Radical Islam’s mission is clear: destroy America.

It doesn't matter to the terrorists if they succeed in 2010 or 2110, as long as they ultimately triumph.

Northwest flight 253’s Christmas day terrorist attack is the latest wake-up call in an all-out war on America by radical Islam.

We are living at a time when we witnessed the birth of radical Islam with the attacks on America on September 11. Although radical Islamists acted out against American assets prior to 9/11 with the bombing of the USS Cole, the Nigeria embassy and others, the attack on our homeland -- in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania, was the defining moment in a war that we may be fighting for generations to come.

Whether the enemy attacks through a “lone wolf” operative, “sleeper cells” in the United States, organized foreign operatives, or even via an Islamic nation state -- there is no doubt we will be attacked again. We must accept this fact. The only unanswered question, now, is how severe the attacks will be and how much will they change us as a nation and a people.

I believe America has to operate on the principle that “if you hit us with a rock, we will shoot you with a gun.” -- That is to say that we will fight back with overwhelming force in response to any attack. We will not retaliate with “like force.” We also must reserve the right to attack our enemies before they have the ability to attack us.

We must use every lawful tool available to us to prevent further attacks on our homeland and our foreign assets. We should hone our own security procedures and laws everyday to keep up with the latest and most effective methods of deterrence and prevention. We must also work closer than ever with our allies to share and gather intelligence and to provide resources as needed.

The world has a choice to make: will non-Islamic nations surrender to radical extremists or will we fight back and destroy them?

It seems that the free world had the same choice to make regarding the rise of Nazi Germany during the last century. Sadly, the world chose to ignore the gathering threat of Nazism until it was too late to stop it. As a result, 60 million were killed, millions more were injured, and entire economies were destroyed in World War II.

It has been said before and I firmly believe it today that unless we learn from history, we will be condemned to repeat it.

What is clear is that radical Islam is an ongoing movement that has yet to run its historical course, unlike the Nazis who have been swept into the dustbin of history.

With the menacing rise of radical Islam -- and an Iran that seeks the destruction of the State of Israel and the United States and is building the instrumentalities, i.e. nuclear weapons to make good on their threats -- I believe it is necessary to revisit the rise of Nazism. We must understand how it was possible for the Nazis to come to power and the methods they used to achieve many of their goals.

To better understand our current enemy I suggest Americans read two important books that will put into perspective the threat we now are facing through the rise of a threat we eventually defeated, albeit much too late, in World War II:

1. “The Coming of the Third Reich” by Richard J. Evans. Mr. Evans is recognized around the world as a first rate historian. He takes the reader through a thorough and complete historic and factual understanding of the rise of Nazi Germany. He sets forth in great detail the methods behind the madness that led to the Nazis’ rise to power and that came to have such a profound impact on world history then, now and forever;

2. “While Europe Slept: How Radical Islam is Destroying the West from Within” by Bruce Bawer. Mr. Bawer believes, as I do, that unless we learn from history, history will be repeated. Europe in the 1930s ignored the gathering threat of Nazi Germany. Europe chose appeasement and negotiation instead of relying on principle and strength. Europe could have stopped Hitler. They let Germany amass weapons and build an army, navy and air force. Germany became so powerful that collectively Europe could not prevent an inevitable war.
Bawer sounds the alarm about an equally gathering and dangerous threat to the world with the rise of radical Islam. Mr. Bawer’s book chronicles first hand accounts, insightful analysis and powerful and thoughtful arguments with regard to the rise of radical Islam.

I believe that as insidious as the threat of Nazi Germany was to the world the threat from radical Islam is infinitely greater by comparison.

Radical Islam is based on a religious dogma that respects no law except the terrorists’ perverse belief in what is “God’s will” that they carry out their destructive attacks. Many who fight in the name of Islam do not fight in uniforms or for any one nation state. Those who do fight as nation states do so as third parties, arming and financing others for the time being to do their dirty work. There will come a time when that will change. The time will come when they believe they have the instrumentalities to act in their own behalf and in concert with others.

What choices will we ultimately make with regard to the gathering threat of radical Islam? Will we learn from history or repeat it?

Bradley A. Blakeman served as deputy assistant to President George W. Bush from 2001 -04. He is currently a professor of Politics and Public Policy at Georgetown University. He is a frequent contributor to the Fox Forum.