June 20, 2003

VDH - Lessons Learned

Victor Davis Hanson is on the money, as usual. He laments the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" mentality of critics of U.S. involvement in both Afghanistan and Iraq:

Americans cannot be blamed for their exasperation.....

...The answer to this dilemma is to accept that whatever we do, we shall be blamed for either too little or too much attention. Such are the inevitable wages of envy and resentment that the successful always earn from the weak and failed....

...we must press ahead, contain our anger, and try to finish the nearly impossible — and absolutely thankless — task of defeating terrorists, and in Afghanistan and Iraq restoring humane government to tyrannized people.

......The Middle East is not static and will not cease its anti-Americanism if left to its own good graces — inasmuch as the conditions that promote terror do not derive from American provocation, but arise out of indigenous pathologies.

As for the theocrats, VDH says they want it both ways; denouncing Western modernity while arranging terrorist attacks by cell phone and Internet. In other words, "walk the walk". Another excerpt:

Second, neither is the Islamic world isolationist. Arabs and Near Eastern Muslims in the millions are desperate to emigrate to the United States and Europe. Fundamentalist clerics, mullahs, and theocrats are free to live within the confines of the Koran and in medieval bliss without their cell phones, antibiotics, glasses, televisions — and sophisticated weapons — that are either imported or indigenously produced on borrowed Western designs. But they do not — and will not.

So the problem is with their hypocritical and vocal leadership, not us — specifically their ambiguous relationship with the West and their creepy desire for Western material comforts, but not the underlying foundations of secularism, gender equity, consensual government, freedom, capitalism, and transparency that alone produce such prosperity. The best way to get America and the West out of millions of Islamic lives is not to burn effigies of George Bush in the Arab Street, but would be for Arab governments to prohibit immigration to the West, to stop importing Western material goods, and to bar decadent Westerners from entering Arab countries.

Any takers? The bitter truth is that the Middle East wants the West far more than the West the Middle East.

I could "excerpt" the whole thing. Just go read it all.

Posted by dan at June 20, 2003 3:23 PM