In the days and weeks after 9/11, I was convinced that World War III had begun. And it would be a war in which the forces of Muslim extremism and the progressive West would face off in an epic battle spanning the globe.
Lines had been drawn, enemies had been identified, and the people of the free world had a moral imperative to do what was right, to protect innocents and let the evildoers know that they had finally gone too far. But that didn't happen.
Apart from a sudden proliferation of American flag pins on the lapels of politicians, life went on as usual. Which was really strange and all considering the nation was in the biggest fight of its 200-plus year existence.
While I imagined that a new world of food rations, interment camps, and non-stop USO shows would follow the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, those things didn't happen. But what surprised me the most was the fact that the average 20-something-year-old male didn't give a rat's ass about joining the forces of freedom to kick some terrorist tail. Things were strangely business as usual at recruitment offices across the country.
As the years progressed — and the U.S. invaded Afghanistan and then Iraq — nothing changed. We were fighting a war that most folks supported — at least in theory — but which few wanted to fight. Apparently, the most important battle of our times wasn't all that important. And for the average young American man, life here in the United States had been just too good to pass up.
Booze is cheap.
Drugs are everywhere.
And the chicks put out, no dowry needed.
Well, it's not like that in much of the Middle East. In fact, things can be pretty frikkin intolerable.
The governments are oppressive. The religious institutions are even more oppressive. And there's nary a drink or a porno mag to be found anywhere.
Which brings us to the recent violence over the controversial film "Innocence of Muslims." I don't have to tell you what's been happening. A U.S. ambassador was killed, embassies have been stormed, others have been burned, and riots abound across the Middle East.
Of course, we all know that it has nothing to do exactly with "Innocence of Muslims," a bizarrely incoherent cable-access drama that manages to blend slapstick comedy with a Chick Tract treatise on Islam. The culprits behind these riots are the same culprits behind the 9/11 attacks, the Madrid bombings, the London subway bombings, and pretty much every terrorist act since Sept. 11, 2001: angry, unemployed young men who've been shat upon by the world and who have finally found a way to let everybody know just how pissed off they are. Don't take my word for it. The New York Times notes that these are the usual suspects.
When it comes down to it, we aren't fighting a sinister cabal of global supervillians. We're fighting a mob of guys who've never been to a keg party and who think that third base is really just a spot on the baseball diamond. Truth be told, we'll never win the War on Terror until we come to terms with the fact that our enemies really just need a couple of bongs hits and a hummer.
So how about the next time we decide to drop a bomb, we fill it copies of Hustler and cases of Natty Lite. If we do that, victory is ours.