December 5, 2006

Iraq, Iran and Realism

Don't miss these three recent articles concerning the conflict in Iraq, the recommendations of the Iraq Study Group and the concept of "realism" they promote, and the increasingly unspoken notion that we should commit to winning the war before we leave.

This excerpt is from an Andy McCarthy piece from last week:

In the wake of 9/11, the American people did not care about democratizing the Muslim world. Or, for that matter, about the Muslim world in general. They still don’t. They want Islamic terrorists and their state sponsors crushed. As for the aftermath, they want something stable that no longer threatens our interests; they care not a wit whether Baghdad’s new government looks like Teaneck’s.

To the contrary, Bush-administration officials — notwithstanding goo-gobs of evidence that terrorists have used the freedoms of Western democracies, including our own, the better to plot mass murder — have conned themselves into believing that democracy, not decisive force, is the key to conquering this enemy.

So deeply have they gulped the Kool-Aid that, to this day, they refuse to acknowledge what is plain to see: While only a small number of the world’s billion-plus Muslims (though a far larger number than we’d like to believe) is willing to commit acts of terrorism, a substantial percentage — meaning tens of millions — supports the terrorists’ anti-West, anti-democratic agenda.

Islamic countries, moreover, are not rejecting Western democracy because they haven’t experienced it. They reject it on principle. For them, the president’s euphonious rhetoric about democratic empowerment is offensive. They believe, sincerely, that authority to rule comes not from the people but from Allah; that there is no separation of religion and politics; that free people do not have authority to legislate contrary to Islamic law; that Muslims are superior to non-Muslims, and men to women; and that violent jihad is a duty whenever Muslims deem themselves under attack … no matter how speciously.

These people are not morons. They adhere to a highly developed belief system that is centuries old, wildly successful, and for which many are willing to die. They haven’t refused to democratize because the Federalist Papers are not yet out in Arabic. They decline because their leaders have freely chosen to decline. They see us as the mortal enemy of the life they believe Allah commands. Their demurral is wrong, but it is principled, not ignorant. And we insult them by suggesting otherwise.

See also:

Today's op-ed says "realism" sometimes just means common sense. We've tried "engagement" with Iran for 27 years, with nothing to show for it but black eyes and bluster.

John Podhoretz at the NY Post says only winning wars wins wars, or something like that.

Make that four articles. I'm including this essay by Martin Beck Matustik on the chances of a "Velvet Revolution" in Iran, even though it's a bit off topic.

Posted by dan at December 5, 2006 11:41 AM