Why we fight with one arm tied behind our backs

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As a postscript to Michael Ledeen's House testimony on encouraging peaceful revolution in Iran, here's a post from Belmont Club's Wretchard. It features three writers, of different views, whom I respect greatly: Oxford Prof. Timothy Garton Ash, who did such brilliant reporting and writing on the peaceful revolutions in eastern Europe; Col. Austin Bay of Texas, whose always incisive analysis is informed by his service as a reservist in Iraq; and Richard Fernandez (Wretchard), a native of the Philippines and student of history who now writes from Australia. Only in the blogosphere: an interchange between Oxford, San Antonio, and Sydney.

I want to quote the whole thing.

"Austin Bay quotes Timothy Garton Ash with respect to what America doesn't do in the field of information warfare.

Our universities should invite their academics and students, who have often been in the vanguard of standing up for free speech and human rights in Iran. Our newspapers and journalism schools should bring over their journalists. Our trade unions should hitch up with their unionists, some of whom have organized major strikes. Our parliaments should establish links with their parliament which, though far from fully democratic, has been giving [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad a rough ride.

Writers, artists, and filmmakers should be encouraged to travel to and fro, carrying ideas in both directions. Women's movements in Iran, representing half the population systematically discriminated against, should be supported by women's movements in Europe. Iran's Islamic thinkers and jurists, both reformist modernizers and conservatives, should be engaged in dialogue by theologians and scholars from other faith traditions. All this should be done less by our governments than by our own societies, and not just by America and Britain–traditionally distrusted by many Iranians–but by all European countries, working separately and together. We need a European Iranpolitik.

"The underlying reason why America is doing so poorly in the field of 'information warfare' against the jihad is that its traditional organs of articulation–the academy, media, Hollywood–are largely hostile to the war on terror itself. It's conceivable that an Iranian might flee persecution only to be taught at a U.S. university that he ought to embrace it by the many academic departments whose point of view is exactly that. In a fundamental sense, the war on terror is twinned to the greatest single issue dividing the left and the right, which is whether the United States, as a nation, is legitimate or whether, as some would maintain, it is Amerika: an abomination whose demise must be hastened by any means necessary."

I'd amend this in one way. When Fernandez says "the greatest single issue dividing the left and right," I'd like to specify that the left does not include by any means all of the Democratic Party, the academy, media, Hollywood—just an uncomfortably large part of it. And in the case of academia, or at least the humanities and soft social sciences part of academia, most of it. They are not with us in the struggle against Islamist jihad. They may not want us to lose, indeed like children they don't take seriously the idea that there is any great struggle in which the adults they depend on could lose, but they sure don't want us to win.