

Then came 1980 and the advent of Ronald Reagan. The mood and attitude in America was radically altered overnight with the election of Reagan, in the same way that a new day of sunshine obliterates the clouds and rain of the day before. Reagan reminded America that it had the resolve, the purpose, the determination to be great again.

In this first inaugural address, Reagan provided the inspirational direction for a nation.

On the eve of our struggle for independence a man who might have been one of the greatest among the Founding Fathers, Dr. Joseph Warren, President of the Massachusetts Congress, said to his fellow Americans, ‘Our country is in danger, but not to be despaired of … On you depend the fortunes of America. You are to decide the important questions upon which rests the happiness and the liberty of millions yet unborn. Act worthy of yourselves.’

Well, I believe we, the Americans of today, are ready to act worthy of ourselves, ready to do what must be done to ensure happiness and liberty for ourselves, our children and our children’s children. And as we renew ourselves here in our own land, we will be seen as having greater strength throughout the world. We will again be the exemplar of freedom and a beacon of hope for those who do not now have freedom.

It was during the Reagan years when Lee Greenwood wrote his anthem of freedom. It helped define a presidency that reminded Americans of their country’s exceptionalism. The song was released in 1984 as Reagan was poised to run for re-election and win one of the largest presidential electoral victories in American history.

Iran Hostage Crisis.

Iran Hostage Crisis.

AMERICA’S LEGACY AND FUTURE

American history is the story of a nation that keeps getting knocked down, but one that inevitably gets up again to fight back. It has been those hard knocks that have made America tough, resourceful, and unwilling to surrender its freedom to tyranny—wherever it may originate. America might have retreated from its dawning role as a world power and surrendered to the Japanese empire after the cataclysm of Pearl Harbor in 1941, but it chose to fight on with a determination found its voice in President Franklin Roosevelt and a united Congress that put American interests and the cold hard facts of survival ahead of partisan interests.

“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,” Roosevelt told a joint session of Congress on December 8th, 1941. “I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the utmost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.”

But even more than this leadership, it was the people who decided America was not yet finished—in fact it had barely begun to fight. Those millions of Americans who put on a uniform to fight for freedom during the Second World War were the true guarantors of America’s future and its manifest exceptionalism.

Americans won’t watch their nation sink into decline and be subsumed by the Taliiban, ISIS, or al-Qaeda. It won’t surrender to terrorism or any force that seeks to impose its power and will upon the American people. Real leadership will arise in America and Americans will reassert their moral authority in the world.

“And I’m proud to be an American
Where at least I know I’m free
And I won’t forget the men who died
Who gave that right to me
And I’d gladly stand up next to you
And defend Her still today
‘Cause there ain’t no doubt
I love this land
God Bless the U.S.A.”

“God Bless The U.S.A.” lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group.

This article is part of a Human Events Opinion Special Collection released September 11th, 2021: “9/11: A Twenty Year Retrospective.”

Written By:

David Krayden is the Ottawa Bureau Chief for the Daily Caller. You can follow him on Twitter @DavidKrayden.