Friday, April 22, 2005

Lessons of the War on Terror

In today's column for National Review Online, Dr. Victor Davis Hanson analyzes the lessons of the last three and a half years:

If we look back at the war that started on September 11, there have emerged some general rules that should guide us in the next treacherous round of the struggle against Islamic fascism, the autocracies that aid and abet it, and the method of terror that characterizes it.

The following passage, in particular, is dead on:

Ever since the departure of the colonials, the United States, due to its power and principled support for democratic Israel, has served a Middle Eastern psychological need to account for its own self-created impotence and misery, a pathology abetted by our own past realpolitik and nurtured by the very autocrats that we sought to accommodate.

After all these years, do not expect praise or gratitude for billions poured into Iraq, Egypt, Jordan, or Palestine or thanks for the liberation of Kuwait, protection of Saudi Arabia in 1990, or the removal of Saddam — much less for American concern for Muslims in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Somalia, the Sudan, or Afghanistan. Our past sins always must be magnified as much as our more recent benefactions are slighted.

In response, American policy should be predicated not on friendship or the desire for appreciation, but on what is in our national interest and what is right — whose symbiosis is possible only through the current policy of consistently promoting democracy. Constitutional government is not utopia — only the proper antidote for the sickness in the Middle East, and the one medicine that hateful jihadists, dictators, kings, terrorists, and theocrats all agree that they alike hate.

Please read it all:

Winning the War


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