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Three Cheers for the Bush Doctrine

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Cal

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Three Cheers for the Bush Doctrine
History has begun to speak, and it says that America made the right decision to invade Iraq



Monday, Mar. 07, 2005
Jon Stewart, the sage of Comedy Central, is one of the few to be honest about it. "What if Bush ... has been right about this all along? I feel like my world view will not sustain itself and I may ... implode." Daniel Schorr, another critic of the Bush foreign policy, ventured, a bit more grudgingly, that Bush "may have had it right."

Right on what? That America, using power harnessed to democratic ideals, could begin a transformation of the Arab world from endless tyranny and intolerance to decent governance and democratization. Two years ago, shortly before the invasion of Iraq, I argued in these pages that forcefully deposing Saddam Hussein was, more than anything, about America "coming ashore" to effect a "pan-Arab reformation"--a dangerous, "risky and, yes, arrogant" but necessary attempt to change the very culture of the Middle East, to open its doors to democracy and modernity.

The Administration went ahead with this great project knowing it would be hostage to history. History has begun to speak. Elections in Afghanistan, a historic first. Elections in Iraq, a historic first. Free Palestinian elections producing a moderate leadership, two historic firsts. Municipal elections in Saudi Arabia, men only, but still a first. In Egypt, demonstrations for democracy--unheard of in decades--prompting the dictator to announce free contested presidential elections, a historic first.

And now, of course, the most romantic flowering of the spirit America went into the region to foster: the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon, in which unarmed civilians, Christian and Muslim alike, brought down the puppet government installed by Syria. There is even the beginning of a breeze in Damascus. More than 140 Syrian intellectuals have signed a public statement defying their government by opposing its occupation of Lebanon.

To what do we attribute this Arab spring? While American (and European) liberal and "realist" critics are seeking some explanation, those a bit closer to the scene don't flinch from the obvious. "It is strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt explained to David Ignatius of the Washington Post. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world. The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."

When Ronald Reagan declared that the unfreedom imposed by communism was simply unsustainable and that it should be not appeased or accommodated, but instead forced--by the power and will of free peoples--into the ash heap of history, he was ridiculed and patronized as a simpleton. Clark Clifford famously called him an amiable dunce. The amiable dunce went on to win the cold war.

Two decades later, another patronized President. Our intellectuals and Middle East "experts" have been telling us that Bush's grand project to democratize the region is the fantasy of a historical illiterate. Faced with the stunning Iraqi election, they went to great lengths to attribute this inconvenient yet undeniable success to the courage of the Iraqi people.

This is all very nice. But this courage was rather dormant before the American invasion. It was America's overthrow of Saddam's republic of fear that gave to the Iraqi people space and air and the very possibility of expressing courage.

Those now waxing rhapsodic about the courage of the natives and the beauty of people power need to ask themselves the obvious question: Why now? It is easy to get sentimental about people power. But people power does not always prevail. Indeed, it rarely prevails. It was crushed in Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, Tiananmen Square 1989--and Iraq 1991. Matched against tyranny at its point of maximum cruelty, people power is useless.

In the 1991 uprising, tens of thousands of Shi'ites and Kurds were killed by the raw power of Saddam's helicopters and tanks and secret police. What was different this time? No Saddam. The American army had come ashore to disarm and depose him. After the sword, it provided the shield to allow 8 million Iraqis to revel in their first exercise of democratic self-governance.

Why now? Because until now the forces of decency in the region were alone and naked, cynically ignored by an outside world content to deal with their oppressors. Then comes America, not just proclaiming democratic liberation as its overriding foreign policy principle but sacrificing blood and treasure in the service of precisely that principle.

It was not people power that set this in motion. It was American power. People power followed. Which is why the critics of the Bush doctrine take refuge in a second Bush-free explanation. They locate the reason for this astonishing Arab spring, if not in people power from below, then in rot from above. These superannuated dictatorships, we are now told, were fossilized and frail, already wobbly and ready to fall, just waiting to be undone by the slightest challenge.

Interesting. If the rot was always there, why is it that these critics never said so before? They never suggested that we challenge these wobbly despots? In fact, they bitterly denounced the Bush doctrine for presuming to destabilize the region in pursuit of some democratic chimera? They opposed the Bush doctrine precisely because they preferred stability. They warned us darkly that the alternative to the status quo was the seething Arab street--an unruly mob, anarchic, anti-American, pan-Arabist or perhaps Islamist, ignorant of all liberal traditions and ready to rise up against America should it disturb the perfect order of things by "imposing democracy."

