The Corner

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Was that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi fell for it. Bush’s inaugural — and the massive threat these elections pose to his cause — taunted him out into the opening to declare forthrightly which side he is on. Zarqawi’s vision is a Middle Eastern version of what Orwell described a boot stamping on a human face forever. Zarqawi has proudly declared that he doesn’t believe individual Muslim’s or Arabs or Iraqis should be able to live by any idea, principle or aspiration other than the one prescribed in Zarqawi’s own pinched and bitter reading of the Koran. He can still use the language of “national liberation” but he has permanently married it to the goal of human bondage.

“We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology,” he declared in his latest tape. “Anyone who tries to help set up this system is part of it.”

Democracy may just be a means of making decisions, but it is seen across the world as system which brings decency, the rule of law, peace and hope. These are the things Zarqawi — al Qaeda’s prince in Iraq — has declared he is at war with.

Jonah Goldberg, a senior editor of National Review and the author of Suicide of the West, holds the Asness Chair in Applied Liberty at the American Enterprise Institute.

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