The Corner

Different Worlds

I’m sorry to do this, but the comparison of Sheik Yassin to Jesus just begs for a wider audience. Maybe it’s because I just sent off my syndicated column on how the foreign policy debate has been taken over by the culture war and Americans just see the same facts from wildly different perspectives. Anyway, from a reader:

Dear Jonah,

I could just say that you are full of sh*t, but maybe I ought to explain why. To suggest (no, to claim) that if we can create a democracy in Iraq that will eliminate the reason people in that region support terrorism against us is completely absurd. Did not the Irish in democratic America support the IRA terrorists? Do not the Jews in democratic America (not to mention a lot of non-Jews) support the thuggish tactics of Ariel Sharon (I mean, assassinating the leader of Hamas – that is almost like killing Jesus Christ.) Those people will hate us and rejoice anew when we are attacked by terrorists whether they have a democratic form of government or not. And they will have their hands out for our aid at the same time. I fear that Ann Coulter and her knee-jerk reaction after 9/11 was closer to the truth. It’s hearts and minds all over again. It won’t work, and a lot of blood and money will go down the Middle East rat hole before the rest of America wakes up to what is going on.

Not that we shouldn’t defend ourselves, and not that we shouldn’t strike elsewhere if the need should arise (say, in North Korea or Iran, not to mention Pakistan). But trying to make people like us by democratizing them – forget it. The time for such action came and went, if it ever truly existed, in the post-WWI period. We cannot eliminate the legacy we have created, we just have to learn to make the best of it, like we did during the Cold War. I grew up with the threat of a nuclear holocaust, and my kids will grow up with the threat of terrorism, it is that simple. Hopefully, in the long run, those who now hate us will see that they are wrong. I know you would say that what Bush is doing now will hasten that day. But as I said, well, I guess saying it once was enough.

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