Andrew C. McCarthy writing at National Review Online nails a problem with the United States approach to the war on terrorism. This is religious war and the west will be much more successful when this fact is openly acknowledged.
Can We Talk?: Islamic countries, moreover, are not rejecting Western democracy because they haven’t experienced it. They reject it on principle. For them, the president’s euphonious rhetoric about democratic empowerment is offensive. They believe, sincerely, that authority to rule comes not from the people but from Allah; that there is no separation of religion and politics; that free people do not have authority to legislate contrary to Islamic law; that Muslims are superior to non-Muslims, and men to women; and that violent jihad is a duty whenever Muslims deem themselves under attack … no matter how speciously.
These people are not morons. They adhere to a highly developed belief system that is centuries old, wildly successful, and for which many are willing to die. They haven’t refused to democratize because the Federalist Papers are not yet out in Arabic. They decline because their leaders have freely chosen to decline. They see us as the mortal enemy of the life they believe Allah commands. Their demurral is wrong, but it is principled, not ignorant. And we insult them by suggesting otherwise. …
For our own sake, we need to respect the enemy. That means grasping that he’s implacable, that he means us only harm, and that he must be subdued, not appeased. Negotiating with such evil is always a mistake, for any accommodation with evil is, by definition, evil.
The Recess Supervisor: So Bush can keep trying to play house in Iraq, setting them up with puppet governments that have no credible authority without a level of military support than most Americans don't care to give them. We're not going to conquer the Arab world, we're not going to democratize it in a generation, and we're not going to increase our security by being the handmaidens of terrorist nations.