Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Doomed to Repeat? The History Channel has been running a series about the most savage barbarians in history: Vikings, Goths, Mongols, and Huns. These barbarians were ruthlessly jealous of the spoils of the Romans, the Chinese, and the Persians. So they attacked their civilizations to destroy them and bring them down to the barbarians' level.

The parallels between those barbarians and the terrorists we face today are uncanny. The goals of Osama Bin Laden, Al Qaeda, and other Muslim terrorists are to destroy the United States and bring down Western civilization so they can establish global rule of radical Islam. This would include the oppression of women and the persecution of the Jewish race and religion.

Truth is, Al Qaeda doesn't have any real plans for destroying the United States, other than blowing up lots of people and attempting to disrupt our economy. Mostly, members are hoping Allah will step in to do something -- possibly involving a comet. But Bin Laden is infinitely patient. If in 1,000 years the United States ceases to be the lone super power in the world, Osama Bin Laden will stare up from the 9th Circle and declare victory.

However, the Romans also thought it unthinkable that such a band of misfits could conquer Rome. They were wrong. And I don't want to sit around and see how destructive these new barbarians will get.

So instead of letting them plunder and ransack our society, let's bring democracy and prosperity to the Middle East. That can't be done through diplomacy alone. Barbarians only recognize one thing: power.

We can't win this war by simply arresting the terrorists. We need to take on the Middle East culture of despotism and desperation that breeds terrorism. We can't fret about angering Middle East dictators any longer. They don't like us, and they're supporting those who wish to wage war against us. The only way to win is to defeat them. At the very least, we must interrupt the support they give to international terrorists.

What we're doing in Iraq is brilliant. We've toppled a brutal regime, and now we're giving liberty to its people. When the transition is complete, they'll be better off than they were under the dictator's rule.

I don't expect to invade every Middle Eastern country. But using Iraq as an example shows everyone else that we mean business. The change in that region won't happen overnight. But the overthrow of Saddam Hussein combined with the continued punishment of radical Islamic terrorists will eventually convince the people not to make enemies with the United States. And as prosperity grows in Iraq and in the region, we can teach the people that there is no reason to resent us. It won't be soon. But it can happen.

This plan worked in Europe, and it worked in Japan. It will take patience, perseverance, and support from the people of the United States.


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