Thursday, May 26, 2005

The Future is Not Nuts

After three and a half years of waging war against Islamist nutballs, youd' think the Moslem or Arab street would be reacting badly by now. But as Steyn writes:

As for the wackiness of Muslim fanatics, well, up to a point. But, you know, we've been told ever since 9/11 that the allegedly seething ''Muslim street'' was about to explode, and for four years it's remained as somnolent as a suburban cul-de-sac on a weekday afternoon. Invade their countries, topple their rulers, bomb their infrastructure from the first day of Ramadan to the last, arrest their terrorists, hold them at Gitmo for half a decade, initiate reforms setting the Arab world on the first rung of the ladder to political and economic liberty, and the seething Muslim street gives one almighty shrug.

In October 2001 Faizal Aqtub Siddiqi, president-general of the International Muslims Organization, warned that the bombing of Afghanistan would create 1,000 Osama bin Ladens. In April 2003, Egypt's President Mubarak warned that the bombing of Iraq would create 100 bin Ladens. So right there you got a 90 percent reduction in the bin Laden creation program -- just by bombing a second country! Despite the best efforts to rouse the Muslim street, its attitude has remained: Start the jihad without me. The short history of the last four years is: They're nuts but not that nuts.

Indeed, far from rising up and making the streets run with infidel blood, the Moslem world is turning against Islamist nutballs:

To venture into the Arab world, as I did recently over four weeks in Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan and Iraq, is to travel into Bush Country. I was to encounter people from practically all Arab lands, to listen in on a great debate about the possibility of freedom and liberty. I met Lebanese giddy with the Cedar Revolution that liberated their country from the Syrian prison that had seemed an unalterable curse. They were under no illusions about the change that had come their way. They knew that this new history was the gift of an American president who had put the Syrian rulers on notice. The speed with which Syria quit Lebanon was astonishing, a race to the border to forestall an American strike that the regime could not discount. I met Syrians in the know who admitted that the fear of American power, and the example of American forces flushing Saddam Hussein out of his spider hole, now drive Syrian policy. They hang on George Bush's words in Damascus, I was told: the rulers wondering if Iraq was a crystal ball in which they could glimpse their future.

This is what our Iraq War and our commitment to democracy is inspiring. We have a long struggle ahead of us, but the Arab and Moslem street will increasingly be a force on our side.

And as we make more progress, let the opponents of our fight argue that we should turn Iraq back to Saddam, Afghansitan back to the Taliban, and Lebanon back to the Syrians.

And there will be more to come. As long as we keep pushing for more. It isn't a coincidence that progress is coming now, after we focused our power on changing the corrupt status quo that led to planes slamming into the Pentagon, the World Trade Center, and a field in Pennsylvania.