The Losers Hang On

After spending a week traveling the frontline of the “war on
terrorism” — from the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Ronald Reagan in the seas
off Iran, to northern Iraq, to Afghanistan and into northwest Pakistan
— I can comfortably report the following: The bad guys are losing.

the dominos you see falling in the Muslim world today are the extremist
Islamist groups and governments. They have failed to persuade people by
either their arguments or their performances in power that their
puritanical versions of Islam are the answer. Having lost the argument,
though, the radicals still hang on thanks to gun barrels and oil
barrels — and they can for a while.

Because, while the radicals
have failed miserably, our allies — the pro-Americans, the Muslim
modernists, the Arab moderates — have not really filled the void with
reform and good government of their own. They are winning by default.
More on that later.

For now, though, it is obvious that
everywhere they have won or seized power, the Islamists — in Iran,
Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Algeria, Lebanon or Gaza — have overplayed
their hands, dragged their societies into useless wars or engaged in
nihilistic violence that today is producing a broad backlash from
mainstream Muslims.

Think of this: In the late-1970s, two
leaders made historic trips — President Anw... >>>

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