| Mr. Pappas, |
I don't know where to begin. You made so many valid points that I would be hard pressed to pick any single point as the most important. There was one line in your article that I believe captures the overall spirit of the more 'rabid' Bush haters, it reads:
The very idea of acting in our self-interest – which is the right moral motivation – is anathema to the Left and suspect to many others.
You also made a statement that I believe capture’s an underlying and unspoken reality of the Iraq invasion, it reads:
Even the positioning of our military on this particular sand dune by taking out the local tyrant puts us in the center of evil: Iran, Saudi Arabia and Syria.
In many ways the liberation of Iraq was far more of a strategic decision than a political one. But, it is no longer possible in our society to overthrow a tyrant for purely "strategic" reasons. And the rationales given begin to take on the distorted shape that they often do. That Iraq was a threat to our nations interest and security is a given. That Iraq was not the main threat is also true. What is lost in all this are the strategic options that become available by having Iraq as a base of operations, and the grand-strategic goals that our being sought.
One often hears the President speak of how a “free democratic Iraq in the heart of the middle-east would be a terrible blow to the terrorist”. The implication is that the example of such an Iraq may have the indirect result of fostering anti-theocratic/totalitarian sentiment in her neighbors. One can argue the degree to which this may be true, but one cannot argue the logic of it. In a grand-strategic sense it is the equivalent of placing states like Iran and Syria on the defensive; a defensive position from their own populace. A democratic Iraq works as an undermining influence on their neighbors.
Even the most modest of reforms in a nation like Iran can result in devastating consequences to theocrats and terrorist. We are not speaking here of Iran suddenly becoming a western style democracy. But if an Iran even began to slightly approach a transitional stage towards a system such as the one that exist in Turkey or even Egypt, it would be a great leap in the right direction, and a terrible blow to international terrorism.
The war on terror is not simply a military war, but a social-political one as well. Some nations will have to be taken by outright seizure, others by stealth, and others by a slow process of demoralization; most by a combination of all 3. In many ways this war mirrors the Cold War to a far greater degree than many assume.
Bush is often derided as having approached this war with an out of date “Cold-War” method. That derision stems primarily from the fact that the Cold War was a generational war fought on innumerable fronts, with a myriad of tactics. His opposition would like to treat it a ‘criminal’ problem, and on a case-by-case basis.
The overwhelming hatred and negative response of most of the world’s governments towards us is more than understandable. In a world filled with vicious little tyrannies, an America that has rededicated itself in its role as the spreader of freedom and hope is a thing that frightens them.
Once Communism fell, but prior to the 9-11 attacks, America had basically abdicated that role. The evil empire was gone, and the vicious little tyrannies were seen as relics that would fade away in time. If there is a ‘sin’ for which America is guilty, it was for that assumption. Unopposed and unfettered, those vicious little tyrannies evolved into a tremendous threat to our civilization. 9-11 was the culmination of what occurs when “good men do nothing”.
Ayn Rand once said that she liked the phrase ‘God Bless America’, not in any religious manner, but in the sense of the sentiment that lay behind the use of that phrase. So I will end this overly long response to your article by conveying those same sentiments. Thanks for your article Jason. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. .
(Edited by George W. Cordero on 10/26, 1:44am)