"He instinctively can find the shining greatness of our American culture and does a good job of highlighting it (although he also does have those rare lapses when he writes about hockey, but that is something caused by impurities in the Eastern waters or something)." Erik Keilholtz
Under the patronage of St. Tammany
Mark C. N. Sullivan is an editor at a Massachusetts university. He is married and the father of three children. Email
[T]he defeats of the fanatics in Afghanistan and Iraq, followed by free elections in both countries, destroyed two myths: of the inevitability of tyranny in the Muslim world, and of the divinely guaranteed success of the jihad. Once those myths were shattered, others in the region lost their fear of the tyrants, and they are now risking a direct challenge. The Cedar Revolution in Beirut has now toppled Syria's puppets in Lebanon, and I will be surprised and disappointed if we do not start hearing from democratic revolutionaries inside Syria — echoed from their counterparts in Iran — in the near future.
Many of the brave people in the suddenly democratic Arab streets are inspired by America, and by George W. Bush himself. It should go without saying that we must support them all, in as many ways as we can.
I think even the fiercest critics of president Bush's handling of the post-liberation phase in Iraq will still be thrilled at what appears to me to be glacial but important shifts in the right direction in the region. The Iraq elections may not be the end of the Middle East Berlin Wall, but they certainly demonstrate its crumbling. The uprising against Syria's occupation of Lebanon is extremely encouraging; Syria's attempt to buy off some good will by coughing up Saddam's half-brother is also a good sign; ditto Mubarak's attempt to make his own dictatorship look more democratic. Add all of that to the emergence of Abbas and a subtle shift in the Arab media and you are beginning to see the start of a real and fundamental change. Almost all of this was accomplished by the liberation of Iraq. Nothing else would have persuaded the thugs and mafia bosses who run so many Arab nations that the West is serious about democracy. The hard thing for liberals - and I don't mean that term in a pejorative sense - will be to acknowledge this president's critical role in moving this region toward democracy. In my view, 9/11 demanded nothing less. We are tackling the problem at the surface - by wiping out the institutional core of al Qaeda - and in the depths - by tackling the autocracy that makes Islamo-fascism more attractive to the younger generation. This is what we owed to the victims of 9/11. And we are keeping that trust.
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Meantime, in Howard Dean's Vermont, land of Bread & Puppets, that most democratic of New England institutions, the Town Meeting, is hijacked to protest the use of American military might to promote similar democracy abroad. Coverage: Rutland Herald * Burlington Free Press