I love Mark Steyn. If you don't have time to read his whole column (and who wouldn't have a few minutes for such a treat?), at least get a little fix here:
[M]y point is there's no mass anti-war movement. Some commentators claimed to be puzzled by the low turnout at a time when the polls show Iraq increasingly unpopular. But there are two kinds of persons objecting to the war: There's a shriveled Sheehan-Sheen left that's in effect urging on American failure in Iraq, and there's a potentially far larger group to their right that's increasingly wary of the official conception of the war. The latter don't want America to lose, they want to win — decisively. And on the day's headlines — on everything from the Danish cartoon jihad to the Afghan facing death for apostasy — the fainthearted response of "public diplomacy" is in danger of sounding only marginally less nutty than Charlie Sheen.
The line here is "respect." Everybody's busy professing their "respect": We all "respect" Islam; presidents and prime ministers and foreign ministers, lapsing so routinely into the deep-respect-for-the-religion-of-peace routine they forget that cumulatively it begins to sound less like "Let's roll!" and too often like "Let's roll over!"
Jack Straw, the British foreign secretary, gave a typical Western government official's speech the other day explaining that "a large number of Muslims in this country were — understandably — upset by those cartoons being reprinted across Europe and at their deeply held beliefs being insulted. They expressed their hurt and outrage but did so in a way which epitomized the learned, peaceful religion of Islam."
"The learned, peaceful religion of Islam"? And that would be the guys marching through London with placards reading "BEHEAD THE ENEMIES OF ISLAM" and "FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION IS WESTERN TERRORISM" and promising to rain down a new Holocaust on Europe? This is geopolitics as the Aretha Franklin Doctrine: The more the world professes its R-E-S-P-E-C-T, the more the Islamists sock it to us.
To win a war, you don't spin a war. Millions of ordinary citizens are not going to stick with a "long war" (as the administration now calls it) if they feel they're being dissembled to about its nature. One reason we regard Churchill as a great man is that his speeches about the nature of the enemy don't require unspinning or detriangulating.
Here's the Australian treasurer, Peter Costello, with advice for Western Muslims who want to live under Islamic law: "There are countries that apply religious or sharia law — Saudi Arabia and Iran come to mind. If a person wants to live under sharia law these are countries where they might feel at ease. But not Australia."
You don't say. Which is the point: Most Western government leaders don't say, and their silence is correctly read by a resurgent Islam as timidity. I also appreciated this pithy summation by my favorite foreigner minister, Alexander Downer: "Multilateralism is a synonym for an ineffective and unfocused policy involving internationalism of the lowest common denominator." See Sudanese slaughter, Iranian nukes, the U.N.'s flop response to the tsunami, etc. It's a good thing being an Aussie Cabinet minister doesn't require confirmation by John Kerry and Joe Biden.
My dear, deceased father was no fan of the Vietnan War, but as a WWII veteran, I distinctly remember him listening to news about police actions, shaking his head, and saying "You fight a war to win. Otherwise, you've already lost."