September 9, 2004 [LINK]

The power of liberty

Military affairs writer (and reserve officer) Austin Bay has just returned from Iraq, as confident as ever in the U.S.-led cause. In Strategy Page, he does call attention to one weak spot in U.S. strategy, however:

If there is one mistake I think we've made in fighting this war, it's been the way we've soft-pedaled the ideological dimensions. This really is a fight for the future, between our free, open political system and the unholy alliance of despots and Islamo-fascists whose very existence depends on denying liberty. ... The lesson of 9-11, three years on, is that liberty must sustain a focused offensive if it is to survive.

That reminds me of a point made by John Kerry during the Democratic convention: He stressed that military power is never enough, that we need to supplement violent means with the force of ideas. That is quite correct, of course, but the irony is that Kerry himself is so timid about proclaiming U.S. values. When is the last time you heard him boldly championing individual liberty? As a committed collectivist, of course, he simply can't.

NOTE: This is a "post facto" blog post, taken from the pre-November 2004 archives.