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America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
-- John Quincy Adams

Pat Buchanan quoted this on Meet the Press last Sunday. I agree with it. The problem is that I disagree with Buchanan that if we leave the monsters abroad alone, that they will leave us alone.

Buchanan sat next to Natan Sharansky on this occasion, the author of the popular "The Case for Democracy," which Bush has drawn significantly from recently. Sharansky -- a human rights activist, Russian gulag prisoner for nine years, and now Israeli Minister -- argued that the U.S. was attacked because it is the leader of the free world. Because the free world threatens their way of life, and we are the symbol of that, so we are a target.

This is really the crux of the argument about Iraq, apart from whether the enterprise can succeed: is it in our interests to bring democracy to Iraq? Is it in our interests to prevent nukes in Iran? If we leave them alone, will they leave us alone?

200 years ago, in the days of Adams and his son, the answer was yes. Today, I believe it is no.

Whether our mission to bring democracy to the Middle East will succeed is another matter, and we can only try our best and hope and pray.

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"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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