All effective democracies have on thing in common- they were built upon the blood of patriots. We see no mass movement of those Iraqis that view democracy as worth fighting for- at least, not yet. Time will tell. Now, in point of fact, we are the closest thing to patriots the Iraqis have. Like the French and the Poles that came to build this free nation, we are in Iraq. Neither the French nor the Poles had colonial aspirations and nor do we. Did the French and Polish governments have an agenda in supporting us in the fight against the British- of course they did. Do we have an agenda in Iraq? Of course we do. Yes, we have selfish reasons for being there (and that is the role of government- to put the nations best interests first) but in the end, our reasons are two fold. We wish to help establish free societies. That is our track record- Germany, Japan and now the former Eastern Bloc countries attest to that.The authors are blind in doubting the Iraqi internal pro-democracy movement. And naive in the extreme to dismiss France's historical colonial ambitions (a one word refutation--"Louisiana"). Finally, they're flatly wrong that America is responsible for arming Saddam: that was largely the work of Russia, France and China.
Now, did we go into Iraq under false pretenses? Like it or not, the jury is still out on that. The Europeans thought he had them and so did we. If our intelligence services were faulty for years (yes, even under previous administrations), that needs to be addressed and heads need to roll.
Sadaam used WMD against the Kurd and the Iranians. He had no compunction doing so. Did he have anything to do with 9/11? Probably not. Did he support a global terror effort? Yes, he did.
The fact that to date we have not found WMD in no way mitigates Sadaam's evil (he caused the death of over a million people), or the justification for his removal. We used the IRS to get Al Capone and we shall continue to use whatever means necessary to remove, when necessary, other evil dictators. Will we get them all? No, we can't. But we can pick and choose our battles. Our actions have had repercussions in the region- some of which are being played out right now. That is not a bad thing.
Some will argue that we 'made' Sadaam, by supporting his fight against Iran. That is a ridiculous and childish notion.
If we buy you a car to go to work, and then you decide to get drunk, drive and end up killing someone, well, don't blame us for giving you the car. You made that choice. It is that simple. The same applies to Osama bin Laden. We supported his fight against the Russians in Afghanistan- but the choices he made afterward were his own.
To excoriate ourselves after having remained silent on Sadaam, Sudan, etc., is simply intellectual self deceit and the height of hypocrisy.
In contrast, during Bush's first four years, Afghanistan and Iraq -- for the first time -- have been freed to choose their own fate. Lebanon and Egypt have noticed, and reform is reaching millions long consigned to autocracy. America's partly responsible, and can continue to help. We're already in the region and expended troops and treasure. And we've got "the mo"--which might vanish without our presence.
On the other hand, I concede the WMDs weren't there. But an immediate pull-out, as urged by far-left groups such as Answer as well as Sigmund, Carl and Alfred's readers, is neither wise nor favored by Iraqis. The contrast with Carter and Clinton -- who, to some degree, confined diplomacy to innocence, bad bargains and apologies -- show that good will and honest intentions are ineffective unless backed by a credible threat of force. Since John Kennedy, the left's been all carrot, no stick.
But the post provides a sensible path forward. The invasion was almost two years ago; get over it. And, the invasion's consequences have been excellent. Can we at least agree on that? Even Assistant Minority Leader Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) -- another who supported the war before opposing it -- favors moving on. Durbin appeared on this Sunday's Meet the Press:
I think there is a momentum for positive change in the Middle East, and I think the Democrats support that. I happen to believe the way we invaded Iraq. . . was the wrong decision at that moment. But today we have to look at the Middle East and say, "What is in the best interest of America and its security?" And I think we are moving forward.Some differences remain--and always will. Fortunately, the founding fathers didn't expect voter unanimity on controversial issues. Instead, they created a process to address disagreement--a relatively immutable Constitution, a Congress with limited Federal powers, separation of powers, a list of untouchable rights, and an expectation that state legislatures would reflect the will of their own citizens, without regard to those in other states. Starting with Roe v. Wade, the left's largely lost faith in the process, preferring the quicker judicial "Hail Mary." But that approach rarely works in foreign policy, with exceptions that don't seriously deflect the direction of any President's policies. Instead, we have elections.
Vietnam and Archie Bunker gave the slogan "My country, right or wrong" a bad reputation. Unfairly--because it's a truncated butchery of Stephen Decatur's (the younger; 1779–1820) original:
Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.Whether or not the invasion was right in 2003, it's now 2005. The world should know that all Americans support swapping oligarchy for democracy in the middle-East and elsewhere.
Halftime is no time to quit. America should stay the course.