Please begin by reading the paragraph below from an article titled "Hating America".
America is built on an idea, namely liberty; but far from being divorced from reality, it is an idea that Americans have realized, developed, and successfully exported for more than two centuries. We have demonstrated the depth of our commitment as a people to this idea by waging a revolution, a civil war, two World Wars, several smaller wars, and the Cold War in its name. It is, in short, an idea that is utterly indissoluble from our own living, breathing, everyday reality. By contrast, much of Western Europe is founded on an idea of itself that is significantly, and dangerously, divorced from reality. That idea, as Robert Kagan explains so adroitly, is that the world has moved beyond the necessity of war. It is a pretty fiction, but a fiction nonetheless. And keeping it alive requires that one ignore dangerous realities—such as the growing problem of militant Islam within Europe’s own borders.
In the excerpt from the article, it is recommended by Robert Kagan (who co-founded the Project for the New American Century with William Kristol) that we never become so far removed from reality to think our world has moved beyond the necessity of war.
When we allow the words "necessity of war" to pass from our lips, it should be passed in an almost sacred manner. War brings the certainty of death to innocents as well as enemy combatants. War brings death to our own troops. War is never to be entered into lightly. War is never to be rushed into by damaging the public's trust with lies and grossly misleading exaggerations.
The war upon Iraq was not a necessity. Never, ever was it necessary to send our troops into harm's way and to alienate our European allies in the process.
President Bush keeps telling us Islamist militants attack us because they "hate" our freedom. This is not true. They want total revolution in their own Muslim lands. We are providing them with the perfect environment for their revolution.
If you listen to Robert Kagan's ideas, you may see where hatred for American freedom has already been a problem and has become a larger problem since Bush took the foreign-policy reins.....but more than in Muslim lands, the hatred grows in Europe.
With hatred growing in Europe, our very hopes and chances to defeat terror are greatly diminished.
We know (now more than ever) that Iraq was no threat to America. It may be in America’s business interest to encourage liberalism and discourage violence in Muslim countries..but obviously it is not a sure bet that it's in America's best security interests to occupy these nations in the hopes of spreading democracy. It isn't worth the war we waged. It's a damned dangerous proposition in today's world of terror-threats within our own borders. We will surely become divorced from reality if we don't see the consequences of our dogmatic interference in the affairs of these lands.
The exportation of liberty from the U.S. to Iraq has been tremendously unsuccessful. The "pretty fiction" of the unnecessity of war was one to which the Bush administration simply could or would not believe, in this case. They were determined to rush to war. Our European allies cautioned us against it. Those wimpy American-hating Europeans had a good point this time. If we weren't so macho-Texas-cocky, we'd have admitted it by now and gotten back humbly with the rest of whatever's left of our civilized world. We need one another, whether we choose to sit and wring our hands about how the Europeans hate us or not.
Robert Kagan has said we cannot divorce ourselves from the reality that war is a necessity and that believing otherwise is "pretty fiction".
The truth, in the case of Iraq, was that war was not a necessity.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said that fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.
Truth wasn't the Bush administration's priority, obviously.
Note: When the author of the article (mentioned/linked above) reduced Gore Vidal to an "anti-American" crank, I knew I was reading someone out of touch with the realities of who Mr. Vidal is and where he's come from. Gore Vidal, from a family of long-standing patriots, understands America..he IS America. Whether or not Europe revels in his writings should be of little consequence. What matters is that we Americans never divert our own eyes from the TRUTH.