all the easy talk about a new kind of terrorism, and a new kind
of war, the models for what we have experienced and what we must
do are quite old. The terrorists adopted the methods of the 1940s
kamikazes with a bit of 1950s brainwashing added to
produce a number of Manchurian Candidates. We dealt with the original
kamikazes by improving our defenses so as to kill them before they
hit us, and by destroying the country that launched them. We have
to do that again.
have been gulled by the leaks from the misnamed intelligence community,
you know that the terrorists represent the long arm of evil regimes.
We therefore have a dual task: Kill the terrorists, and destroy
the regimes that provide them with the critical infrastructure
training, safe havens, travel documents, technology, and all the
rest they need to operate.
The hunt for
the terrorists is a technical matter, and we must hope that our
military has enough virtue left from the Clinton ravages to do the
job. But we should have no misgivings about our ability to destroy
tyrannies. It is what we do best. It comes naturally to us, for
we are the one truly revolutionary country in the world, as we have
been for more than 200 years. Creative destruction is our middle
name. We do it automatically, and that is precisely why the tyrants
hate us, and are driven to attack us.
So we begin
with an enormous advantage. The tyrants fear us, and their oppressed
peoples want what we have to offer: freedom. Yes, there are the
fanatics, both religious and political. But far too much has been
made of the presumed religious fanaticism of our Middle Eastern
enemies. Saddam Hussein is not at all a religious leader. His fame
and charisma rest on his political and military power, and when
the Palestinians dance in the streets, carrying banners with his
portrait, and sing odes to Saddam, it is not because of his Islamic
faith. It is because of his murderous success. He challenged us,
he took our biggest punch and survived, and he now carries the battle
to us once again.
And yet he
fears us, for he knows that his own people would remove him in a
heartbeat if only they could. And the Taliban fear us too, the Taliban
who have slaughtered and enslaved the women of Afghanistan with
a systematic sadism that would make Stalin proud, and would warm
the cockles of the Ayatollah Khomeini's lifeless heart. And the
mullahs and ayatollahs in Tehran fear us, for they know that not
one of them could survive a free election in Iran.
our most lethal weapon, and the oppressed peoples of the fanatic
regimes are our greatest assets. They need to hear and see that
we are with them, and that the Western mission is to set them free,
under leaders who will respect them and preserve their freedom.
The president has brilliantly stressed our respect for Islam, and
our conviction that the majority of Muslims are peace-loving people.
He should direct Secretary Powell to fully support democratic resistance
movements in the terrorist countries, and, failing that, to support
more moderate, more pro-Western forces. You cannot remove a regime
without having a new one ready to go.
exist. In Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance, despite the assassination
of its historic leader Massoud, is still a force to be reckoned
with, and they have offered us their support in dislodging the Taliban.
And there are others, including the deposed king, still formally
recognized as the legitimate ruler of Afghanistan by most of the
civilized world. In Iraq, we have halfheartedly supported an umbrella
organization, the Iraqi National Congress, under the outstanding
leadership of Ahmed Chalabi. Yet the State Department, as recently
as yesterday, was still telling them that they must not, under any
circumstances, operate inside Iraq. That is sheer folly, for it
guarantees that we get the worst of both worlds: We enrage Saddam
even further, but ensure that we won't be able to get close to his
throat. The president should order these embarrassing restrictions
removed, give full support to this democratic resistance movement,
and encourage the downtrodden and long suffering Iraqi people to
join Chalabi and win their freedom.
as in Iraq, we must not think in the unworthy terms of a mere military
strike against al Qaeda and its phantasmagorical leader, Osama bin
Laden. We want the destruction of the Taliban, without which bin
Laden could not have operated.
In other words,
it is time once again to export the democratic revolution. To those
who say it cannot be done, we need only point to the 1980s, when
we led a global democratic revolution that toppled tyrants from
Moscow to Johannesburg. Then, too, the smart folks said it could
not be done, and they laughed at Ronald Reagan's chutzpah when he
said that the Soviet tyrants were done for, and called on the West
to think hard about the post-Communist era. We destroyed the Soviet
Empire, and then walked away from our great triumph in the Third
World War of the Twentieth Century. As I sadly wrote at that time,
when America abandons its historic mission, our enemies take heart,
grow stronger, and eventually begin to kill us again. And so they
have, forcing us to take up our revolutionary burden, and bring
down the despotic regimes that have made possible the hateful events
of the 11th of September.
The only consolation
is that we know how to do it. And, miraculously, we have some leaders
who understand the historic opportunity they hold in their hands.