Rush: Opponents argue that this is only going to create more terrorism, that we?re only going to make these people angrier. I don?t know how much angrier they can get, looking at September 11. But it seems to me that victory and a show of strength, of resolve, is key. I don?t remember us ever being attacked because we?re too strong.
Hanson: No, for me the watershed event was when Carter allowed the Iranian hostage situation to go on. Then you had the Hezbollah bombings of the Marines in Khobar Towers, the mess in Somalia, the Sudan, the first World Trade Center bombing. That and more still is what endangered our national security. And it?s going to take a while to recreate the image and the reality of deterrence, that it?s a very dangerous and stupid thing to kill Americans. The message that comes out of this victory in Iraq is, I think, three-fold.
One, we have a conventional military that?s very powerful, and we?re not necessarily predictable. We have emotions, too, and we can lash out if we have to, so if you are rash terrorists you?d better be careful of our anger. Two, when leaders like the Assads or the Khadafis look at what we did to Saddam Hussein, blowing up individual homes and rounding up killers, we almost reinvented their own military dialectic. They always threatened us with these random stealthy killers; now in response we?re saying, ?You may have a suicide bomber, but we can target you as unpredictably and suddenly just as much as you can target us.?
Three, it?s a powerful message to the unfree Arab world to have this liberation; when they see people waving American flags and saying they love Bush, it?s almost as if they can?t trust their own corrupt leaders anymore. We can unleash military power for a just cause consistent with our values. This is what the Left wanted, Rush. In the 60s they always said they wanted us to be national liberationists. If you look at Noriega and the Taliban, and if you look at Milosevic, the United States military is removing right-wing, authoritarian dictators and implanting democracy. So they should be ecstatic.
Rush: This is the thing that?s so amazing to me. Such is the left?s hatred for Bush that the militant Democrats in this country, the peace movement, oriented themselves around protecting Saddam Hussein. There was no greater human rights violator than Saddam Hussein in the modern world. And yet their movement was oriented around protecting him.
Hanson: Yes, I couldn?t understand that. Every time I saw a professor who would tell me that he came back from a peace march, I?d say, ?How did you feel to support fascism?? The people who organized those marches were mostly World Socialist Worker?s parties, out-and-out Communists, anti-Americanists. People would say, ?Well, I didn?t know who organized it.? That would be like going to a rally against affirmative action and having David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan run it. It?s no excuse that you were being led and used by those duplicitious people. They did a lot of damage, because I think they empowered people in Iraq to be emboldened and to resist the efforts to solve that crisis diplomatically.
Rush: That?s absolutely true, but they don?t want to be saddled with that. Here?s a historical question. When you look at the Arab world today, and particularly the militant Islamic world today, it is a world that seeks to live in the Middle Ages, the 12th century, 14th century. They are surrounded by modernity. The Arab world does not have one major university. It doesn?t produce one exportable product. It doesn?t have anything of its own that it can say it created. What it has is an accident of geography, living over oil.
What?s in store for the Arab world, ultimately? They?re not going to achieve a worldwide lifestyle that they seek, to return to the 1300s. As they are now, they can?t co-exist with the world around them. If the mullahs and the ayatollahs and the bin Ladens, who control these people today, are defeated, what will result, given the natural yearning for freedom? Something?s going to give here. What do you think, based on history, it will be?
Hanson: I think they?re going to be forced to join the modern world. When somebody has an eye disease in the slums of Cairo, he does not want to hear chants from a mullah, he wants antibiotics. Or when a rich Saudi sheik wants his Viagra, he?s not going to go to a local herb doctor. So there?s no choice but the modern world ? for freedom and technology and, yes, materialism. Remember this is a place that translates fewer books into English than does Greece, even though Greece has a population of 10 million and the Middle East has 350 million. So you?re absolutely right that they?re backward intellectually and must discard the old way of looking at the world and blaming others.
But this was also a war for their hearts and minds. Perhaps 10 percent of the people in the Middle East wanted to Westernize and modernize, and then 10 percent, the Islamic fascists? wanted to take them back 1000 years. But most people were just watching to see which side was going to win. The fascists, and the Islamic fundamentalists? argument was based on one simple principle, that the West is so wealthy, so suburbanized, that it suffers from license and decadence, that its citizens would never, never send their children over here to deal with us terrorists, because one-on-one, we?re unconquerable medieval warriors.
That?s just been proven just absolutely crazy, when you see the casualty and kill ratios of one to 1,000, one to 500, that went on in these theaters in Iraq. Their only currency to appeal to the masses was: ?We may not be as smart, we may not have the technology, but we?re pure, we?re more religious, we?re stronger in a moral sense, and these guys are decadent and can?t fight.? Turns out that an American with sunglasses and listening to rock music, naming his tank ?Anger Management? is a much, much deadlier guy than a suicide bomber.
Rush: So they don?t survive, but what is it that sends them away? Will it take force? Or is it just the evolution of time?
Hanson: I think so. Rush, if we asked somebody in July 1941, ?What do you think about the Nazi ideology?? From France to Moscow to the Arctic Circle to the Sahara, most of South America, most of Mexico, everybody would have answered, ?Oh, yes, Hitler, that?s the wave of the future.? Suddenly in ?46 you couldn?t find a person in the world who thought Nazism was any good. The same thing with Communism. Where did all these Communists go? They haven?t had any ?Truth-in-Reconciliation? committees in Eastern Europe or Moscow. A few, but not very many people say, ?I love Stalin, I?m a hard-core Communist.? They may feel that, but they won?t say it, because in fact Stalinism was repudiated and was defeated and lost the Cold War in the same manner that the Germans lost. War brings with it defeat. And defeat brings humiliation. And humiliation finally brings caution, and eventually wisdom.
Rush: How long do you think this will take?
Hanson: It?s happening as we speak. From what I?ve been reading, and you probably can confirm, there are people in the Middle East who are just stunned. They really believed Baghdad Bob was telling the truth. They believed there were going to be hundreds of thousands of American casualties. It wasn?t just that they lost; they were completely humiliated. So once somebody stands up in a village in Syria or Libya and says, ?The Americans are devils and weak and I?m going to lead a jihad,? it won?t fly. Remember, all the Pakistani jihadists wanted to go into Afghanistan. And then about 10,000 of them got bombed, and suddenly they were scrambling back over the Khyber Pass with a message to their friends, ?Don?t go over there, you?ll get killed.?
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