A piece by Jonathan Rauch in Sunday’s Washington Post argues that “the public no longer views success – defined as building a stable democracy in Iraq – as worth the effort.”
Well, if you define success that way of course the public doesn’t think it worth the effort. And that would include not just those members of the public who are post-humanitarian leftists, Buchananite neo-isolationists and Scowcroftian realists, but also stalwart conservatives such as my friend and colleague Andy McCarthy. (And maybe even me.)
However, success in Iraq surely can be more accurately defined as defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq along with the remaining Saddamist forces. (Or at least not getting beaten and chased out of Iraq by those enemies.)
Building the first stable democracy ever in the Arab world would be a historic achievement – but it is not the military mission; rather it is the goal of political efforts being pursued parallel to the military mission which is as stated above.