Americans are willing to fight for their lives – but only when they recognize that they are in mortal danger. They will fight the enemy, but only if they can look into his eyes and see the incontrovertible truth that they are about die. If they do not see hatred and murder rising in the eyes of their opponent, they will stand back and whine about "just getting along" until the bastard whips out a gun or a blade or a detonator and makes a quick end of them. The fighting spirit of America does not die, but it lies, not even dormant, but comatose within us.
But when we see that we are doomed, then we will finally awaken, and our death throes shall be great.
"Nothing in his life / became him like the leaving it; he died / as one that had been studied in his death / to throw away the dearest thing he ow'd, / as 'twere a careless trifle." Macbeth I.iv