Victor Davis Hanson, writing here for National Review Online.
I'm a big fan of things that work. Water does indeed flow downhill, and no amount of good intentions or wishful thinking on the part of a client, contractor, or politician will ever change that fact.
That the work necessary to bring democracy to the mideast (and where ever else fundamentalist Islam has taken root) is messy, expensive, and time consuming is no basis for ignoring the vital need to see it through to completion.
The number one reason we are engaged in this policy of democratization is because it is in OUR best interest - not withstanding the laudable moral component of desiring to replace the failed, misognystic systems that have consigned cultures and countries to despotism and dictatorship - to end the piecemeal/mass murder of our citizens and the spread of said systems.
It's not like we haven't tried other ways, all at the expense of the people trapped on the other side of the line:
"But too often we discuss the present risky policy without thought of what preceded it or what might have substituted for it. Have we forgotten that the messy business of democracy was the successor, not the precursor, to a litany of other failed prescriptions? Or that there were never perfect solutions for a place like the Middle East awash as it is in oil, autocracy, fundamentalism, poverty, and tribalism only choices between awful and even more awful? Or that September 11 was not a sudden impulse on the part of Mohammed Atta, but the logical culmination of a long simmering pathology? Or that the present loudest critics had plenty of chances to leave something better than the mess that confronted the United States on September 12? Or that at a time of war, it is not very ethical to be sorta for, sorta against, kinda supportive, kinda critical of the mission all depending on the latest sound bite from Iraq?"
I have been immersed in work for the last month and can no longer indulge in the hours per day of news trolling.
Judging by the soundbites from MSM, I'm not missing much.
I've said it before: we can end the threat by freeing the populations that breed the killers. Or we can do it the way clashes between cultures have been decided before.
The barbarians who embrace jihad cannot compete economically, intellectually, or politically with western democracy. Without the mainspring of petrodollars the Wahabbist/Al Qaeda regions would be an infrequently traveled eco-tourist itinerary or a field of anthropological study popular with the same stripe of intellectuals who observe headhunters in New Guinea.
Some Islamic countries have nukes or sufficiently advanced medical infrastructures to put the means of mass murder within the grasp of people who routinely strap explosives to their bodies as a tactic. The same people are more than willing to steal weapons they cannot make themselves... and are, sadly enough, able to buy other weapons from willing vendors from the very countries they seek to destroy.
The enemy exploits the significant body of western political thought that refuses to view this conflict through the lens of history. We have been here before, after all.
The jihadis, given the time, will kill an obscene number of innocents in some future attack. Our response will be drawn from inventory, and the retaliation will be limited only by what limit fifty- one percent of our representative democracy wills it to be. We are still a sleeping giant and the enemy, psychotic as they are, remains as clueless about the ramifications of that fact as are any of our own useful fools.