Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Quote du Jour

Brendan Miniter on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page today regarding what he sees as an impasse in the War on Terror:

The real danger here is that such debates [over terrorism-related legislation] will exhaust all of us, sapping the energy we need to fight a long and broad-based war. Heretofore Muslim extremists have been somewhat haphazard in their operations and seemingly conduct their attacks in an ad hoc fashion. A bombing campaign that includes targets in Bali, Kenya, Pakistan, Spain, Tanzania and Yemen, among other places, in the space of just a few years seems more random and desperate than focused and disciplined.

Al Qaeda isn't the Soviet Union, so it's tempting to assume that the West isn't now facing a coherent, though evil, ideology with broad appeal. But that will be a safe assumption only if Mr. Bush and his successors are allowed to win this war. For the next few years, perhaps even a couple of decades, the U.S. has an opportunity to ensure that terrorists will remain on the fringe of society. That opportunity will be lost, however, if the Muslim world is left to languish under the thumb of dictators who, in part, are kept in power with Western money. If millions of Muslims are locked out of the modern world, it is only a matter of time before there is a popular revolt against modernity. Osama bin Laden is the tip of that spear, and he once hoped to lead that revolt across international borders.

This war will not last forever, and it is a war we are winning by spreading our ideas while confronting terrorists where we find them. Elections in Afghanistan and Iraq are milestones along the path to the modern world for 50 million Muslims. As they leave behind their oppression, we gain a bulwark against the ideology of terror. Self-doubt now is self-defeating.

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