From a strictly military perspective, Iraq represents a stunning victory for America. But as capably as American forces prevailed over Saddam Hussein on the field of battle, the post war effort has been frustrating, to say the least. Efforts to elevate Iraq's new government to a modern version of the democratic process, despite seeming so close to the final goal, are regularly discouraged and stalled.
The reasons for this quandary are simple, yet fundamentally profound. In short, democracy, or any of its derivatives (as is our own representative republic), cannot create or uplift a culture. Rather, they will only ever succeed at reflecting it.
To the degree that "democracy" has succeeded in western civilization, it has done so as a result of an inherent regard for the rights of all, including the weak, which itself is rooted in the Christian belief system undergirding that civilization. Among those cultures that do not inherently recognize such truths, "democracy," if it is to succeed at all, must be imposed by an outside force.
Though such an assessment may sound arrogant and elitist, historical facts bear it out. President Bush has conceded as much with his inarguable assertion that America cannot presently leave Iraq, for fear that it would quickly descend into chaos, followed by civil war. The result of which would be dominance by the strongest Muslim faction, with little hope of harmony or justice for any weaker factions.
In Afghanistan, the situation is no different. Consider the plight of Abdul Rahman, a convert to Christianity who had been condemned to death as a result of his abandonment of Islam. Were it not for intense outside pressure on the Afghani government, particularly from the United States, his fate would have been sealed.
Free and open societies will not spontaneously arise from the rubble of conflict and theocratic dictatorship in the Middle East. Respect for the rights of individuals with whom the powerful disagree is neither an inherent element of human nature, nor a basic tenet of Islam. In the absence of U.S. influence, Rahman's "rights" would be nonexistent.
Unfortunately, though President Bush seems to possess a clear understanding of such cause-and-effect relationships in the Middle East, he simultaneously appears to be oblivious to their reality within the borders of his own country (or at least what remains of those borders).
Every time the issue of illegal immigration is brought to his attention, his assessment of it is as disconnected with reality as anyone who might expect Sunnis and Shiites to gather in the streets of Baghdad in the aftermath of their elections, to join hands and sing "Kumbaya."
Ongoing problems in Iraq are neither economic nor logistical. They are cultural. But lest Americans become smug in the comparative order and serenity of their present society, they should be gravely aware of those things that threaten its future stability, chief among which is the enormous influx of illegal aliens from Mexico and beyond. The massive demonstrations held this past weekend stand as stark evidence of a looming danger.
Despite constant assertions from the White House and some in Congress, a common "desire for freedom and prosperity" is no unifying force that might automatically generate good Americans out of the invaders. And while many immigrants have historically aspired to the highest American ideals, those who trample its laws to seize its fruits, by definition, do not.
Nor should they be expected to yearn for assimilation into a culture that is increasingly treated with contempt by America's own academic elites, is only selectively invoked as a tool by manipulative politicians, and is ultimately dismissed as a matter of complete irrelevance by economic pragmatists, and now the President.
Moreover, the illegal alien controversy is not merely a matter of post 9-11 security concerns, as is so wrongly asserted by many, including even some prominent conservatives. It was a problem long before that. This nation's citizens are properly alarmed about an unchecked influx of enormous invading hordes who make it unmistakably clear that they have absolutely no desire to be Americans.
It is na´ve to expect that the present, dire situation will somehow correct itself. The twelve million illegals, presently residing in the United States are not enough to satisfy those who benefit financially from their labors here. No amount will ever be enough. In order for exploitative business owners to maintain a "downward pressure" on the wages of these laborers, the influx must be continuous and rampant.
Meanwhile, businesses profiting by paying substandard wages are perfectly willing to increase their margins while letting taxpayers make up the difference in benefits and services. So, the present situation (endorsed by Bush) will result in ever-escalating numbers with growing political clout, but no intention or incentive to ever assimilate into America's vanishing "melting pot."
If five-hundred thousand, protesting in the streets of Los Angeles, can extort such concessions as they have just garnered from the United States Senate, imagine what demands they will make when their marching armies grow to two or four times that number.
Dramatic though the Islamist "Doomsday Scenario" might seem, the United States is not likely to suddenly vanish into a blinding fireball from terrorist nuclear devices smuggled into the country. But as evidenced by the scope and brazenness of this week's protests, a far more advanced and insidious menace to traditional America threatens its future.
© Chris Adamo
The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.