November 6, 2005

Along with the previous...

Here's another bit from the same Mark Steyn piece I mentioned yesterday, Wake up, Europe, you've a war on your hands..

....A few years back I was criticized for a throwaway observation to the effect that ''I find it easier to be optimistic about the futures of Iraq and Pakistan than, say, Holland or Denmark." But this is why. In defiance of traditional immigration patterns, these young men [the rioters in France and Denmark] are less assimilated than their grandparents. French cynics like the prime minister, Dominique de Villepin, have spent the last two years scoffing at the Bush Doctrine: Why, everyone knows Islam and democracy are incompatible. If so, that's less a problem for Iraq or Afghanistan than for France and Belgium....

What we are actually seeing in Iraq or Afghanistan is that democracy is compatible with any culture that is willing to pay the price. And the price is the willingness to fight for freedom. Those pictures of grinning people with purple fingers were pictures of people, millions of people, who have risked death for democracy, for the chance to vote. The exhilaration one must feel, having faced death, and lived...We can't even imagine.

I think that if we were going to devise a way to make democracy take firm root in Iraq or Afghanistan, the best thing we could have done would have been to invent the insurgencies, supposing they didn't exist. I don't agree with those who claim that the Iraqi insurgency was the result of American mistakes, but if it was we accidentally gave Iraqi democracy the best launch it could have. And Iraq's future is more worth feeling optimistic about than those of Holland or Denmark precisely because Iraqis are shedding blood for the privilege of voting, while Holland or Denmark had it handed to them gratis by the Allied armies in 1945.

Posted by John Weidner at November 6, 2005 2:47 PM
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