Diana West
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If this were a sane world, this is what we would hear during the president's next address to the nation:

My fellow Americans.

I come to you now, gravely aware that what I am about to say will radically change the course of what we have, for nearly five long years now, called the war on terror.

For almost as long as I have held this office, I have been leading this war. On my watch, the United States sent troops into Afghanistan to destroy the Taliban and drive Al Qaeda from the safe haven it used to plan attacks on our country. On my watch, we sent troops into Iraq to topple Saddam Hussein and break this link in the terrorism food chain. On my watch, the United States spearheaded an ambitious drive to bring democracy to regions of the Middle and Near East as part of an effort to touch brutalized peoples with the salve of freedom and see them recover their free will, forever strengthened by what we in America prize as God-given rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I made this democratization process the centerpiece of my second term, the core of my political strategy against global terrorism, because history has taught us that democracies don't make war, or support terrorist attacks, on one another. I didn't, as one predecessor of mine famously put it, simply want "to make the world safe for democracy." I wanted to make the world -- that part of the world from which terrorism mainly springs -- democratic, and therefore, safe.

Over the past few years, then, the United States has supported fledgling democracies in Afghanistan Iraq and the Palestinian Authority. We have proudly assisted in making free and fair elections possible in these places, and with excellent results -- at least with regard to the freeness and the fairness of the elections. But the fact is, when these peoples have spoken, what we have heard, or should have been hearing, in the expression of their collective will is that the mechanics of democracy alone (one citizen, one vote) do not automatically manufacture democrats -- if by democrats we mean citizens who believe first and foremost in the kind of liberty that guarantees freedom of conscience and equality before the law.

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Diana West

Diana West is the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character (St. Martin's Press, 2013), and The Death of the Grown-Up: How America's Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization (St. Martin's Press, 2007).