Friday, December 31, 2004

Final Thoughts for 2004

First of all, please allow me to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this blog. When I started in June, I had no idea that anyone would actually care about what I have to say. Thanks to all of you who have visited.

2004 will be remembered as one of the most important years in the history of the 21st century. The War on Islamist Terror continued in full force. While the tide has turned decisively in our favor in Afghanistan, affairs remain in the balance in Iraq. The jihadist adversary showed its true colors, with the massacre of schoolchildren in Beslan, Russia, and the videotaped beheadings of western hostages in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Here in the US, we held what in my view was the most important presidential election since 1864. Sadly, an already tumultuous year ended on a horrific note, with the earthquake/tsunami tragedy in Southeast Asia.

Living in such times is not easy. It is little wonder that many Americans would prefer to go back to the "holiday from history" that we enjoyed during the late 1990's. Unfortunately, there are no holidays from history. For better or worse, it is the periods of chaos and conflict that define the course of human development. The present war is no exception. Either democracy, pluralism, and human rights will continue to grow and spread, or the forces of Islamist barbarism will succeed in establishing theocratic totalitarian despotisms throughout much of the Islamic world, with catastrophic consequences for all of us.


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