Although Tom Friedman’s NYT article is ‘behind the glass’ it is worth finding. He indicts the silence of the Muslim world regarding Iraqi violence. He also makes the point that America has no moral authority to comment on it.
It seems clear that the most critical battle for the future of the Middle East really is the battle of ideas. It takes a great deal of commitment to choose death over life but that is the choice several people in the Middle East make every single week.
Perhaps the best we can hope for long term American engagement in the region is that it will eventually result in a modern day educational Marshall Plan. In that plan, I might envision a frenzy of school and hospital building with young, cheap volunteers interested in making a service commitment and changing the world. Young people from all over the world would be willing to serve in a program like this, maybe with the carrot of an American visa dangling before their eyes. Perhaps this will be the Powell Plan and our currently embarassed general/Secretary of State can restore his standing by being the point person for this kind of long term building process.
Without some serious, concerted effort at actually engaging the Muslim world in an important fashion, nothing critical will change and the choice of death over life will continue to be applauded while the rest of the world sits in stunned, stupid silence.