It also turns out there is nothing there for infidels to win. After six U.S.-intensive years, Iraq remains just another OPEC-participating, Israel-boycotting, Hezbollah-sympathetic, Sharia-supreme, anti-U.S. entity with new and improved ties to Iran. Why? Our belief systems, Islam's and the West's, are so diametrically opposed that our interests cannot intersect. Left and Right in this country, however, scrub this truth and its centuries of confirming history from all policy -- an antiseptic way to view conflict in the world that will always miss the cure by ignoring the germs.
On this count, Will's column is no different, never once contemplating Islam. Which is why his conclusion may be a little fuzzy. Describing his "offshore" alternatives to basing a massive army inside Afghanistan, Will identifies the key mission as "concentrating on the porous 1,500-mile border with Pakistan, a nation that actually matters."
I'm not sure what Will means by calling Pakistan "a nation that actually matters." Certainly, Pakistan's nuclear arsenal "matters" because it could hurt us, and thus our national security demands an execution-ready plan to neutralize it. But Pakistan, a jihad-based culture, doesn't "matter" in terms of fitting into an anti-jihad alliance -- the ultimate goal, whether admitted or not, of efforts to work together. It can't. Quick facts: Pakistan's army's motto is "Faith, piety and holy war in the path of Allah." Seventy-eight percent of its people, the latest Pew Poll tells us, support the death penalty for leaving Islam. Not exactly our ideal match.
But we keep such politically incorrect facts out of focus. Then we struggle to see why things go wrong. More clarity is required. More debate is essential. Eight years after 9/11, this means finally reckoning with Islam -- discussing jihad, analyzing Sharia, understanding dhimmitude -- as a strategic factor in U.S. policy.