Them and us 139

The US was right to invade Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein, and right to invade Afghanistan where the 9/11 attack on America was plotted. In both cases war was the answer.

In both cases it was wrong to stay on to attempt “nation-building”.

But once that sentimental policy was decided on, the essential thing for the US to achieve in each case was a constitution of liberty.

Both Iraq and Afghanistan got new constitutions, but neither enshrines liberty. They enshrine sharia law, and where sharia prevails, liberty is shut out.

Andrew McCarthy writes trenchantly about the tragic failure of America’s vision and the ultimate futility of its struggles in Afghanistan and Iraq:

In 2006, a Christian convert named Abdul Rahman was tried for apostasy [in Afghanistan]. The episode prompted a groundswell of international criticism. In the end, Abdul Rahman was whisked out of the country before his execution could be carried out. A fig leaf was placed over the mess: The prospect of execution had been rendered unjust by the (perfectly sane) defendant’s purported mental illness — after all, who in his right mind would convert from Islam? His life was spared, but the Afghans never backed down from their insistence that a Muslim’s renunciation of Islam is a capital offense and that death is the mandated sentence.

Mainstream Islamic scholarship holds that apostasy, certainly once it is publicly revealed, warrants the death penalty.

Having hailed the Afghan constitution as the start of a democratic tsunami, the startled Bush administration made all the predictable arguments against Abdul Rahman’s apostasy prosecution. Diplomats and nation-building enthusiasts pointed in panic at the vague, lofty language injected into the Afghan constitution to obscure Islamic law’s harsh reality — spoons full of sugar that had helped the sharia go down. The constitution assures religious freedom, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice maintained. …

Read the fine print. It actually qualifies that all purported guarantees of personal and religious liberty are subject to Islamic law and Afghanistan’s commitment to being an Islamic state. We were supposed to celebrate this, just as the State Department did, because Islam is the “religion of peace” whose principles are just like ours — that’s why it was so ready for democracy.

It wasn’t so. Sharia is very different from Western law, and it couldn’t care less what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights has to say on the matter of apostasy. …

The constitution that the State Department bragged about helping the new Afghan “democracy” draft established Islam as the state religion and installed sharia as a principal source of law. That constitution therefore fully supports the state killing of apostates. Case closed.

The purpose of real democracy, meaning Western republican democracy, is to promote individual liberty, the engine of human prosperity. No nation that establishes a state religion, installs its totalitarian legal code, and hence denies its citizens freedom of conscience, can ever be a democracy — no matter how many “free” elections it holds. Afghanistan is not a democracy. It is an Islamic sharia state.

To grasp this, one need only read the first three articles of its constitution:

1. Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic, independent, unitary, and indivisible state.

2. The religion of the state of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is the sacred religion of Islam. …

3. In Afghanistan, no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam. …

Was that what you figured we were doing when you heard we were “promoting democracy”? Is that a mission you would have agreed to commit our armed forces to accomplish? Yet, that’s what we’re fighting for. The War On Terror hasn’t been about 9/11 for a very long time. You may think our troops are in Afghanistan to defeat al-Qaeda and the Taliban — that’s what you’re told every time somebody has the temerity to suggest that we should leave. Our commanders, however, have acknowledged that destroying the enemy is not our objective. In fact, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former top U.S. commander, said what is happening in Afghanistan is not even our war. …

It’s not our war, nor is it something those running it contemplate winning. … Indeed, the administration had concluded … that the war could not be won “militarily.”

Afghanistan is not an American war anymore. It’s a political experiment: Can we lay the foundation for Islamic social justice, hang a “democracy” label on it, and convince Americans that we’ve won, that all the blood and treasure have been worth it? The same thing, by the way, has been done in Iraq.

The affront here is our own betrayal of our own principles. The Islamic democracy project is not democratizing the Muslim world. It is degrading individual liberty by masquerading sharia, in its most draconian form, as democracy. The only worthy reason for dispatching our young men and women in uniform to Islamic countries is to destroy America’s enemies. Our armed forces are not agents of Islamic social justice, and stabilizing a sharia state so its children can learn to hate the West as much as their parents do is not a mission the American people would ever have endorsed. It is past time to end this failed experiment.

Yes, it is way past time. Leave them now to do it their way.

And it is past time to dispel the sweet illusion of good-hearted Americans that all Others are the same as Us in their values, wants, and desires. They are not.