Bernard-Henri Lévy writes from Iraqi Kurdistan:
The line that “our fight is your fight; in defending our country we’re also defending yours” — is it not a classic refrain of all the wars of resistance and liberation that I have covered for 40 years?
Except here there’s a difference, or rather two differences.
First, it is truer than ever before. It is literally, concretely, and technically true. Those behind the execution of the Charlie Hebdo staff, the backers of the killings in Brussels and at the kosher market in Paris, those who inspired the twin shootings in Copenhagen, the beheaders of the Egyptian Copts in Libya, it is here that they are being confronted and contained; it is here that the Kurds could begin to bring them down if they had the means.
Most of all, it is here that we have allies with whom — and this is so rarely the case — we share not only war aims but also values. Secularism. Respect for women. Political and religious pluralism. Christians and Yazidis fighting alongside their Muslim comrades. An Arab minority, some of whom are not afraid to admit that they are not believers. I think back to the Afghans who were armed to fight the Soviet Union and became the Taliban. I think back to those African dictators whose armies we equipped because of Boko Haram. I hear myself advocating for the chebabs of Benghazi while imagining that they could one day make bad use of their equipment. Is this not the first time in this region that we are being called to the rescue of people whom we know to have a vision of the world and of society, as well as an idea of war, that in all respects resembles ours? Is this not the first case in a very long time where our military interests coincide with the defense of our ideals?
Yes and yes.