It would have been wonderful if half the country could have seen the danger posed by radical Islam and had been shoulder to shoulder with those of us who do. But they didn't and they weren't. With all the criticism that's been leveled by the Democrats, it's gratifying to see it when one does "see it all clearly." Here's the column The Only Issue This Election Day, by Orson Scott Carr, that's gotten a lot of attention from conservative circles. I'm sure that Carr, like Joe Leibermann or Zell Miller, will receive a lot of heat from the left for daring to contravene Democratic dogma. Please read all twelve pages.
Some of Carr's points bear repeating even here at the Elephant Bar:
...there are several excellent reasons why "War on Terror" is the only possible name for this war.
1. This is not a war that can be named for any particular nation or region. To call it "The Iraq War" or the "Afghanistan War" would lead to the horrible mistake of thinking that victory would consist of toppling certain governments and then going home.
In fact, it is precisely the name "War in Iraq" that is leading to the deep misconceptions that drive the Democratic position on the war. If this were in fact a war on Iraq, then in one sense we won precisely when President Bush declared victory right after we occupied Baghdad. And in another sense, we might not see victory for another five years, or even a decade -- a decade in which Americans will be dying alongside Iraqis. For a "War in Iraq" to linger this way is almost too painful to contemplate.
But we are not waging a "War in Iraq." We are waging a world war, in which the campaigns to topple the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan were brilliantly successful, and the current "lukewarm" war demands great patience and determination from the American people as we ready ourselves for the next phase.
2. We cannot name this war for our actual enemies, either, because there is no way to name them accurately without including some form of the word "Islam" or "Muslim."
It is our enemies who want to identify this as a war between Islam and the West. If we allow this to happen, we run the risk of achieving the worst of all possible outcomes: The unification of one or both of the great factions of worldwide Islam under a single banner.
President Bush and his administration have shown their grasp of our present danger by stoutly resisting all attempts to rename this war. We call it a "War on Terror" because that allows us to cast it, not as a war against the Muslim people, with all their frustrations and hopes, but a war in which most Muslims are not our enemies at all.
That can be galling for many Americans. When, after the fall of the towers on 9/11, Palestinians and others poured into the streets, rejoicing, it was tempting to say, A plague on all of them!
But it is precisely those people -- the common people of the Muslim world, most of whom hate us (or claim to hate us, when asked by pollsters in police states) -- whom we must treat as if they were not our enemies. They are the ones we must win over for us to have any hope of victory without a bloodbath poured out on most of the nations of the world.
As bad as the situation seems right now. Imagine what it would be like if we had declared "War on Islam" and attempted to level the middle east.
On the question of whether we can win in Iraq, Carr writes:
That is certainly not what most who call for withdrawal intend. They see Americans dying and they have no hope of victory. The Iraq War (as they call it) is costing lives and shows no sign of ending. Meanwhile, Iran is getting nuclear weapons, North Korea already has them, Syria and Iran are sponsoring continuing and escalating attacks on Israel -- how can we possibly "win" a war that threatens constantly to widen? Let's cut our losses, retire to our shores, and ...
And will you please stop and think for a moment?
There is no withdrawal to our shores. American prosperity requires free trade throughout most of the world. Free trade has depended for decades on American might. If we withdraw now, we announce to the world that if you just kill enough Americans, the big boys will go home and let you do whatever you want.
Every American in the world then becomes a target. And, because we have announced that we will do nothing to protect them, we will soon be trading only with nations that have enough strength to protect their own shores and borders.
Character is revealed during times of adversity. Unfortunately, it seems that after having faced only a small amount of adversity, the character of our country has been revealed as less than admirable. That's not to say that we can't redeem ourselves but if we continue to engage in the internecine politics and the finger pointing recriminations, we lessen the opportunities to move forward. I don't have any great hopes that the left will experience a "road to Damascus" epiphany but those on the right must close ranks, form up lines and advance.
It's time to move forward or die in your holes...