I listened to Bush’s speech at the National Endowment for Democracy on the War on Terror. I thought that while his description of the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan was much too rosy, he made some powerful points. I agree with his comparison of Islamofascism to communist and Nazi totalitarianism. I agree that appeasement and compromise are not the way to deal with this thread. However, one specific point Bush cited as evidence that Islamofascist terrorism is not driven primarily by the actions of Western countries was misleading:
The government of Russia did not support Operation Iraqi Freedom, and yet militants killed more than 180 Russian school children in Beslan.
True, of course, but radical Islamic terrorism in Russia is largely a reaction to the Russian government’s brutal, not to say genocidal, occupation of Chechnya. I hasten to say that this is not an excuse or a justification for terrorism, or a call to “understand” the terrorists. Nothing justifies the deliberate murder of helpless civilians, be they children or adults. But the point is that Russia was not simply randomly targeted because the Islamic radicals seek to sow terror everywhere.
That said, I agree with Bush on this:
In fact, we’re not facing a set of grievances that can be soothed and addressed. We’re facing a radical ideology with unalterable objectives: to enslave whole nations and intimidate the world.
That’s a valid and important point, and there’s no need to bend the facts to prove it.