Wednesday, October 29, 2003

LESSON IN TERROR: Matthew Yglesias points to this little nugget by NRO's David Frum. Frum writes about the upside and the great lessons terrorism teaches us--or, to be more exact, Arabs.

The grisly events in Baghdad shock and horrify--but they also underscore the logic of the Iraq campaign. So long as the victims of terrorism were Westerners, it was not going to be easy to persuade the people of the Middle East of the moral wrongness of terror. You will sometimes hear moderate Palestinians condemn suicide bombing as "counter-productive," but almost never as "immoral." Alas, that's just how human beings are: We accept the sufferings of others with remarkable calm. Now, though, the Islamic extremists are turning their violence on the people of Baghdad and institutions that serve those people. It's as vivid a lesson as possible of what is at issue in the war on terror--and precisely the kind of lesson most likely to change minds in the Arab world.
So why didn't we just fly planes into buildings in Baghad or bomb heavily populated residential areas? Last time the terrorists killed innocent Iraqis at the United Nations, it was a good sign because they were hitting soft targets. Even if this wasn't an insane suggestion (and it is), it would inflame the anti-American sentiment.

I wonder if Frum agrees that 9/11 was a lesson for what the American government did in, say, Chile or Iran.


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