One of President Bush’s strengths as a leader was his fearlessness in calling out right and wrong. His refusal to place modern culture’s lurch to contrived equivocation ahead of his sworn obligations to defend a nation built on clearly defined values will be his most enduring legacy. His wordsmith Mr. Gerson helped him communicate that core leadership in plain terms, and the nation was better for it.

To borrow a slur from his column about me, I have to conclude that based on Mr. Gerson’s own old “apocalyptic” rhetoric regarding the same threat, he has either changed his mind about the threat we face, or he is now appeasing the communal standards of Washington’s salons.

Mr. Gerson is too smart to have changed his mind given the fact that Islamic radicals continue to behead innocents, denigrate women, flog civilians, sacrifice children — just as they did when he was willing to speak more honestly. Too many self-styled radical Islamic groups and even strongmen in Middle Eastern nations still want to wipe Israel off the map. Too many governments in the region still pursue the world’s most dangerous weaponry. Too many Islamic militants intentionally threaten civil society in Europe’s largest cities. Mr. Gerson, a learned man, knows well that these are facts and not merely rhetoric, apocalyptic or otherwise.