Fouad Ajami looks back on 9/11 and Obama's "good war" in Afghanistan.
Eight years ago, we were visited by the furies of Arab lands. We were rudely awakened from a decade whose gurus and pundits had announced the end of ideology, of politics itself, and the triumph of the world-wide Web and the "electronic herd." We had discovered that on the other side of the world masterminds of terror, and preachers, and their foot-soldiers were telling of America the most sordid of tales. We had become, without knowing it, a party to a civil war in the Arab-Islamic world between the autocrats and their disaffected children, between those who wanted to live a normal life and warriors of the faith bent on imposing their will on that troubled arc of geography.
Afghanistan belongs to Obama now. He campaigned against George W. Bush on the notion that Iraq was the wrong war. Afghanistan was where we have to carry the fight to defeat al Qaeda, he said over and over. But like everything else he said in the run up to November 2008, it was all campaign talk, intended only to win him the brass ring. Well, he's got the brass ring now, and fortunately Iraq was mostly stabilized before he got it. But things aren't going so well in Afghanistan, and Afghanistan is his baby now. So far, Obama's only discernible policies are to reward special interests with stimulus money and to continue giving campaign speeches. How's that going to work in Afghanistan?