He’d have done it too, with full-throated support from even most future Lamont voters. Ace finds this terribly shocking and significant for reasons that escape me. What else could he have done? They’d made a giant crematorium in the middle of Manhattan’s financial district. Even Kerry would have reached for the button.

This is old news anyway. The words “back to the stone age” might not have been in circulation before, but the State Department’s “provocative” phone calls to Musharraf in the days after the attack have been public knowledge for years. Mark Steyn wrung an entire column from the subject last month:

One way to measure how the world has changed in these last five years is to consider the extraordinary address to his nation by General Musharraf on Sept. 19, 2001. Pakistan was one of just three countries in the world (along with “our friends the Saudis” and the United Arab Emirates) to recognize the Taliban — and, given that the Pakistanis had helped create and maintain them, they were pretty easy to recognize. President Bush, you’ll recall, had declared that you’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists — which posed a particular problem for Musharraf: He was with us but everyone else in his country was with the terrorists, including his armed forces, his intelligence services, the media, and a gazillion and one crazy imams.

Nonetheless, with American action against Afghanistan on the horizon, he went on TV that night and told the Pakistani people that this was the gravest threat to the country’s existence in over 30 years. He added that he was doing everything to ensure his brothers in the Taliban didn’t “suffer,” and that he’d asked Washington to provide some evidence that this bin Laden chap had anything to do with the attacks but that so far they’d declined to show him any. Then he cited the Charter of Medina (which the Prophet Muhammad signed after an earlier spot of bother) as an attempt to justify providing assistance to the infidel, and said he’d had no choice but to offer the Americans use of Pakistan’s airspace, intelligence networks and other logistical support.

He paused for applause, and after the world’s all-time record volume of crickets chirping, said thank you and goodnight.

That must have been quite the phone call he’d got from Washington a day or two earlier.

Quite. “But,” as Steyn says in closing, “it’s all a long time ago now.” The amazing thing about Musharraf’s quick acquiescence to our 9/11 demands is just how quick it was: no whining to the UN, no appeals to Europe to rescue him from the crusader’s demands. He recognized that we were “all Americans” at that moment — call it multilateral unilateralism — and responded accordingly. Now he recognizes that we aren’t. As does Iran, which is why they feel safe building atomic bombs under the UN’s nose.

That’s not to suggest Europeans should automatically have lined up behind us in Iraq or wherever else we chose to respond after 9/11. But where our interests coincide, purposeful joint action would seem to be the way to go. Alas, it’s not to be: Chirac’s taken sanctions on Iran off the table, and it’s understood by all parties that if it comes to a military strike, America will have to act alone. The left is constantly urging us to be more multilateral — but with whom? Where does the “multi” part come in?

Don’t kid yourself, either: Iran’s not fooling anyone. Everyone knows the situation; it’s just that no one, except us, is willing to do anything about it. As usual.

Anyway, here’s the perfect bookend to the back-to-the-stone-age story. What “victory” looks like today.