Living in Historic Times

Once again, Vitor David Hanson outdoes even himself. His weekly comment is just utterly brilliant. I’ve included a couple of clips but give yourself five minutes to be impressed with his talent by clicking on the title of this post…

In September and early October 2001 we were warned that an invasion of Afghanistan was impossible — peaks too high, winter and Ramadan on the way, weak and perfidious allies as bad as the Islamists — and thus that the invasion would result in tens of thousands killed and millions of refugees. Where have all these subversive ankle-biters gone? Apparently into thin air — or to the same refuge of silence as all the Reagan-haters of the 1980s who swore that a nuclear freeze was the only humane policy of dealing with Soviet expansionism.

After the seven-week defeat of the Taliban, these deer-in-the-headlights critics paused, and then declared the victory hollow. They said the country had descended into rule by warlords, and called the very idea of scheduled voting a laughable notion. We endured them for almost two years. Yet after the recent and mostly smooth elections, Afghanistan has slowly disappeared from the maelstrom of domestic politics, as all those who felt our efforts were not merely impossible but absurd retreated to the shadows to gnash their teeth that Kabul is not yet Carmel…

If someone wonders about the enormous task at hand in democratizing the Middle East, he could do no worse than ponder the last days of Yasser Arafat: the tawdry fight over his stolen millions; the charade of the First Lady of Palestine barking from a Paris salon; the unwillingness to disclose what really killed the “Tiger” of Ramallah; the gauche snub of obsequious Europeans hovering in the skies over Cairo, preening to pay homage to the late prince of peace; and, of course, the usual street theater of machine guns spraying the air and thousands of males crushing each other to touch the bier of the man who robbed them blind. Try bringing a constitution and open and fair elections to a mess like that…

In the struggle in Fallujah hinges not just the fate of the Sunni Triangle, or even Iraq, but rather of the entire Middle East — and it will be decided on the bravery and skill of mostly 20-something American soldiers. If they are successful in crushing and humiliating the fascists there and extending the victory to other spots then the radical Islamists and their fascistic sponsors will erode away. But if they fail or are called off, then we will see Days of Sorrow that make September 11 look like child’s play…

We are living in historic times, as all the landmarks of the past half-century are in the midst of passing away. The old left-wing critique is in shambles — as the United States is proving to be the most radical engine for world democratic change and liberalization of the age. A reactionary Old Europe, in concert with the ossified American leftist elite, unleashed everything within its ample cultural arsenal: novels, plays, and op-ed columns calling for the assassination of President Bush; propaganda documentaries reminiscent of the oeuvre of Pravda or Leni Riefenstahl; and transparent bias passed off as front-page news and lead-ins on the evening network news.

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