Because of Islam’s unique tradition as a political and social system as well as an individual faith, I have expressed doubts about the viability of democracy in countries where there is significant attachment to the Sharia. But at AEI (thanks to EPG) Charles Krauthammer makes the best possible case for going forward:
Yes, as in Germany and Japan, the undertaking is enormous, ambitious and arrogant. It may yet fail. But we cannot afford not to try. There is not a single, remotely plausible, alternative strategy for attacking the monster behind 9/11. It’s not Osama bin Laden; it is the cauldron of political oppression, religious intolerance, and social ruin in the Arab-Islamic world–oppression transmuted and deflected by regimes with no legitimacy into virulent, murderous anti-Americanism. It’s not one man; it is a condition. It will be nice to find that man and hang him, but that’s the cops-and-robbers law-enforcement model of fighting terrorism that we tried for twenty years and that gave us 9/11. This is war, and in war arresting murderers is nice. But you win by taking territory–and leaving something behind.
Krauthammer’s entire analysis is lengthy but well worth reading.
Also worth reading is this piece by David Brooks explaining the importance of working to establish democracy in the Middle East. (Thanks to Fanabba.)