June 24, 2006

How many Moslems are there in India?

Dave T posted a question at this previous post, when I mentioned restrictions on civil liberties ending "when the danger has passed" in previous wars. He asks: When will the danger pass in this so-called war?

Good question! And RJ is always the place to go, for more of an answer than any sensible person would want.

Obviously there will be no Armistice, no signing of papers on the Battleship Missouri. We are in the realm of "fuzzy logic" and fuzzy boundaries, but that should not daunt us. I suspect the ability to judge those to a nicety is part of our evolutionary heritage. skills learned from assessing the situation on the savannah. For instance, we urbanites are twitchily sensitive to crime. We will walk along one block, but not the next--it doesn't feel right. And when crime is reduced, as was done amazingly in New York City under Mayor Giuliani, you read stories about how people are returning to this place or that, or riding the subway later at night...

It's the same with terrorism in Israel. The building of the wall has brought new life and prosperity to various places. People know. They go to their favorite pizza joint not because they think the danger is zero, but because they instinctively calculate that it is now too low to justify missing out on the pleasures of life.

We are making the same calculations right now about the WOT. The loony left probably imagines that conservatives are salivating over the prospect of endless war. But in fact responsible conservative opinion seems to be agreeing that we are a good way along, and maybe even at the halfway point. For instance we have uncovered several ugly bomb plots lately. That says there is still danger. But, the plots are much less impressive in skill and organization than earlier ones. Plus there's the simple fact that we have uncovered them, and also that the successful bombings since 9/11 have not been nearly as deadly as many had feared. I'd say that when we go 2 years with no new serious plots uncovered, we will all start to agree that it looks like the war is ending. And democracy itself is an extremely efficient mechanism for turning millions of people's thoughts and hunches into conclusions.

Our efforts to find terrorists hiding within peaceable countries is one front of the war...

There are two other "fronts," on both of which we have made substantial and fairly measurable progress. First, the roots of most of the terrorism are found in the despotism and hopelessness that exist in many Moslem countries. When people don't have personal opportunities, and can't vote out bad leaders, this combines with certain other frustrations common in the Moslem world into a dangerous brew. It is easy to assess this by asking: How many Moslems are there in India? (about 130 mil.) And how many have joined al Qaeda? None that I've heard of.

Hence the second front, the Administration's push for democracy and better government in the ME. It's not only a good thing, it is an effective war weapon. (Unfortunately our efforts have been sabotaged and undercut by people who claim to want "peace," and many a brutal murdering tyrant is digging in his heels and "waiting Bush out," hoping for his friends to gain the White House.)

But none the less, we are making clear progress. It is important to remember that, in its capacity as a weapon, democratization does not have to work very well. It doesn't have to be like New Hampshire town meetings. Even if the political battles get murderous, they still mean that the focus is internal and political. Even with the violence in certain parts of Iraq, we don't hear of Iraqis heading off to terrorist training camps or madrassas elsewhere. They are focused on their own political scene. And thanks to our friends at al Jazeera, the whole Arab world is watching. This movement isn't going to stop.

The third front is the terror-supporting countries. Here again, we are obviously making steady progress, and the idea that we are faced with endless war is puerile. Libya, and for the most part Afghanistan are out of the game, Saudi Arabia is cracking down, Pakistan is still a mess, but, increasingly, fighting with itself rather than easily exporting terror. (And we are learning much more now about Saddam's support of terrorists, and we now know that chopping him was a bigger victory than we realized.) The big question mark is IRAN (!) which is and long has been the #1 terror-supporting country. Until there is regime-change in Iran, the war can't be ended.

Iran is the clear and obvious next move in the game. And has been so from the beginning (remember "Axis of Evil?") The fall of the Mullahs would be a huge step towards peace, and if it happens we will probably start talking about "mopping up." But any move the administration makes will require political capital. Unfortunately, the President's political enemies are not supporting their country in time of war (although Republicans supported them loyally when they got us into conflicts that make this one look like a little girls tea-party.) SO, what does this political impasse mean? It means that the war will probably drag along for a lot longer than necessary.

Or maybe not. My guess is that Bush will act against Iran. Probably after the next elections. He's a man. And not the sort to kick such a can along to the next administration. The peaceniks will, as always, do their best for war and tyranny, but they've lost too much credibility by their deranged anti-Americanism and transparent partisanship masked with phony peace sentiments.

My guess: Iran neutralized by 2008, the conflict by 2011 reduced to a level of "background noise" that we will all, by common consent, no longer call war.

Posted by John Weidner at June 24, 2006 3:04 PM
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