That seems to be the message from Reuel Marc Gerecht in this WSJ piece.
Many in America may not like the outcome–liberals are already overwhelmingly defining Iraqi democracy’s success by whether women’s social rights are protected and advanced–but the deliberations foretell what is likely to happen elsewhere in the region as it democratizes. Contrary to so much commentary in the U.S., it is the compromises–the liberal “imperfections”–in Iraq’s experiment that may have the most positive repercussions in the Middle East.
I confess, I am predisposed to liking this piece because I do believe wholeheartedly that bringing Democracy into the very center of the Middle East – Democracy with all of its messy liberty and conflicted interests – is the necessary step that must be taken if terrorism is to be discredited as a means of movement. Bringing these folks into the marketplace of both good and ideas will do more to foment “understanding” and peaceful co-existance than all the apologizing, searching for “root causes,” excuse-making and obsequious appeasement ever could. It is a bold, visionary idea that no one has had the courage to undertake in 70 years, until now.
It is a great idea…and it is therefore a difficult and costly one. Nothing great is easy, and this is a hard, hard vision to make real. It is hard. And that is what makes it great. America has lost 1800 of her best to this cause, and that is a tragedy that should never be minimised. But this cause is a noble one, because it is a cause that can – if successful – end up saving countless lives, throughout the world, for decades to come, if indeed it can wipe out the seductive lure of terrorism.
It’s not that hard to understand, really. If you are not inclined to willfully mis-understanding things, you can see it – it makes perfect sense.
And I’ll say it again: The temper of the times may not have made it easy, that’s certainly true…but had President Clinton had this vision, and taken the steps he said he wanted to take – regime change in Iraq, etc – had he done exactly what George W. Bush has done – all while keeping the economy rolling along – then the press and the left would – quite rightly, quite justifiably, be lauding him with 1000 hosannas, proclaiming him the foremost visionary of the last 100 years. They’d be busily working to undo the 22nd amendment and elect him to a third term.
And you know the saddest thing of all? Had Clinton done all of these things…the “Clinton haters” would largely have been behind him, just as they were behind him in Kosovo, because they would have understood his vision and appreciated his gutsiness. It’s really too bad that appreciation does not work both ways, anymore, due to simple, crass and destructive partisanship.
ADDENDUM: Imeant to include within the body of this piece this little-seen, never-discussed, barely-reported upon, C-span-ignored speech which President Bush gave at Whitehall. As far as I am concerned, anyone who wants to discuss the war in a public forum should first have read this speech and should be able to accurately characterize it – fairness to both sides of the issue demands it.
Dean Esmay likes this WSJ article, too, and he cleverly highlights its last line: “The intersection of God, man, and the common weal are not easy things to figure out, and the Iraqis are doing far better than anyone really had the right to hope.” I also like Dr. Sanity’s exhortations here.