Victor Davis Hanson has something of a cottage industry in his exposition of the superiority of the “Western way of war,” and the concurrent proposition that a democratic people once aroused will seek (and generally achieve) annihilation of the foe. There is much to recommend his thesis — but in the absence of the very capacity for moral provocation within a democratic people, it tells us little about our present state. The lesson of our failure to win in this half-decade of war, of which the Israeli failure against Hezbollah is merely the latest example, is that that capacity, if not wholly gone, is severely crippled.
In warring with a religion, decades of secularism have left us utterly disarmed. We are trained to think of faith as either irrelevant or benign: and when it is undeniably malign, we ascribe its malignancy to “fundamentalism,” which is (in direct negation of the meaning of the word) somehow separable or diversionary from the fundamentals of the faith in question. See Andrew Sullivan for a shining example of this self-contradictory foolishness; or worse, see the President of the United States on Islam.