Monday, March 14, 2005

Dealing With the Dysfunctional Village

VDH has an excellent article on the war so far. I especially like his support for the idea that adding troops to Iraq was always a bad idea--a position that I have advanced for a year and a half in what seemed like a lonely outpost but for occasional support from the likes of VDH.

It has far too much to try to summarize so just read it.

But I would like to highlight one part:

However dire were the threats of the autocracies of the Taliban and Saddam Hussein, and despite their long-proven record of harboring terrorists of all sorts, the administration always talked in a larger strategic context of freedom and democracy in the Middle East. Thus rather than seeing the events that led to September 11 in a narrow frame of bin Laden alone, strategists rightly diagnosed the pathology of something far more insidious and of a much longer pedigree: a deep-seated anti-Americanism that transcended September 11 and was explicable in terms of who were, rather than what we did. We ignored, in other words, Bill Clinton's post 9/11 apologies for everything from slavery to General Sherman and his most recent praise of the murderous Iranian mullahcracy, as well as cheap shots like "taking our eye off bin Laden."

The Left likes to say we are insufficiently complex in our thinking about the world when it is the Left that is simplisme. In thinking that this war is about a mass murder and getting one man--Osama bin Laden--they betray a lack of understanding about the root causes of this fight.

The US has correctly seen that it takes a village to raise a suicide hijacker and we are out to save the village from itself by giving them the opportunity to embrace freedom. We aren't going to apologize to the village for imagined sins.

We can't impose freedom but we sure can support it. Our strategy includes a robust military component but it is not blind fury lashing out at enemies. We seek freedom in the Islamic world that lets them take responsibility for their own societies without the luxury of blaming--and killing--others for their failings. We will help them succeed instead.

The village that has allowed its youngsters to go forth on jihad had best take this opportunity to create a better village, because we have another village lesson we can apply if we really have to:

We can destroy the village in order to save us.
I want to fix the village. But one way or the other, I insist that we save ourselves.