Thursday, February 27, 2003

Sean-Paul comments on Bush's speech last night and the emerging dream of a post-Saddam democratic Iraq as a beacon of light to the middle-east.
Far be it for me to gloat, but that is exactly what the President is now saying: "Leaders in the region speak of a new Arab charter that champions internal reform, greater political participation, economic openness and free trade. And from Morocco to Bahrain and beyond, nations are taking genuine steps toward political reform. A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region." The President is not the only one taking this to the road. Rumsfeld gave a speech at the Hoover Institution discussing the difficulties of putting together a coalition to invade Afghanistan before 9/11 happened. On the basis of the evidence we supposeldy had before 9/11 he says: "[I]magine if the president of the United States had had that three or four, five, six, eight, 10 scraps of information possibly, and had gone to the country and the world and said, "We need to invade Afghanistan and overthrow the Taliban and stop the al Qaeda from using Afghanistan as a terrorist training center and root out the al Qaeda terrorist network and other terrorist networks all across the globe, or we run the risk of suffering a September 11th-like attack." How many countries would have joined us in a coalition? Many? Any? Unlikely." He's right. It is an ineffective way to fight a sparse global network of terrorists. It simply won't work. Clinton already tried it. And look at the blame the Right has heaped on him for it. Rumsfeld follows that up with a discussion on the risks of not acting. Read it and you'll see a post-Iraq strategy emerging. The goal of being in Iraq is to compel nations in the region to act in our favor. It puts pressure on the Saudi's, the Iranians, and the Syrians because we are there, patrolling the neighborhood. This is why I support the proposed invasion of Iraq. It isn't the best strategy. But it is the best of a lot of bad choices. It is far from the solution, either. My only concern, and one that is emerging among the conservabloggers, is that this administration will do the same thing in Iraq it did in Afghanistan.
This is the argument that has won Bush the support of people like Thomas Friedman. And, as ideas go, it's not a bad one. Who wouldn't love to see a democratic Iraq being an inspiration for a wave of democratization throughout the middle-east? (Well, not the Saudi royal family and certainly not bin Laden). But, again, the problem always comes down to one if implementation. After all, communism was a "nice idea" (everyone working for everyone else in a worker's paradise) that sucked in reality. Can we trust in the abilities of our leaders to actually make this dream a reality? Can we trust them that this dream is what they really want and that they aren't using it as a gloss on their real motives? I don't trust Bush on either count. He is incompetent and he is corrupt and he will almost certainly screw this up like he has screwed up nearly everything else he has ever done. Given the choice, I'd rather live with Saddam.


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