Hindrocket of Powerline, who has done yeoman’s work in destroying both the Kerry campaign and the Star and Sickle, isn’t quite as effective in defending the President. He quotes the President’s comments after the infamous pronoun:
I know if steadfast, strong and resolute — and I say those words very seriously — it’s less likely that your kids are going to live under the threat of al-Qaida for a long period of time. I can’t tell you. I don’t have any … definite end. But I tell you this, when we succeed in Iraq and Afghanistan, it’s the beginning of the end for these extremists. Because freedom is going to have a powerful influence to make sure your kids can grow up in a peaceful world. If we believe, for example, that you can’t win, and the alternative is to retreat … I think that would be a disaster for your children.
So, the President is not actually saying that the war is unwinnable, only that it can’t be won in what will have been a total of seven years – almost twice as long as WWII – and that even success in Iraq and Afghanistan would only be the beginning of the end. So, what, figure at least another seven years? Furthermore, he also has no concept of how the war will or even could end. Given that the Israelis have not managed to end their miniature version of hunt-the-terrorist in 30+ years, this statement offers no indication that the President actually believes his imitation of the Israeli two-step will work either.
Nor should it. The grand fallacy in which the nation-builders are trapped is that a simple exposure to Western culture is enough to instill individuals with it. Culture is the product of centuries, not years, and as long as there are Islamic clerics willing to stand openly opposed to Western culture, there will be jihadists willing to strike. The previous victories against the jihad, in the Reconquista and the Crusades, involved crushing and humiliating Muslims, not winning them over. It is a tribute to the strength and spirit of Muslims that they are not easily swayed or conquered. But history shows that it can be done.
The basic problem is that Islam is not only a religion, it is a trans-national state. It has a law, a judiciary and, quite clearly, an army that Daniel Pipes estimates at 100 million. The idea that the war cannot be won because terrorists can’t be found is silly. Wars aren’t won by killing enemy soldiers, they are won by taking the strategic centers, and the strategic centers of Islam are not to be found in Iraq. The truth is that George Bush and company want war without commitment so they have settled for quasi-war without end or disruption to the economy. That is why they won’t win it.
Our leadership has two legitimate choices. Leave them alone – which also means not allowing them footholds in the West – or a total clash of civilizations. Islam had nothing against the United States for most of its existence; the “they hate our freedom” line is monstrously absurd. They have their eyes on Israel and the Islamic lands lost in Western Europe, not the USA. As long as the President and his men try to split the difference, they will be as unsuccessful as we would have been by trying to defeat Nazi Germany by occupying Schleswig-Holstein. As they are not stupid, they realize it as well, but they also know that it would be political suicide to speak the truth.