"Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" - Ronald Reagan

New York

Esteem for US rises in Asia, thanks to Iraq war

From The Austrailian.

THE US war in Iraq has strengthened its strategic position, especially in terms of key alliances, and the only way this could be reversed would be if it lost the will to continue the struggle and abandoned Iraq in defeat and disarray.

Interesting. And what would cause a weakening of the American strategic position?

Green cautions that a US failure in Iraq, a retreat and leaving chaos in Iraq behind, would gravely damage US credibility in Asia.

So much for the defeatist liberal members of Congress who recommended we snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

For a full read, click here.

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Islam at the Ballot Box

From Amir Taheri wrting for the Wall Street Journal.

Pakistan's election has been portrayed by the Western media as a defeat for President Pervez Musharraf. The real losers were the Islamist parties.

The latest analysis of the results shows that the parties linked, or at least sympathetic, to the Taliban and al Qaeda saw their share of the votes slashed to about 3% from almost 11% in the last general election a few years ago. The largest coalition of the Islamist parties, the United Assembly for Action (MMA), lost control of the Northwest Frontier Province -- the only one of Pakistan's four provinces it governed. The winner in the province is the avowedly secularist National Awami Party.

Mr. Taheri goes on to show how bad Islamists have faired in several other countries in elections. He ends with,

Far from rejecting democracy because it is supposed to be "alien," or using it as a means of creating totalitarian Islamist systems, a majority of Muslims have repeatedly shown that they like elections, and would love to join the global mainstream of democratization. President Bush is right to emphasize the importance of holding free and fair elections in all Muslim majority countries.

Tyrants fear free and fair elections, a fact illustrated by the Khomeinist regime's efforts to fix the outcome of next month's poll in Iran by pre-selecting the candidates. Support for democratic movements in the Muslim world remains the only credible strategy for winning the war against terror.

For all that President Bush may not have done, he has brought democracy to the Middle East. This fact can never be changed. Democracy will continue to grow in this region.

Currently, the beacon of democracy in the Middle East is Iraq. It is a beacon that is continuing to shine brighter daily for all other countries to emulate.

Mr. Taheri is correct. Tyrants fear democracy. Whether the tyrants are dictators of Middle Eastern countries or terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, they are fearful of Iraq's success because they know if democracy succeeds in Iraq, Muslims will continue to push for democracy in surrounding countries.

The Bush Doctrine will survive and is currently alive and well. To solve the festering problem on Middle Eastern sponsored terrorism, President Bush took a bold step to end it. Terrorism will not end under his watch, but the democratic principles he forced upon Iraq continue to spread to neighboring countries.

Over time the Bush Doctrine will force out all tyrants in the Middle East. This fact is why Al Qaeda declared Iraq its central front. Having lost Iraq, Al Qaeda is attempting to re-establish itself elsewhere, but as Mr. Taheri points out, they fail to garner much public support where-ever they may be.

For a full read, click here.

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Iraq vows to "crush terrorists" after 99 killed

From Yahoo via Reuters.

Iraq's prime minister vowed on Saturday that improved security would not be derailed after two female bombers killed 99 people in the deadliest attacks in Baghdad since last April.

Nuri al-Maliki said Friday's bombings at popular pet markets in the capital would not herald a return to the savage violence that took Iraq to the brink of all-out sectarian civil war. The U.S. military blamed al Qaeda in Iraq for the attacks.

"I swear on the blood (of the victims), we will achieve all our goals in securing a stable Iraq. We will continue to ... crush the terrorists and target their strongholds," Maliki said in a statement.

Two items are of particular note in this article.

1. The Prime Minister, not US Commanders, is being quoted. Until recently, the Maliki government was seen as ineffectual and powerless, yet with more capable Iraqi troops on the ground and a less visible US presence, (relative to Iraqi forces), reporters more and more are quoting the leader of the government.

2. While Maliki is most likely talking about crushing Al Qaeda, he also is moving away from Shiite terrorists, like Sadr and his militia, because over time he has realized whether Sunni or Shia, terrorism is terrorism. The only way Iraq will survive, grow, and florish as a democracy is to have a non-secular, national unity government representative of Shiites, Sunnis, and Kurd. Terrorists (whether Al Qaeda or the Mahdi Army) have no place in Iraq.

It is interesting how several muslim leaders, whether it is Maliki in Iraq, Musharraf in Pakistan, Karzai in Afghanistan, Siniora in Lebanon, Mubarak in Egypt, Yudhoyono in Indonesia, Bouteflika in Algeria, Saleh in Yemen, or Gül in Turkey are all moving to either crush, defeat, or contain radical Islamists and pursue democracy more and more.

The Bush Doctrine is by no means dead. In fact, it is flourishing precisely where it was meant to flourish. It is flourishing not only in our country, but also in several countries in the "Non-Integrating Gap."

Its three basic tenets are being adhered to by all the leaders and nations listed above.

The Threat: political and religious extremists.

The Response: irregular forces require anticipatory self-defense using all instruments of National Power (Diplomatic, Informational, Military, and Economic)

The Process: support and pursue democratic reform.

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