Will the Other Sleeping Giant Awake? | William Kilpatrick | Catholic World Report
Despite widespread slaughter of Christians and other religious minorities in Muslim lands, the Church currently seems unable to mount any kind of resistance to Islamic ideology
It is often said that when Admiral Yamamoto ordered the attack on Pearl Harbor, he awakened a sleeping giant. Even though the Nazis had occupied much of Europe, bombed London, and advanced to the outskirts of Moscow, the United States was still slumbering on the morning of December 7, 1941.
Although we were aiding the anti-Nazi forces through Lend-Lease shipments and other forms of support, isolationist sentiment remained strong in America. The mood of complacency was succinctly captured in the 1942 wartime film Casablanca:
Rick: If it’s December 1941 in Casablanca, what time is it in New York?
Sam: What? My watch stopped.
Rick: I bet they’re asleep in New York. I bet they’re asleep all over America.
America woke up, but barely in time. Our allies were in disarray, a major part of our Pacific fleet lay at the bottom of Pearl Harbor, and the Wehrmacht was well-armed, well-trained, and highly experienced. Another year of delay and the fate of Europe might have been sealed, and our own future made that much more uncertain.
The Cold War which followed on the heels of World War II kept America on its toes for four more decades, but after the fall of the Soviet system, the sleeping giant resumed its slumber. Then came September 11, 2001—an attack which cost more American lives than Pearl Harbor. It was a classic wake-up call. And for a while, the giant awoke. The American homeland went on high alert and forces were mobilized to attack the enemy’s base in Afghanistan. However, with the relatively easy defeat of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, the sleeping giant rolled over and went back to sleep. There seemed to be no more threat to our homeland and no serious threat to our military. As a result, the Army is being shrunk to pre-World War II levels, and the Navy to pre-World War I size. Meanwhile, social experimentation has become all the rage. Concern over the strength of the military has taken a back seat to concern over its sensitivity to diversity.
Because we went back to sleep, the Islamic threat to the world is significantly greater today than it was on September 11, 2001. Al-Qaeda is stronger than ever and active in numerous countries. ISIS controls large parts of Syria and Iraq, millions in Africa live in fear of Boko Haram and Al-Shaabab, Afghanistan looks like it will return to Taliban control, Iran will soon have nuclear weapons, and Turkey, with the second largest army in NATO, appears to have more sympathy for radical Islam than for its NATO allies.
America, the sleeping giant, may yet wake up again, but even if it does, it’s not at all clear that it’s up to the task of combating the ideology that fuels the fighting. The war with Islamic militants is both an armed conflict and a culture war. Some of the militants fight with machine guns and mortars, and some fight using weapons of propaganda and political intimidation. But the most powerful weapon that the jihadists wield is religion. The promises made by Islam to young warriors bring in the recruits, and the fact that Islam is a religion keeps the critics away. Islamic ideology is immune from criticism in a way that Nazism and Communism never were.
The other sleeping giant
And that is where the other sleeping giant comes in. I refer, of course, to the Catholic Church.