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FROM THE ANTHOLOGY: Essays for the Presidency

Bridges, Bombs, or Bluster?

A woman passes rubble at a site of an explosion at the al-Muhaya expatriot housing compound in the Wadi Laban suburb, west of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, November 11, 2003. Sultan Al Fahed / Reuters

EITHER, OR

Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.

There are only two powers now in the world. One is America, which is tyrannical and oppressive. The other is a warrior who has not yet been awakened from his slumber and that warrior is Islam.

Make no mistake about it: the choice for sure is between two visions of the world.

Few readers will fail to identify the first quotation cited above: it was uttered by President George W. Bush, speaking soon after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Few readers, similarly, will be surprised to learn that the second quote came from a Sunni Muslim cleric in Baghdad, Imam Mouaid al-Ubaidi. The third quote, however, may be a bit harder to identify: it was spoken by French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin, describing the different world

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