The terrorists, and those who support them, most fear American resolve.
They know we have the military and economic power to destroy them. But, they suspect that we lack the will to carry though a long and difficult struggle.
Osama Bin Ladin has made this clear. In an interview with Peter Arnett in 1997 he stated about his mujahideen:
"They participated with their brothers in Somalia against the American occupation troops and killed large numbers of them. The American administration was aware of that. After a little resistance, The American troops left after achieving nothing. They left after claiming that they were the largest power on earth. They left after some resistance from powerless, poor, unarmed people whose only weapon is the belief in Allah The Almighty, and who do not fear the fabricated American media lies. We learned from those who fought there, that they were surprised to see the low spiritual morale of the American fighters in comparison with the experience they had with the Russian fighters. The Americans ran away from those fighters who fought and killed them, while the latter were still there. If the U.S. still thinks and brags that it still has this kind of power even after all these successive defeats in Vietnam, Beirut, Aden, and Somalia, then let them go back to those who are awaiting its return."
Osama knows that power is negated without resolve.
President Bush haunts and demoralizes the terrorists and their supporters because he has displayed an iron resolve to destroy the terrorists and those who support them.
A letter believed written by arch terrorist Abu Musab Al Zarqawi to his Al Qaeda associates regarding Iraq makes this clear. He wrote:
"But America did not come to leave, and it will not leave no matter how numerous its wounds become and how much of its blood is spilled……By the Lord of the Ka`ba, [this] is suffocation…"
But President Bush’s will is not the only will they consider. They also consider the will of the American Public.
Immediately after 9/11, American resolve surprised the terrorists. They did not expect the United States to strike back so determinedly and effectively. They expected the United States to cower and withdraw.
The lack of any attacks on American soil since 9/11 must in part result from the deterrent effect of this display of will. It is not far fetched to assume that those nations that support terror are keeping a close reign on their terrorist clients for fear of drawing the ire of the United States.
However, American resolve may be dissolving.
This election will determine whether America has the resolve to match that of its leader. The terrorists await our election with great anticipation.
Will we emulate the Spanish, or the French, by electing a leader who avoids the difficult but necessary road ahead? One who abandons the war on terror to rely on the police? One who abandons offense to rely only upon defense? One who takes this country back to the way it dealt with terrorism before 9/11?
Will America learn nothing lasting from 9/11?
Certainly, one of the clearest messages coming from the 9/11 commission is that America must be on the offense, acting militarily and preemptively to thwart terrorist threats before they germinate here.
It is time for America to show its quality.