Girls (and Boys) Just Wanna Have Freedom

Apparently, if we’re to go by the reaction in Kabul, while, as the old song goes, “girls just wanna have fun,” what they really want is freedom. So do boys.

Opinion Journal’s Claudia Rossett has a good follow up to Michael Ledeen’s piece yesterday on the US as fomenter of revolution. We are also (often, unfortunately, with inadequate justification as of late) still a symbol of liberty worldwide, as becomes clear whenever and whereever the boot of oppression is lifted from silent throats, and people can speak their minds and hearts.

As we wonder what lies ahead most prominently in Iraq, but also across the rest of the Islamic world, what we must keep in mind is this universal human cry. America is a land that stands for liberty, and in this we have allies–however silent they may now be–among repressed people everywhere. We can debate how best to get our message out. In waging war we need not only faith in our own values, but strategy on the ground. But in understanding what lies locked up in the tyrannies of the world, it will be important to remember the shouts in Kabul this week: “America, America!”

The images from liberated Afghanistan shows that America is much more than a place–it is still an idea–one of the most powerful ideas ever conceived–that calls to people all over the planet. I hope that we can continue to live up to the reputation, perhaps even better than we have in the past, at least the recent past. For much of the world (particularly the Muslim world), the status quo is not liberty. It’s past time for the folks at Foggy Bottom to end their mindless worship of stability, and once again orient our policy in support of the values on which this country was founded.