The president?s speech last night was inspiring for the nation, and part of it was particularly thrilling for me. The president made a strong appeal to help prisoners transition from prison back into society.
Most important, however, were the president?s words about foreign policy and the war on Iraq and terrorism. I, for one, believe the president?s policy meets the criteria of the ?just war? doctrine, guidelines first laid down by St. Augustine that have informed Western thought about the use of military force for sixteen centuries. I say that not just because of the threat in Iraq, but also because of the much broader threat from Islamic fundamentalism worldwide.
The stakes in Iraq, you see, go beyond the borders of that country, beyond the Middle East . Nobody likes to say it?and the president couldn?t say it for obvious reasons?but we are in a clash of civilizations that Harvard professor Samuel Huntington predicted in his landmark book. There are not only thousands of terrorist cells spread throughout the Islamic world, but there are also groups in many Islamic countries agitating for violence and thousands being trained for terror attacks.
Terrorism experts recognize that trying to root out groups like this one by one is nearly impossible. You simply don?t know where they are, and the borders of this country are porous.
The better answer is the one the president has chosen, bringing to the Muslim world the benefits of modernity and democracy that can produce free societies and free markets. This is the only way to answer Islamic leaders who excuse their own failures by blaming the deprivation of the Islamic masses on the United States . And they will continue to foment resentment among Muslims until democratic reforms can be introduced.