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Webb v. Allen; Will v. Steyn

Friday, February 17, 2006  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt
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Here’s the new World column on Allen v. Webb.

And here is a key excerpt from yesterday’s interview with Mark Steyn:

HH: Well, this raises a delicate question. Before there was Mark Steyn, there was and remains George Will. And I think many of us in the business of opinion journalism respect his work over a long period of time. But I’m beginning to worry if he’s going Pat Buchanan on us, Mark Steyn. Today he wrote a column blasting the idea that the authorization for the use of military force somehow authorized the president to conduct surveillance on al Qaeda. And Andrew McCarthy answered this at National Review. But it’s an absurd column by one of the elder statesmen of conservatism. What’s going on?

MS: Well, I think George Will is like a lot of conservatives. I like George Will enormously, but, and he’s got a very sharp mind. But he doesn’t basically accept the premise of the Bush doctrine, which is that you can somehow change the culture of our enemies’ states, in other words, the Middle Eastern states, Afghanistan, Pakistan, that you can somehow change them, and make them more like us. And you’re right…he’s right to an extent that you can’t give liberty to people. They have to want it. But on the other hand, it’s a hard job, but there’s actually not much alternative to it. You have to somehow say to these people you have to find a way to reach an accommodation between your religion and the modern world, because just saying it can’t be done is no answer to anything. That condemns us all, essentially, to a majority Muslim planet in which American will be isolated and very short of friends. And the Bush doctrine is a long shot, but it’s better than just consigning ourselves to hopelessness. And I respectfully disagree with George Will, and I wish he could see that.

There are serious critics and criticsms of the president and the war. George Will among them. Their arguments are in no way diminished by the nuttiness of the arguments advanced from the left.

But Steyn is exactly right: We can chose to try and defeat our deadliest enemies and in the process reform their institutions –as we did in Germany and Japan– or we can accept attack and eclipse. This is the divide among serious people, and Steyn is on the right side of it.

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