George Will that is. Over at my website, I’ve been hitting the fact that my fellow supporters of the Bush Iraq policy have been overselling and under-delivering from the beginning.
It was a mistake to hype the WMD issue. I was saying it was a mistake before the war and it is indisputably a mistake now. The harder-but-smarter call would have been to sell the Iraq war as a war against state-sponsored terror, but it’s too late for that.
The same is happening with “bringing democracy to Iraq.” As Will points out, democracy in Iraq probably means the Shiites voting to install a theocracy and never have another election. We didn’t topple Saddam because we believe the Iraqi people were longing for democracy. If they had been, the 23 million Iraqis would have overthown Saddam long ago.
We toppled Saddam because there is no definition of “War Against Terror” that includes leaving a known terrorist in charge of an entire nation, its armies and its wealth. Forget democracy. All we ask of the new Iraq is that it be an ally against terror, that it move down the road toward modernity, and that it be a model of (relative) pluralism in the heart of the Mideast.
If this sounds disappointingly modest, consider it this way: If he is successful, and if world events stay on the current track, GWB could leave office in 2009 with new, moderate governments in Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran (it’s coming); a semi-autonomous, modern and democratic Kurdish region in Iraq; anti-terror cooperation from Libya and Saudi Arabia; Hamas and Hizbullah dying on the vite without major state sponsorship; ending, or seriously undermining, the legitimacy of terrorism itself; and no successful terrorist attacks on US soil, the biggest “if” of all.
Name a president since Reagan who has had such a significant impact on international affairs? That’s a world worth fighting for.