12 September 2002
How we did it
There is no longer any doubt that small, decentralized terror cells like those of the al-Qaeda network can wreak serious havoc in a short time. But did they win the early battles only to lose the war?
Of course they did. American resolve is famously implacable, and American military might is unequaled. But the third force in this triad American culture will prove to be the decisive factor.
Even the late, unlamented Osama bin Laden would have to admit it. However much he may have railed against the evil modern West, he never would have stood a chance using the tools of medieval Islam, and he knew it. And Western mores, which much to the annoyance of European Community types are de facto American mores, have already gotten a foothold in Islamic countries, and no amount of haranguing by the mullahs and the military will dislodge them. The burqa will be just as obsolete as the codpiece, and in retrospect just as silly.
So the larger war is already won. We must still remain on guard while the last of the medievalists empty out their curiously-modern weapons, and the necessity of replacing a few regimes is still on the agenda, but the hearts and minds of millions of Muslims enslaved by the perversity of their leaders are already starting to turn our way. There will probably always be hard-line Islamic fascists, but they will be banished to the margins, not by American forces, but by the insistence of a Muslim people anxious to join the rest of the twenty-first century.