Saul Singer, the Editorial Page Editor of the Jerusalem Post, says Americans do not realize just how much good they have done recently:
What hope do the peoples who are not lucky enough to be liberated under the rubric of fighting terrorism have? Fortunately, significantly more than they did just two months ago.
Two things happened in the past few weeks that greatly increased freedom's prospects. In his second inaugural address, President George W. Bush dedicated America to "the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world." And in Iraq, a people that has never experienced democracy demonstrated a commitment to that goal so powerful that it overcame the threat of death.
Many will think it a stretch to read so much into one speech and one election. Here's why I do . . .
IRAQ'S ELECTION let the cat of the bag for an entire region, just as the fall of the Berlin Wall did for Central Europe in 1989. The terrorists said, "you vote, you die," and the people gave the terrorists the finger - stained with purple ink.
It is no longer possible to credibly argue that Arabs are uniquely indifferent to freedom or democracy. It is no longer possible for the surrounding dictatorships to defend their oppressive ways as the immutable order of things. The mullah has no clothes.
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If Bush has his way, 2005 will be this region's 1989. There will be - as already happened in Ukraine and Iraq, is happening in Lebanon and could happen in Iran - a clash between two forces: the Bush-oppressed people's alliance and the axis of evil. Oppressed peoples will be the 2005 equivalent of the 82nd Airborne.
Read it all, and look up the book Singer mentions in his column: Khalid Hosseini's novel, The Kite Runner, about life under the Taliban.