Almost simultaneously with President Bush’s inaugural address, the terrorists in Iraq released a tape recording purporting to come from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. President Bush’s ringing call for world-wide democracy explicitly joined American self-interest to the progress, and especially the self-government, of all people. This was not a new theme for the President–not new, anyway, to those who have been paying attention. He has long said that the only long-term solution to the problem of Arab terrorism is the reform, and above all the democratization, of the Arab world.
The President’s speech was derided by all those whom you would expect to be dismissive, and even by some who are not among the usual suspects. For some reason, however, I haven’t seen much comment, if any, on the parallel between Bush’s speech and Zarqawi’s audio tape. Whatever skeptical liberals may think about democracy as the cure for Islamic terror, Zarqawi is not in doubt. He shares Bush’s view that terrorism cannot coexist with democracy. I haven’t been able to find a complete transcript of the tape, but this is how the Associated Press quotes Zarqawi:
We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology. Anyone who tries to help set up this system is part of it.
Zarqawi added that all Iraqis who vote in the election are “infidels.”
Battle lines have been drawn. It’s too bad so many liberals can’t figure out which side of the line they’re on.
UPDATE: Austin Bay had some similar thoughts earlier today.
ONE MORE: Haider Ajina pointed out that Kerry Manthey, a soldier serving in Iraq whose blog we have linked to before, has also weighed in. An excerpt:
I read in the news today that Zarqawi is