President Bush has believed that it is worth it to answer that question with a "Yes!" and all his actions have been based on that fact. This is why he has been very circumspect in what he says about Islam and how he characterizes the war on terror. Once a "tipping point" is reached where most reasonable people can no longer believe that a moderate, reasonable Islam is possible, then the unpalatable consequences of a "No" answer become all too obvious.
As recent events in the middle east between Israel and Hisbollah and Hamas, Syria and Iran unfold; as we witness the desperate suicide bombers and mindless hate that daily disrupts any kind of a normal life for Iraqis in Baghdad; as we witness the rise of the fanatical and murdering Taliban in Afghanistan--the only conclusion that reasonable people can come to is that the answer is no.
Islam is not only incompatible with these concepts, but modern day Islamists are determined that a medieval Islam should remain completely antithetical to such concepts. The Mullahs and Imans; the fanatics and barbarians; the petty despots and tyrannical kings of Islam around the world-- are all united in their evil vision for all of mankind--and no olive branch; no amount of appeasement; and no appeal to reason and good will is capable of bringing them into the fold of humankind.
Andy McCarthy wrote just yesterday:
We've been told for some time now — against common sense and the weight of our own national experience — that the way to defeat international jihadism is to spread democracy.
So now the Lebanese democracy can't control Hezbollah (which has been freely elected and controls about a fifth of its legislature), while the Palestinian Authority IS Hamas (the Palestinian people having democratically put them in power).
How much do we figure that Israel is hoping democracy breaks out in Egypt, with the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic Jihad waiting in the wings? All it needs right about now is yet another democratic neighbor.
Democracy has many enduring benefits, but it doesn't stop terrorists from operating — and in many ways, it makes life easier for them. When are we going to stop talking about it as a national security cure-all?
We have to kill al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and the rest. This is harder work than the administration's rhetoric is preparing the nation for. We are not going to democratize these savages into submission.
America has just celebrated its 230th birthday--and yet, we are continuing to find homegrown terrorists on our own soil. Some of these pathetic people have had the benefits of freedom and choice for their entire lives--but the poison of Islam is strong, and they are determined--along with their Islamic brothers--to destroy any free country that stands in the way of their vision.
They hate America because, when freedom reigns, their sad beliefs will never be more than in the minority. When people are free to choose, and not killed for apostasy for not choosing Islam, they will be unable to force their beliefs on others. Because, make no mistake about it, Islam is the 21st century's totalitarianism. Just as socialism and communism were the 20th century's.
After two world wars, humanity had pretty much rid itself of the bane of socialism and its more immature sibling communism. Only to see it rise up again, hanging on the coattails of Islam.
I wrote in an earlier piece:
Leaders like the Mullahs and Ahmadinejad in Iran and Hamas in Gaza are acting in ways that will facilitate a confrontation. They foolishly believe that the West will back down--if not because of a belief in the superiority of Islam; then from doubts about the superiority of Western values and from a reluctance to act decisively and ruthlessly.
The psychopathic elements in Islam believe this is our fundamental weakness; but they are wrong. This is actually our fundamental strength. President Bush has bet that Islam can be changed if it is infused with some democratic opportunities and freed from some of the political and religious tyranny that has dominated the Middle East. If such a democratizing process had been started--and carried through-- a decade or two earlier, well who knows how much the situation might have changed by now?
And, contrary to the infantile imaginings of the antiwar and so-called "peace" movements, [who have all the fervor of true marxists awaiting their worker's paradise], Bush's strategy actually represents the Best. Possible. Hope. For. Peace.
It is a strategy that faces the grim reality of Islamic contradictions and historical brutality; yet has enough optimism and goodwill in it to be genuinely worth the price we are paying. If it works, millions of deaths might be prevented. And if the peace crowd really cares about peace, then they would do well to reconsider their own antics.
Because, if the left succeeds in its determination to undermine American policy as it is now formulated; or if the extremists succeed in eliminating any voices for moderation and tolerance; then there will be only one strategic option open.
I hope I am wrong about all this, because many lives lie in the balance. But I think that the recent actions of Hamas and Hisbollah; the fact that Iran will not accept even a sweetheart deal offered to it by the US and EU to abandon their nuclear ambitions; and the fact that both Iran and Syria are actively undermining Iraqi freedom; that all these things represent a irreversible tipping point.
Even the dhimmist bulb in the EU; the most deliberately and consciously delusional member of the international peace crowd cannot fail to see the lack of good will; the perverse determination to provoke war; and the genocidal glint in the eyes of Islam's brightest stars.
The answer to that all-important question upon which the fate of the world hangs is... NO.
UPDATE: TigerHawk has more analysis of exactly some of these points:
Average Abdul will, however, risk his life for an idea, just as al Qaeda's jihadis or Hezbollah's soldiers do. Once, that idea was pan-Arabism, or Communism. Today, both are discredited. "Moderate Islam," whatever that means in a dusty town in Syria, Jordan or Egypt, obviously does not have the fire to motivate Abdul to risk his life to fight the Islamists. The only idea with the juice to do the job is popular sovereignty. Democracy. This is the heart of the realist case for the Bush administration's "democratization strategy."
The jihadis understand this, and fight against democracy in the Arab world with everything they've got.
In fighting against democracy in the Arab world, the jihadis polarize Arabs. While many decry this polarization as "instability," by its nature polarization creates more enemies of the jihad. Some of these new enemies of jihad will be disgusted with al Qaeda's mass casualty attacks, or blame Hezbollah for the war that follows. Others will be inspired by their last, best chance at representative government. Either way, enemies of the jihad pick up a weapon, walk a post and -- most importantly -- drop a dime on their enemy, even if they hate Israelis and don't much like Americans. Wherever a reasonably representative government emerges, Average Abdul will start to turn in the jihadis in the back of the mosque, now for his own reasons.
Of course, the clown regimes will also try to subvert the democracy movement, which is ultimately as great a threat to their longevity as al Qaeda or Hezbollah. That is why they are at least tacitly supporting the resistance in Iraq and fighting political reforms in their own countries tooth and nail, hammer and tongs.
Read the entire post. He is not as pessimistic as I am and makes a good case that introducing the idea of democracy and freedom into that region may be most useful in facilitating a "destruction from within"--much as was done to communism and socialism.
(Note: Linked to the open trackback at StopTheACLU)