Friday, November 18, 2005
We will not defeat Islamic jihadism until we discredit it, or it discredits itself. This is not the same thing as popularity. Rather, it requires that Muslims regard jihadism as an ideological dead end. In forcing them to wage their war in the heart of the Arab world, they are -- by dint of their utter disregard for anything that ordinary people hold dear -- destroying their own credibility. This can happen even if anti-Americanism increases, just as we helped along the ultimate failure of Communism's credibility even as anti-Americanism rose throughout the Cold War.
I think you've suggested the end game: the jihadists will discredit themselves. It may yet turn out that anti-Americanism (both here and abroad) could force the result sooner rather than later. And maybe a continuing American presence in Iraq--perhaps in the mid-east--is now merely a distraction. Perhaps if we just leave the issue will become so clear that even most journalists will perceive it. By that point, of course, the Shiites and Kurds and even a good number of Sunnis will be already way ahead of the curve. It won't be peaceful and it sure won't be pretty. And America will still get a full share of condemnation for allowing it to happen.