I thought the audience was frustrated and baffled. For once, I think it was poorly structured. Instead of starting with Iraq, and then building on that to address the broader theme — which I really believe he should call “Democratic Revolution in the Muslim World” — he flitted back and forth, thereby losing dramatic power. I think the proper conclusion of the speech was a call to the Islamic peoples to join with us in the great adventure of liberty, and to reject those within their own ranks who support tyranny.
I was disappointed that Iran never got a mention. Believe me, we will be seeing a lot of Iranian-guided killers in Iraq.
The language on the stereotyping of Islam was terrific. Islam was once at the pinnacle of civilization, and so we know that Muslims are capable of self-government as well as truly great cultural and scientific accomplishments. They have fallen — Bernard Lewis’s title says it all, What Went Wrong — and Osama and the mullahs say they fell because they strayed from “fundamentalism.” But we say they fell because they failed to embrace freedom. That is the real clash of civilizations here.
— Michael Ledeen, an NRO contributing editor, is most recently the author of The War Against the Terror Masters. Ledeen, Resident Scholar in the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute, can be reached through Benador Associates.