Turns out, the critics, liberal and "realist," got the Arab street wrong. In Iraq and Lebanon, the Arab street finally got to speak, and mirabile dictu, it speaks of freedom and dignity. It does not bay for American blood. On the contrary, its leaders now openly point to the American example and American intervention as having provided the opening for this first tentative venture in freedom.

What really changed in the Middle East? The Iraqi elections vindicated the two central propositions of the Bush doctrine. First, that the will to freedom is indeed universal and not the private preserve of Westerners. And second, that American intentions were sincere. Contrary to the cynics, Arab and European and American, the U.S. did not go into Iraq for oil or hegemony, after all, but for liberation--a truth that on Jan. 31 even al-Jazeera had to televise.

This was the critical event because Arabs have had good reason to doubt American sincerity: six decades of U.S. support for Arab dictators, a cynical "realism" that began with F.D.R.'s deal with Ibn Saud and reached its apogee with the 1991 betrayal of the anti-Saddam uprising that Bush 41 had encouraged in Iraq. Today, however, they see a different Bush and a different doctrine. What changed the climate in the Middle East was not just the U.S. invasion and show of arms. It was U.S. determination and staying power, and the refusal of its people last November to turn out a President who rejected an "exit strategy" but pledged instead to remain until Iraqi self-governance was secure.

It took this marriage of power, will and principle to produce the astonishing developments in the Middle East today. This is not to say that this spring cannot be extinguished. Of course it can. The dictators can still strike back, and we may flinch in defense of those they strike. History has yet to yield a verdict on the final outcome. But it has yielded one unmistakable verdict thus far: the idea that Arabs are not fit for or inclined toward freedom--the underlying assumption of those who denounced, ridiculed and otherwise opposed the democracy project--is wrong. Embarrassingly, scandalously, blessedly wrong.


Charles Krauthammer writes a syndicated column for the Washington Post that appears in more than 125 newspapers worldwide. He writes an essay each month for TIME. [more]
 

ez now

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Well I will post one more response. Cal, In your last post you stated that the American intentions were sincere. Contrary to the cynics, arab eurapeon and american, the US did not go into iraq for oil or hegemony, after all, for liberation. A truth that was even on al jezera tv. Now correct me if Im wrong but we went in there for wmds. There was no talk about liberation at the start of this, just later did that become the reason. and later on in your post you you said people denounced, ridiculed, and otherwise opposed the democracy project, I never heard anybody say that Iraq wouldnt be better off liberated. What I heard was, we went about it the wrong way. for some reason this just dont stick in peoples minds. For you to say that people in America dont think Iraq is better off without saddam, your wrong. I havent heard this from nobody but republicans. And anybody that would suggest such a thing is wrong. To put it in your words embarrassingly,scandalously,blessedly wrong.
 

jodywy

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And we fought the Revolutionary war for freedom too...Washington wanted out of his debt with a British company as did allot of the other leaders at the time. The indentured servants fought for the promise of property. It wasn't freedom it was money and property.....
 

Cal

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ez now said:
Now correct me if Im wrong but we went in there for wmds. There was no talk about liberation at the start of this, just later did that become the reason.
ez now, maybe the tenth paragraph will provide some clarification.




SUPPORT THE TROOPS IN IRAQ RESOLUTION

Text of the resolution passed by Congress in support of the troops fighting in Iraq
108th CONGRESS
1st Session

H. CON. RES. 104

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

Whereas the United States Armed Forces, a total force comprised of active, National Guard, and Reserve personnel, are now undertaking courageous and determined operations against the forces of Saddam Hussein's regime;

Whereas the Senate and House of Representatives and the American people have the greatest pride in the members of the Armed Forces and strongly support them;

Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-338) stated that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime;

Whereas on October 16, 2002, the President signed into law House Joint Resolution 114 of the 107th Congress, the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), which provides congressional authorization for the use of military force against Iraq;

Whereas the United Nations Security Council, in Security Council Resolution 1441, adopted on November 8, 2002, voted unanimously that Iraq `...will face serious consequences as a result of its continued violations of its obligations' to disarm in accordance with all relevant United Nations resolutions;

