Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism
Three years ago, evil surfaced in the Western world in a way it had
not in six decades, since the day of infamy at Pearl Harbor.
Americans were forced to confront pure human wickedness in a way we
had not in generations. And in that moment we rose as one nation to
the challenge -- led, fortunately, by a leader who had the clarity
of vision to recognize that evil for what it was, and to rally
America and the world against it. Even many of the most committed
liberals seemed to have their compasses reoriented in the face of
that unmistakable act of war and crime against humanity.
But nearly three years have passed. And in the intervening time our
wounds have healed, our senses and memories dulled. The nation
rallied behind its leader long enough to expel the state sponsors
of evil in Afghanistan. Yet by the time the confrontation with Iraq
presented itself, our courage and moral certainty seemed to fade in
the face of partisan bickering and posturing. We toppled a
murderous dictator in Iraq -- and yet now the political left and
the Democratic Party are trying to use the demanding aftermath of
the war to exploit our national cause for their own political
advantage. How could we allow ourselves to forget so soon?
I decided to write this book because I believe it is our
responsibility to recognize and confront evil in the world -- and
because I'm convinced that if we fail in that mission it will lead
us to disaster.
Evil exists. It is real, and it means to harm us. I believe this
strongly, and not just because of my Catholic faith, although
that's the root of it. When you work in the news business, you deal
with the ugly side of life. Every day across your desk comes story
after story about man's inhumanity to man, from mass murderers to
child molesters to mothers who drown their children to husbands who
murder their pregnant wives. These stories push the limits of our
ability to imagine man's potential for depravity, and yet they are
Still, isolated events like these pale beside the pure evil of
September 11. How could anyone witness the horrors of that day, or
the mass graves discovered in Iraq after the fall of Saddam
Hussein, and dismiss the idea of evil? And yet many people do --
most of them political liberals. Even when they can bring
themselves to acknowledge the brutality of a venal tyrant such as
Saddam Hussein, they qualify it. "We are not deny ng that Saddam is
a repressive dictator," they say, "but we don't believe we should
have attacked Iraq without giving him more time to comply with the
U.N. resolutions." For the appeasement-minded liberals of our
country, there's always a "but."
It's difficult for liberals to see such moral questions clearly,
because most of them are moral relativists. They reject absolute
standards of right and wrong. In their worldview, man is
perfectible, human nature is on a linear path toward enlightenment,
and the concept of sin is primitively biblical. In their view,
society's unfairness compels people to break the law. To them
people like Saddam and Osama bin Laden are not morally depraved
murderers, but men driven to their bad acts by the injustices of
The emphasis is always on giving bad actors -- domestic and foreign
-- the benefit of the doubt, never on personal accountability.
After all, if we can blame external circumstances or internal
imbalance, then we can avoid the messy business of calling the
evildoers to account. This kind of thinking s all too familiar from
our courtrooms at home. The justice system today is crawling with
"experts" eager to exonerate the most heinous criminals on the
grounds that they're "genetically predisposed" to murder, rape,
take drugs, or otherwise endanger the welfare of others; the media
fills its airwaves with liberal advocates eager to sympathize with
murderers on death row, instead of the families of the innocent
The trouble with tolerating evil, of course, is that while we're
averting our eyes, the evil itself only grows and festers around
the world. This has been true throughout history. Neville
Chamberlain assured a wary England that an appeasement pact with
Adolf Hitler would lead to "peace n our time." Cold War liberal
elitists ignored or downplayed the atrocities of communism, from
the gulag of "Uncle Joe" Stalin to the killing fields of Cambodia.
Bill Clinton stood idly by while Islamic terrorists attacked
American targets throughout the 1990s, in a long prelude that
should have alerted us to their burgeoning war on America.
The primary evil we face today is terrorism. But we will never
triumph over the terrorists until we realize that groups like al
Qaeda are not working alone. Wthout the deep pockets of
terrorist-friendly dictatorships like Saddam Hussein's Iraq to
support them, the loose networks of Islamic terrorism would pose
only a fraction of the danger to civilization they currently do.
And those dictatorships, we must realize, are the same brutal
regimes that have oppressed their own people for generations.
As President Bush has declared, we can no longer wait around for
terrorists to attack us. We must take the war to them, rooting them
out of their swamps and destroying the despotic regimes that
furnish their lifeblood.
But the president also warned that this would be a war like no
other. It would be fought on a variety of levels, against a largely
invisible and unconventional enemy. Sometimes our efforts would be
conducted out in the open, for all to see; at other times, though,
they would be as invisible to the public as the terrorists
Excerpted from DELIVER US FROM EVIL © Copyright 2003 by
Sean Hannity. Reprinted with permission by ReganBooks, an impring
of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.