more people are free, the more tolerant they are of others; the more prosperous, the less inclined they are to squander that prosperity on pointless feuding and war.
But our greatest threat, apart from the immediate one of terrorism, is our complacency. When some ascribe, as they do, the upsurge in Islamic extremism to Iraq, do they really forget who killed whom on September 11, 2001? When they call on us to bring the troops home, do they seriously think that this would slake the thirst of these extremists, to say nothing of what it would do to the Iraqis?
Or if we scorned our American allies and told them to go and fight on their own, that somehow we would be spared? If we withdraw from Iraq, they will tell us to withdraw from Afghanistan and, after that, to withdraw from the Middle East completely and, after that, who knows? But one thing is for sure: they have faith in our weakness just as they have faith in their own religious fanaticism. And the weaker we are, the more they will come after us.
It is not easy to persuade people of all this; to say that terrorism and unstable states with WMD are just two sides of the same coin; to tell people what they don’t want to hear; that, in a world in which we in the West enjoy all the pleasures, profound and trivial, of modern existence, we are in grave danger.
There is a battle we have to fight, a struggle we have to win and it is happening now in Iraq.