"I saw what happened in Iraq, and I was afraid."
That's what Muammar Qadaffi told Silvio Berulsconi, when the Italian PM asked why Libya had, out of the blue, announced it was giving up its WMD program.
FYI, that was just a month or so after Operation IRAQI FREEDOM.
If you were Qadaffi today, or Bashar Assad, or Kim Jong Il, or Mahmoud Ahmadinijad, or the leader of China, would you feel intimidated by American might and resolve today?
I didn't think so.
Intelligence officers will tell you that the enemy acts on what HE perceives reality to be, and what HE thinks is rational.
Now, perhaps your enemy is indeed irrational. But that doesn't matter. What matters is what HE believes. What HE thinks is right.
If he believes something, he'll act on it.
The Japanese believed that America might quit quickly in WWII if we sustained massive initial defeats. So, they attacked Pearl Harbor. Bin Laden looked at our reaction to the loss of 18 soldiers in Mogadishu in 1993 and concluded that America was a paper tiger that lacked the will to fight. He then embarked on a path that led us to 9/11.
What will the terrorists and bullies of the world conclude today? How scared will they be of a country that is on the verge of electing Al Franken as a US Senator? How will the Arab press spin the election results?
Barack Obama will have to prove he's up to their challenge. Most likely, he'll have to prove that by reacting to an attack against us.
FDR and Bush 43 both proved their doubters wrong. They proved that America was ready and able to fight back.
But it costs us many, many lives to do so.
And, don't forget, Obama won't have the chance to actually prove his mettle until he's been in office a while. What about in the meantime?
I fear that much of the brillant work our soldiers have done in Iraq and Afghanistan has just been swept away. The jihadhis are surely emboldened. They surely think it's time to try their hand at America sometime soon, Israel much sooner than that.
We must steel ourselves for the coming blow. I pray to God that it doesn't come. But, as practical people, we must expect that it will and plan accordingly.