For what its worth, optimism has historically not been a big player in shaping my world view. The odds are always in your favor when you factor mankind's ancient inability to peacefully co-exist into your geo-political arguments. But all the positive headlines coming across the rss feeds lately must be given their due.
The catalyst for this probably temporary change in perspective was the wall decorations I seen today in my favorite barbecue joint. (thats where the beef is, to all you non-Texans). They have some reproduced old west wanted posters to give you something to look at as your waiting in line. There was Jesse James, Billy the Kid, John Wesley Hardin, and then I came to the Wild Bunch. Butch and Sundance's group of brazen outlaws that had the audacity to pose for a photograph while they were wanted men.
And then I remembered seeing a picture of some Islamic terrorists in a similar proud group picture. Both groups garnered somewhat artificial support from the populaces they were derived from. They both had appeal to mankind's image of romantic resistance to playing by the rules of society. They both could find temporary shelter in a sympathizer's abode, but they both were or will be hunted down and sacrificed on the altar of societal advancement.
I don't give the Muslim world much credit for possessing the ability to objectively reason their way out of the quagmire of oppression and poverty their hate-fueled "religion of peace" has burdened them with for centuries. But I believe the "man from Zarqawi" has finally indiscriminately killed enough of his fellow Islamic adherents to give the entire Muslim world an epiphany. Trying to convince your supporters that electing their own leaders and living in prosperous freedom is wrong is a hard sell to any crowd. That BS is so lame even Osama has to be shaking his head at his wayward prodigal son's approach to caliphate reformation. I just cant see such a pretentiously false message appealing to the masses when they see their own tribesmen bearing the brunt of this Muslim on Muslim violence. Its hard to blame this one on the Zionists. If you have even the slightest ability to reason, you are forced to see what a monster not acknowledging the faults in your own culture has produced.
The main differences between the Wild Bunch and the modern day Terrorist, is that the Wild Bunch was motivated by greed, whereas the Terrorist are motivated by expanding their power and influence within their religious circles. They are pawns in the Islamic Cleric's desire not to lose control over the minds of their oppressed and impoverished flock. But just like the lawlessness of the American west faded away as the blood oozed out of the bullet riddled outlaw's body, freedom and prosperity will eventually cut the jugular vein that supplies the Radical Islamic mindset.
So the recent headlines must be factored into the overall equation. Bush or Cheney has 4 more years to chase down the Islamic cultural warriors, and our anti-insurgency efforts in Iraq will supposedly be joined by 200000 free Iraqi soldiers, fighting to defend their own freedom in the coming year. The Shiites and Kurds seem to have an endless supply of patience in not retaliating against their Arab Sunni brothers that are attempting to provoke a sectarian response from them daily. Everyday the insurgency loses men and equipment. And even the Sunni leaders that are now boycotting the election want to play a political role in shaping the constitution after they are not elected, and it appears they will be allowed to.
The timely death of Arafat has provided an opportunity for the Palestinian people to elect a government that seems willing to compromise on historically hardened positions and police its own citizens in order to give its people a chance at a better life. Arafat was never able to compromise because certain elements of his citizenry would have killed him if he did, but the majority of the Palestinian people now seem willing make the best out of the cards history has dealt them. I cant believe they are really willing to abandon a millennial holy war, but the headlines seem to proclaim a new direction towards peaceful co-existence.
Free elections are popping up all over the Muslim world. Afghanistan and Palestine have just had them, Iraq votes in a couple of days. The common denominator in these three nations is that many consider them "under occupation", but Jordan and Lebanon will be experiencing local elections in the near future as well, and the trend should be unstoppable.
I am starting to see some results of my tax dollars, and my President's actions at work in the region, yet I am not convinced that the region stands on the cusp of permanently joining the civilized free world, and I still believe the clock is ticking on the necessity of forced eradication of the remaining Radical Islamic mindset, but I do see an outside chance that they may be of assistance in its eradication.
Posted By: Redneck Texan