Whereas Iraq remains in material breach of the relevant United Nations resolutions;

Whereas the United States has assembled and deployed an allied military coalition to apply pressure on Saddam Hussein to comply with the relevant United Nations resolutions;

Whereas on March 18, 2003, the President transmitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate the President's determination, consistent with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), that reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, and that the President's use of military force against Iraq is consistent with necessary ongoing efforts by the United States and other countries against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001;

Whereas on the evening of March 17, 2003, the President of the United States issued Saddam Hussein and his sons a final ultimatum to leave Iraq within 48 hours or face United States military intervention;

Whereas, when Saddam Hussein failed to comply, the President ordered United States Armed Forces to commence military operations against the forces of Saddam Hussein during the evening of March 19, 2003, under the code name of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in order to liberate Iraq, remove Saddam Hussein from power, and neutralize Iraq's weapons of mass destruction;

Whereas the United States Armed Forces and allied forces are performing their missions with great courage and distinction in carrying out air, land, and sea attacks against Iraqi military targets; and

Whereas the ability of the Armed Forces to successfully perform their mission requires the support of their nation, community, and families: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That the Congress expresses the unequivocal support and appreciation of the Nation--

(1) to the President as Commander-in-Chief for his firm leadership and decisive action in the conduct of military operations in Iraq as part of the on-going Global War on Terrorism;

(2) to the members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, who are carrying out their missions with excellence, patriotism, and bravery; and

(3) to the families of the United States military personnel serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom, who are providing support and prayers for their loved ones currently engaged in military operations in Iraq. Passed the House of Representatives March 21 (legislative day, March 20), 2003.
 

Cal

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ez now said:
later on in your post you you said people denounced, ridiculed, and otherwise opposed the democracy project,

Wasn't that the meat and potatoes of the whole campaign against Bush's reelection, as well as the left's sour grapes responses following such? "Wrong war, wrong place, wrong time" doesn't ring a bell? "Iraq is not ready for elections!" doesn't ring a bell? "Let's not make more of this election than what it is" doesn't ring a bell?
 

Cal

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Bull Burger, have you got everything tied down that might blow away? Sounds like we're in for one helluva wind tomorrow, as if last Sunday wasn't bad enough. Sorted in 30 heavies late this afternoon that should calf real quick, naturally more are calving that I didn't sort in.
 

Liberty Belle

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BB: No, I had several log chains and two big anvils blow across the yard this morning.

Was that your anvil that came tumblin' thru the yard this morning? Guess we'll wait till tomorrow to move more young pairs. Might blow off the old horse at this rate.
 

ez now

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Cal, let me see if I understand your article right, I might be wrong, if so you can correct me. Whereas on March 18, 2003, the President transmitted to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate the President's determination, consistent with the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 (Public Law 107-243), that reliance by the United States on further diplomatic and other peaceful means alone will neither adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq nor likely lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq, and that the President's use of military force against Iraq is consistent with necessary ongoing efforts by the United States and other countries against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001;

Whereas on the evening of March 17, 2003, the President of the United States issued Saddam Hussein and his sons a final ultimatum to leave Iraq within 48 hours or face United States military intervention;

Whereas, when Saddam Hussein failed to comply, the President ordered United States Armed Forces to commence military operations against the forces of Saddam Hussein during the evening of March 19, 2003, under the code name of Operation Iraqi Freedom, in order to liberate Iraq, remove Saddam Hussein from power, and neutralize Iraq's weapons of mass destruction;

Now on 3/18/03 the President was talking to the speaker of the house about autherization for the use of force against Iraq because they are a CONTINUING THREAT. but the day before 3/17/03 he gave Saddam and his sons 48 hrs to leave Iraq. and in 48 hrs 3/19/03 the President ordered the us armed forces to comense military operations.. Iraqy freedom started, to liberate Iraq, remove saddam and get rid of wmds. I guess I was wrong we did get a 1 DAY NOTICE about the liberation of Iraq before the war started.
 

ez now

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Cal, Sorry about the last post, we didnt get a 24hr notice, that was same day the war started. my bad.
 

Cal

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ez now said:
Cal, Sorry about the last post, we didnt get a 24hr notice, that was same day the war started. my bad.
Didn't we piddle around long enough to suit you?
 

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