Middle East: The Realities

(Washington Post) Charles Krauthammer - In every country from the Khyber Pass to the Mediterranean Sea, the forces of moderation have been strengthened since Sept. 11, 2001. This is a huge strategic advance not just for the region but for the world, because this region in its decades-long stagnation has incubated the world's most virulent anti-American, anti-Western, anti-democratic, and anti-modernist fanaticism. This is not to say that the Near East has been forever transformed. It is only to say that because of American resolution and action, there is a historic possibility for such a transformation. But it all hinges on success in Iraq. On America's not being driven out of Iraq the way it was driven out of Lebanon and Somalia - which is what every terrorist and every terrorist state wants to see happen. Yes, every soldier's death is painful and every life uniquely valuable. But remember that just yesterday we lost 3,000 lives in one day. If this region is not transformed, on some future day we will lose 300,000. If we win the peace in Iraq and leave behind a decent democratic society, enjoying, as it does today, the freest press and speech in the entire Arab world, it will revolutionize the region. If we leave in failure, the whole region will fall back into chaos, and worse.

2003-07-25 00:00:00

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