And whatever "Islamo-fascism" means, Syria surely is not it. It is a secular dictatorship Bush I bribed into becoming an ally in the Gulf War. The Muslim Brotherhood is outlawed in Syria. In 1982, Hafez al-Assad perpetrated a massacre of the Brotherhood in the city of Hama that was awesome in its magnitude and horror.
As with Khadafi, whom Bush let out of the penalty box after he agreed to pay $10 million to the family of each victim of Pan Am 103 and give up his nuclear program, America can deal with Syria, as Israel did after the Yom Kippur War -- for an armistice on the Golan that has stuck, as both sides have kept the deal.
America faces a variety of adversaries, enemies and evils. But the Bombs-Away Caucus, as Iraq and Lebanon reveal, does not always have the right formula. Al-Qaida, Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran all present separate challenges calling forth different responses.
Al-Qaida appears to exist for one purpose: Plot and perpetrate mass murder to terrorize Americans and Europeans into getting out of the Islamic world. Contrary to what Bush believes, the 9-11 killers and London and Madrid bombers were not out to repeal the Bill of Rights, if any ever read it. They are out to kill us, and we have to get them first.
Hamas and Hezbollah have used terrorism, but, like Begin's Irgun and Mandela's ANC, they have social and political agendas that require state power to implement. And once a guerrilla-terrorist movement takes over a state, it acquires state assets and interests that are then vulnerable to U.S. military and economic power.
Why did the Ayatollah let the American hostages go, as Reagan raised his right hand to take the oath of office? Why did Syria not rush to the rescue of Hezbollah? What did Ahmadinejad not rocket Tel Aviv in solidarity with his embattled allies in Lebanon? Res ipse loquitor. The thing speaks for itself. They don't want war with Israel, and they don't want war with the United States.
"Islamo-fascism" should be jettisoned from Bush's vocabulary. It yokes the faith of a billion people with an odious ideology. Imagine how Christians would have reacted, had FDR taken to declaring Franco's Spain and Mussolini's Italy "Christo-fascist."
If Bush does not want a war of civilizations, he will drop these propaganda terms that are designed to inflame passions rather than inform the public of the nature of the war we are in, and the war we are not in.