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What are the same chances of this ever happening with Islam? Not very good at the moment. Not very good at all. The Islamic world is much larger, more diffuse, and much more deeply ingrained in a culture of violent group fanaticism. Its inhabitants are not going to give up jihad for a long, long time, if ever. Nor do they want to. In a way, the Iranians might do us a favor by developing their own atomic weapons. Then we could engage in the “mutually assured destruction” that kept the Soviets at bay for four decades. Unfortunately, given the record of Islamic fundamentalism, there is no guarantee that Iran wouldn’t drop the bomb on Israel, even if it meant their whole county would be wiped off the map in retaliation. Martyrdom is fatally woven into Islamic thought.
All this enables us to see through the current argument that invading Iraq has somehow encouraged Muslim fanaticism. The fanaticism was there long before we invaded and will be there long after we’re gone. Any culture that can get upset over cartoons needs no provocation.
Instead, we should count the enormous positive consequences of the invasion — Libya’s abandonment of terrorism, the breaking up of Pakistan’s nuclear cabal, the setback to jihadists as they are forced to fight on their own territory.
THE QUESTION, OF COURSE, IS what do we do now? The costs of becoming a permanent police force in Iraq are becoming very difficult to sustain. The U.S. Army is stretched beyond its limits and many units now being recycled back for a third tour. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is now in the crosshairs, but of course Rumsfeld’s sin — both to the Weekly Standard warriors and to portions of the military — is that he has tried to do the job with too few troops.
All this won’t really come to a head until the 2008 elections, but it is worth taking the bull by the horns now. Should we impose a draft or will that only lead to a downward Vietnam-like spiral? Should we abandon Iraq and let the Shi’ites and Sunni fight it out themselves? How do we protect the Kurds, who have been truly liberated from Saddam and are well on their way to becoming a modern people? It would seem that at some point in the next two years other Islamic countries — and maybe even the spineless UN — might perceive that they have some interest here.
All this is a task for the last two years of the Bush Administration. But let’s start by acknowledging both our accomplishments and our mistakes. We are not building a “little America” over there. Islamic culture was violent long before we arrived and will continue to be so long after we’re gone. But we have gained considerable ground in protecting America and in ensuring that we do not find ourselves surrounded by a ring of terrorist states.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?