Thus, Islamism must be opposed, and in fact the war in Iraq is a battle in that larger war. Under Saddam Hussein, Iraq gave significant political and financial support to Islamist organizations such as Hamas. Regarding Iraqi links with al-Qaida, a controversial subject, it is too soon to draw definitive conclusions. Honest people should reserve judgment until the captured Iraqi archives are fully explored. But whatever the evidence ultimately shows about the extent of Saddam’s relations with Islamists, there is no doubt that today, Islamists covet Mesopotamia. Seizing Baghdad, the capital of the Caliphate that Islamists want to restore, would be a tremendous morale booster. By the same token, our helping to establish a stable liberal democracy in Iraq would be an immense loss for them. The stakes are high. It may be possible to win the war against Islamism even if we abandon Iraq, but it would be more difficult. What is not possible is to withdraw from the struggle. The Islamists have declared war against the U.S., the other liberal democracies, even Muslim governments that don’t toe their line. Appeasement is impossible; concessions simply whet their appetites. Fleeing Iraq would demonstrate that we don’t have the stomach for this long-term fight. Moreover, it would win new recruits for Islamism, as fence-sitters always come down on the side that seems to be prevailing. Our own security would inevitably suffer. Frankly, it’s a mystery why the most imperialistic, malevolent political force in the world arouses so little passion among my fellow Democrats. Hostility toward Islamism should come as naturally to us as hostility towards Nazism. If we adopted this war for civilization and freedom as our own, we would surely do better than Bush has done. Instead, the only merchandise we offer voters is “out of Iraq.” It’s very disappointing. Paul Kujawsky is a member of the California Democratic Party Central Committee. Write to him by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! THE recent California Democratic Party Convention in San Diego was a pleasure for my fellow party activists, the vast majority of whom favor U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Seven of our eight declared presidential candidates appeared. All of them promised to bring the troops home (or “end the occupation”) as early as Inauguration Day. But no candidate offered a vision for winning the war against Islamism. They correctly judged that there wasn’t much of a market for such goods at this convention. So it seems that in 2008 voters will choose between a Republican Party which is serious about the war against Islamism but isn’t very good at it, and a Democratic Party which has little or nothing to say about it beyond “Bush lied.” It’s a dismal prospect, because the struggle between civilization and Islamism remains this generation’s greatest challenge. Islamism, or Islamofascism (not Islam itself) rivals Nazism in its propensity for mass murder, contempt for the “other,” and lust for conquest. It is a profoundly illiberal philosophy, as demonstrated by the overthrown Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the mullocracy in Iran. These reveal girls excluded from even elementary education, women stoned to death for “adultery” (in some cases, for being raped without male witnesses), religious minorities savagely persecuted, and the human rights of entire populations trampled underfoot. The spread of Islamism is a tragedy for all who fall within its grasp, yet the Islamists aim for nothing less than world domination.