Sunday, March 01, 2015

Bring Back the Bush Doctrine—with One Addition

Bring Back the Bush Doctrine—with One Addition

It is often said that we lack a strategy for defeating our enemies. Actually, we have had a strategy for 14 years, ever since the fleeting moment of clarity right after the 9/11 attacks.

That strategy is called the Bush Doctrine, and it remains the only one that has any chance of working . . . at least if we add a small but crucial addendum — one that should have been obvious enough back in 2001, and that hard lessons of history have now made inescapable.

The Bush Doctrine has become the source of copious rebuke. On the left, that’s because of that four-letter word (hint: It’s not “Doctrine”). On the right, there have been plenty of catcalls, too. The reaction, however, has been against what the Bush Doctrine evolved into, not against the Bush Doctrine as it was first announced. The unadorned Bush Doctrine had two straightforward parts. First, because violent jihadists launch attacks against the United States when they have safe havens from which to plot and train, we must hunt down those terrorists wherever on earth they operate. Second, the nations of the world must be put to a choice: You are with us or you are with the terrorists. Period — no middle ground. If you are with the terrorists, you will be regarded, as they are regarded, as an enemy of the United States.


The Bush Doctrine, by contrast, is the path to victory — if we get that one addendum right.

It is this: Our enemies are not driven by American foreign policy, our friendship with Israel, our detention of jihadists at Gitmo, or the supposed “arrogance” our current president likes to apologize for. Those are all pretexts for aggression.

Our enemies are driven by an ideology, Islamic supremacism, that is rooted in a classical interpretation of sharia — Islamic law. Islamic supremacism is rabidly anti-American, anti-Western, and anti-Semitic. It rejects the fundamental premise of our liberty: that people are free to govern themselves, rather than be ruled by a totalitarian legal code that suffocates liberty and brutally discriminates against non-Muslims and apostates. And sharia is an actual war on women — denying them equal rights under the law, subjecting them to unthinkable abuse, and reducing them in many ways to chattel.

In the “you are with us or you are with the terrorists” view of national security, any Muslim nation, organization, or individual that adheres to Islamic supremacism is on the wrong side. Failing to come to terms with that brute fact is where the Bush Doctrine went awry.

Sharia and Western democracy cannot coexist. They are antithetical to each other. So insists Sheikh Yussuf Qaradawi, the Muslim Brotherhood jurist who is the world’s most influential Islamic scholar. It may be the only thing we should agree with him about.

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