The Corner

Hey Andy

That’s powerful stuff.

A couple of points. Lots of Iraqis are secular. Lots aren’t. That’s why there has to be a compromise, and one that might not be entirely palatable to Western liberals like ourselves.

If you think Iraq not fully respecting women’s rights or recognizing Islam as a source of its laws (what we seem to be talking about in Iraq at the moment–although on this stuff we may be talking past each other a bit) in any way endangers our security, I’m confused about who you think the enemy is.

If you go around the Islamic world knocking over regimes and not giving Muslims a significant say in how they are going to govern their affairs (especially on family matters), your enemy will not just be militant Islam but Islam as such. In Iraqi terms, your enemy won’t just be Zarqawi, but Sistani. There is no way you will win that war (and it’s the wrong enemy in any case).

Finally, you are going to need allies in this ideological struggle against militant Islam. In fact, it is impossible for you to win it without allies, since your (and our) credibility to make big pronouncements about Islam for the consumption of Muslims is very low. You need clerics, many of whom aren’t going to share our advanced social views. I wish it were different. Alas, it’s not

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