VDH in a compelling article at NRO tell us about a dream he had about a civilization that has become just a dream.
I recently had a dream that British marines fought back, like their forefathers of old, against criminals and pirates. When taken captive, they proved defiant in their silence. When released, they talked to the tabloids with restraint and dignity, and accepted no recompense.
I dreamed that a kindred German government, which best knew the wages of appeasement, cut-off all trade credits to the outlaw Iranian mullahs — even as the European Union joined the Americans in refusing commerce with this Holocaust-denying, anti-Semitic, and thuggish regime.
NATO countries would then warn Iran that their next unprovoked attack on a vessel of a member nation would incite the entire alliance against them in a response that truly would be of a “disproportionate” nature.
In this apparition of mine, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, in Syria at the time, would lecture the Assad regime that there would be consequences to its serial murdering of democratic reformers in Lebanon, to fomenting war with Israel by means of its surrogates, and to sending terrorists to destroy the nascent constitutional government in Iraq.
She would add that the United States could never be friends with an illegitimate dictatorship that does its best to destroy the only three democracies in the region. And then our speaker would explain to Iran that a U.S. Congresswoman would never detour to Tehran to dialogue with a renegade government that had utterly ignored U.N. non-proliferation mandates and daily had the blood of Americans on its hands.
Fellow Democrats like John Kerry, Barbara Boxer, and Harry Reid would add that, as defenders of the liberal tradition of the West, they were not about to call a retreat before extremist killers who behead and kidnap, who blow up children and threaten female reformers and religious minorities, and who have begun using poison gas, all in an effort to annihilate voices of tolerance in Iraq.
These Democrats would reiterate that they had not authorized a war to remove the psychopathic Saddam Hussein only to allow the hopeful country to be hijacked by equally vicious killers. And they would warn the world that their differences with the Bush administration, whatever they might be, pale in comparison to the shared American opposition to the efforts of al Qaeda, the Taliban, Syria, and Iran to kill any who would advocate freedom of the individual.
Those in Congress would not deny that Congress itself had voted for a war against Saddam on 23 counts — the vast majority of which had nothing to do with weapons of mass destruction and remain as valid today as when they were approved in 2002.
His dream ends as most dreams do.
Europeans would advise their own Muslim immigrants, from London to Berlin, that the West, founded on principles of the Hellenic and European Enlightenments, and enriched by the Sermon on the Mount, had nothing to apologize for, now or in the future. Newcomers would either accept this revered culture of tolerance, assimilation, and equality of religions and the sexes — or return home to live under its antithesis of seventh-century Sharia law.
Media critics of the ongoing war might deplore our tactics, take issue with the strategy, and lament the failure to articulate our goals and values. But they would not stoop to the lies of “no blood for oil” — not when Iraqi petroleum is now at last under transparent auspices and bid on by non-American companies, even as the price skyrockets and American ships protect the vulnerable sea-lanes, ensuring life-saving commerce for all importing nations.
I also dreamed that no columnist, no talking head, no pundit would level the charge of “We took our eye off bin Laden in Afghanistan” when they themselves had no answer on how to reach al Qaedists inside nuclear Pakistan, a country ruled by a triangulating dictator and just one bullet away from an Islamic theocracy.
And then I woke up, remembering that the West of old lives only in dreams. Yes, the new religion of the post-Westerner is neither the Enlightenment nor Christianity, but the gospel of the Path of Least Resistance — one that must lead inevitably to gratification rather than sacrifice.
Once one understands this new creed, then all the surreal present at last makes sense: life in the contemporary West is so good, so free, so undemanding, that we will pay, say, and suffer almost anything to enjoy its uninterrupted continuance — and accordingly avoid almost any principled act that might endanger it.
Needless to say, read it all and ponder what was, what could be and the reality of what is.