From a reader:
Dear Mr. Goldberg, The issue here isn’t simply whether a democracy or dictatorship can better rule its sovereign territory, it is also which form of government we can support over the long run. As Dean’s reaction to Maliki’s speech shows, even the respectable Left in this country can barely muster the maturity to support a democratic Iraqi government which has moral if not effective authority. An Iraq run by a dictator, even a benevolent Chiang Kai-Shek sort of fellow, might come in for far worse and quickly become a complete international pariah. Pakistan could be an effective counter-example except that (a) we did not install Musharraf and (b) everyone realizes that to remove Musharraf would put hardline Islamists in control of a nuclear arsenal, a prospect sufficiently grim to deter even the Kos krowd from doing anything rash. FWIW, I am taking comfort in the (apparent) recent realization by the Sunni Arab regimes that Iran is perhaps becoming as big a threat to them as to global stability more generally. Here at last there is a nice clean ethno-tribal blood feud we can harness to our advantage. Iraq will perhaps invariably tilt Tehran-ward in years to come but with American forces likely to be based there for some years to come, it will do us more good than them.