Going, going, still here

Posted: Feb 12, 2005 12:00 AM

In those annoying television commercials, that pink bunny keeps going and going but never seems to get anywhere. Kind of like all those folks who vowed last November to move to Canada if President Bush was re-elected. Most are still here. But -- some promise -- not for long.

Take 30-year-old Melanie Redman. She told The New York Times she hopes to be in the great white north by summer, as soon as she can sell her Volvo and get a visa. But why the delay? Canadians need cars. Just drive it up. And Canada?s got one of the most open borders in the world. Surely Melanie wouldn?t need a visa to cross.

She claims she needs to leave because, ?I don?t want to participate in what this administration is doing here and around the world. Under Bush, the U.S. seems to be leading the pack as the world spirals down.?

Now, surely Melanie?s smart enough to know this isn?t true. The U.S. is leading the world up, not down.
Recent examples include the elections in Afghanistan and Iraq, the cease-fire between Israel and the Palestinians, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice?s triumphant European tour.

But this is exactly the problem with so many on the left: Their actions don?t match their words. In another example, some claim to be afraid they?ll lose their civil liberties under the USA PATRIOT Act.
But if they were truly afraid, instead of loudly protesting and drawing attention to themselves, they?d be quietly slipping out of the country.

Sadly, this happens in foreign policy, too. Last summer, CIA analyst Michael Scheuer (writing as Anonymous) penned ?Imperial Hubris,? a book that basically said the United States has done everything wrong since 9/11. Our approach to Afghanistan was a disaster, Scheuer wrote. Ditto our approach to Iraq.
And don?t get him started on American support for Israel.

One of Scheuer?s key claims was that ?many tens of millions of Muslims? believe Americans are waging a war against Islam. But the truth is that mainstream Muslims know they have nothing to fear from the U.S.
What happened on Jan. 20 proves that.

On that day, Washington was virtually shut down by security as we inaugurated a president. Visitors to the capital walked through metal detectors and were patted down by security guards. Roads were blocked off. The president rode most of Pennsylvania Avenue in a virtual tank. This security was needed. For good reason, Americans fear possible attacks by Islamic extremists.

Meanwhile, millions of Muslims gathered in Saudi Arabia for the annual Hajj. There was some security there, too -- but not to protect Muslims against Americans. To protect them against other Muslims. ?The authorities want to thwart possible attacks by al Qaeda, which has waged a 20-month campaign of violence in the kingdom,? noted the Associated Press.

Now, if the United States wanted to kill millions of Muslims, everyone knows we could have on that day -- literally at the touch of a button. Yet they gathered without fear, because they also know we won?t. They know we?re better than that, and they know we?re at war with Islamic extremists, not Muslims in general.

Of course, it?s now up to mainstream Muslims to take their faith back from the extremists. And they?re starting to do so.

After a recent attack killed two of his sons, Iraqi politician Mithal al-Alusi told Radio Free Europe, ?[the extremists] claim that Islam is a message of killing, while Islam is a message of peace. They claim that the principles encourage killing, while the only principles that encourage killing are the principles of the Ba?ath and of the heathens from al Qaeda groupings.?

?They are using the faith, Islam, as a cover,? Abdulluh Ali Mohammed, security director for the Iraqi city of Irbil, told The Washington Post. ?We have to explain to these young terrorists that this is not the real Islam.?

It?s a start.

In his book, Scheuer was correct about one thing, although for the wrong reason. ?Bin Laden is out to drastically alter U.S. and Western policies toward the Islamic world,? he wrote in his introduction.

Well, mission accomplished, as they say. After decades of turning a blind eye to Arab dictators (as long as they were ?our? dictators, not Soviet dictators) we?re now exporting American freedom and democracy.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, that?s remaking the Islamic world -- or, more correctly -- it?s allowing Muslim people to remake their own world.

Maybe someday even Melanie Redman and her fellow Canadian-wannabees will notice.