Thursday, January 22, 2004

Thomas L. Friedman: War of Ideas, Part 5:

Friedman knows what he is talking about, when it comes to the crisis in the Muslim World. You can find all parts here, but a google search for the titles should get around buying them.

The final article is about an alternative to Bush's actions, not in principle, but in precision. Friedman claims that we didn't make a smooth transition in Iraq from Saddam to Jefferson. I think it is about as good as can be expected, and a 'smooth transition' is a pipe-dream because things can always be better.

The important points he makes are exactly what is lost on the minority of Americans that don't see the big picture in America's current foreign policy:

"First, this notion, put forward by Mr. Dean and Al Gore, that the war in Iraq has diverted us from the real war on 'terrorists' is just wrong. There is no war on 'terrorism' that does not address the misgovernance and pervasive sense of humiliation in the Muslim world. Sure, Al Qaeda and Saddam pose different threats, Mr. Marshall notes, 'but they emerge from the same pathology of widespread repression, economic stagnation and fear of cultural decline.' Building a decent Iraq is very much part of the war on terrorism.

Second, sometimes smashing someone in the face is necessary to signal others that they will be held accountable for the intolerance they incubate. Removing the Taliban and Saddam sent that message to every government in the area.

Third, the Iraq war may have created more hatred of the U.S., but it has also triggered a hugely important dialogue among Arabs and Muslims about the necessity of reform."

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