Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The War on Terror Is a War of Values

There's an important post by Digby, suggesting a new theme for Democrats: we should lead the war on terror because, at heart, it's a war on fundamentalism:

We start by having the womens' groups decrying the Islamic FUNDAMENTALIST view of womens rights. These FUNDAMENTALISTS want to roll back the clock and make women answer to men. In AMERICA we don't believe in that. Then we have the Human Rights Campaign loudly criticizing the Islamic FUNDAMENTALISTS for it's treatment of gays. In AMERICA we believe that all people have inalienable rights. The ACLU puts out a statement about the lack of civil liberties in Islamic FUNDAMENTALIST theocracies. In AMERICA we believe in the Bill of Rights, not the word of unelected mullahs.

Good idea. Take it further: Democrats have always led the war on fundamentalism. Liberalism is the opposite of fundamentalism. We are the party that stands for American values, the opposite of everything the Taliban and their ilk believe. Democrats represent equality, freedom, justice, the rule of law, everything we're supposed to be fighting for around the world, in Afghanistan (and, now that we have no choice, in Iraq).

And Republicans have fundamentally misunderstood the nature of the war on terror. They've failed to see that it's a moral struggle, a struggle about values. They think we can win by dragging America through the dirt. They want to throw away our Constitution by holding people forever without trial; they want to turn a blind eye to torture; they want to quiet dissent. Just look at Bush's expression when someone asks him a hard question.

They don't understand that we win by being good, by being the good guys. Strength means more than military power--you have to be strong in your heart, strong enough to win without debasing yourself. In a war for hearts and minds, you can't win any other way.

This is why people like Sean Hannity are on the wrong side. His book is called "Deliver Us from Evil: Defeating Terrorism, Despotism, and Liberalism." (On principle, I'm not providing a link.) "Defeating Liberalism" is Osama bin Laden's job, not ours. It's what Mullah Omar tries to do every day. It's what Kim Jong Il has mastered in North Korea.

Defeating terrorism is liberalism. The war on terror is a war of values between liberals and fundamentalists. Time to pick sides.