Jonah Goldberg

"Insanity," goes a popular old saw attributed to both Albert Einstein and Ben Franklin (so it must be right), "is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."

As a corollary, it seems to me that saying the same thing over and over again, regardless of the results, should be a similar kind of crazy.

For the past few years, we've been told (by John Kerry, Howard Dean, and various and sundry editorialists) that George W. Bush has, by fighting the "wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time," "created more terrorists" and "isolated America" by inflaming passions in the Middle East.

Cindy Sheehan has amplified this perspective, calling President Bush, among other things, an "evil maniac" and the world's "biggest terrorist." In the process, she's become a hero to those who see pathos in her protest and a sham to those who see bathos in her stunts.

But as Sheehan's rhetoric exceeds even the heat of the Crawford sun, and as Democrats openly ponder whether she's the visionary who will lead them out of the wilderness, facts on the ground are changing. If the war has created more terrorists and made the world hate us more, why exactly has Muslim and Arab opinion of the United States improved?

According to the massive Pew Global Attitudes Survey, views of the United States have been improving. We're not exactly back to the days when Kuwaiti babies were being named George Bush, but the trends are in our favor. The share of people with a favorable view of America went up in Indonesia by some 23 points, in Lebanon by 15 points, and in Jordan by 16 points. Trends in France, Germany, Russia and India have been moving our way, too.

But the news gets even better. Support for terrorism and Osama Bin Laden has been plummeting across the Arab and Muslim world (save for in Jordan, where the large Palestinian population plays a big role). Support for democracy, meanwhile, has improved. According to Pew, "nearly three-quarters of Moroccans and roughly half of those in Pakistan, Turkey and Indonesia see Islamic extremism as a threat to their countries." The share of those supporting suicide bombings and the targeting of civilians has fallen by more than one-third in Lebanon - where democracy is on the move, by the way - and by 16 and 27 points in Pakistan and Morocco, respectively. Similar declines in support for Osama Bin Laden, al-Qaida and the like have been recorded.


Jonah Goldberg

Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online,and the author of the book The Tyranny of Clichés. You can reach him via Twitter @JonahNRO.
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