Iraq Democracy seems doable…

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.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Lyle

    Just to let you know Anchoress, this is one liberal who would categorically reject Bill Clinton going to war in Iraq. Installing democracy in the middle east will not change a thing there IMMHO. The problems there are far more complex than that. The war is and has been disaster. Do I have the answers?? No!!! But I am very concerned.

  • Lyle

    Just to let you know Anchoress, this is one liberal who would categorically reject Bill Clinton going to war in Iraq. Installing democracy in the middle east will not change a thing there IMMHO. The problems there are far more complex than that. The war is and has been disaster. Do I have the answers?? No!!! But I am very concerned.

  • TheAnchoress

    Nothing wrong with being concerned, Lyle…but if you look at history, and how difficult these situations always are (how long did it take to install a provisional government in Germany? Four years or more!) I don’t see “disaster” here. I see a genuinely difficult endeavor that, if successful, will reap enormous rewards. It’s hard? It’s complex? Yes. That doesn’t mean we should do nothing. Should we have maintained the status quo that had delivered 30 years of terrorism to the world, more and more frequently as the decades wore on? What is your alternative, Lyle? With all due respect, for all the misgivings of liberals (and it must be said there ARE liberals who support the war in Iraq) I am still waiting to hear one liberal who has a better idea, who has another solution to the problem of the Middle East beyond, “keep it the way it was…”

    Appeasement is not the answer. When I wrote that piece above, I meant to insert a link to the visionary and bold speech President Bush gave at Whitehall – basically unreportedon by the media and quickly hidden…C-span never even replayed the thing a second time. Go read it. It is not the vision of a madman or a stupid idiot…it’s the vision of a someone who understands that things must change, and for the better…and yes, even puts some of the fault for the situation in the Middle East on the West.

  • TheAnchoress

    Nothing wrong with being concerned, Lyle…but if you look at history, and how difficult these situations always are (how long did it take to install a provisional government in Germany? Four years or more!) I don’t see “disaster” here. I see a genuinely difficult endeavor that, if successful, will reap enormous rewards. It’s hard? It’s complex? Yes. That doesn’t mean we should do nothing. Should we have maintained the status quo that had delivered 30 years of terrorism to the world, more and more frequently as the decades wore on? What is your alternative, Lyle? With all due respect, for all the misgivings of liberals (and it must be said there ARE liberals who support the war in Iraq) I am still waiting to hear one liberal who has a better idea, who has another solution to the problem of the Middle East beyond, “keep it the way it was…”

    Appeasement is not the answer. When I wrote that piece above, I meant to insert a link to the visionary and bold speech President Bush gave at Whitehall – basically unreportedon by the media and quickly hidden…C-span never even replayed the thing a second time. Go read it. It is not the vision of a madman or a stupid idiot…it’s the vision of a someone who understands that things must change, and for the better…and yes, even puts some of the fault for the situation in the Middle East on the West.

  • Lyle

    It’s one thing dealing with governments as opposed to dealing with terrorists. Terrorist do not have a return address. I realize there is no sense debating whether we should have gone to war in Iraq, we’re there. At the same time even if we are successful in installing democracy in Iraq, how would it stop the terrorists bombings they have performed around the world? I don’t pretend know what the answer is in how to deal with world’s terrorists. But from where I’m standing, going to war in Iraq hasn’t helped in the terrorism war.
    -
    For your information, I do not look at George Bush as a stupid idiot. He proved how smart he was last election. He was able to get the poor to feel sorry for the rich. That’s not dumb.

  • Lyle

    It’s one thing dealing with governments as opposed to dealing with terrorists. Terrorist do not have a return address. I realize there is no sense debating whether we should have gone to war in Iraq, we’re there. At the same time even if we are successful in installing democracy in Iraq, how would it stop the terrorists bombings they have performed around the world? I don’t pretend know what the answer is in how to deal with world’s terrorists. But from where I’m standing, going to war in Iraq hasn’t helped in the terrorism war.
    -
    For your information, I do not look at George Bush as a stupid idiot. He proved how smart he was last election. He was able to get the poor to feel sorry for the rich. That’s not dumb.

  • TheAnchoress

    Oh, come on, Lyle, that last line is just silliness. “The poor to feel sorry for the rich?” Tax cuts bothering you again? The ones that have unemployment down to 5%, more people owning houses than ever before and the tax revenues up so high that the deficit is down by more than 30% than we thought it would be? “The rich” being the folks who create jobs and opportunity? “The Rich” being a cop and a nurse who are married and making a90K a year between them? That’s not rich – that’s nowhere near rich – where I live (and my life is very ‘average’) that’s just enough to get by and pay the property taxes, which are out of control (I pay almost 7K a year on a three bedroom ranch that is by no means extraordinary – almost 5K goes to school taxes, because we don’t spend enough on Edumacation!)

    “The rich…” Do you mean the John Kerry, Jon Corzine rich who do nothing with their money but use it to make more – create no jobs, no opportunities, put most of it in tax shelters? Or do you me “the rich” the small business owner who employs 25 people and maybe pays himself 125K a year? Because that LAST guy was the one Kerry wanted to go after – not the Corzines, but the small business guy.

    I don’t think Bush “got the poor to feel sorry for the rich” (which is a statement that just surprises me, Lyle, because it’s soooo bumpersticker…please don’t tell me you drive with one that says “Bush scares me”) I think “the rich” being ordinary folks making 100K a year, were smart enough to look at both candidates and figure out which was was going to put his hand more deeply into his pocket, to throw MORE money at schools, when “more money” has solved nothing, and to keep Social Security in the moribund status quo in which it is dying.

    But…you know…I haven’t had my coffee yet.
    :-)

    I’m sorry…I like you, Lyle, you know I do, but we really don’t agree! :-)

  • TheAnchoress

    Oh, come on, Lyle, that last line is just silliness. “The poor to feel sorry for the rich?” Tax cuts bothering you again? The ones that have unemployment down to 5%, more people owning houses than ever before and the tax revenues up so high that the deficit is down by more than 30% than we thought it would be? “The rich” being the folks who create jobs and opportunity? “The Rich” being a cop and a nurse who are married and making a90K a year between them? That’s not rich – that’s nowhere near rich – where I live (and my life is very ‘average’) that’s just enough to get by and pay the property taxes, which are out of control (I pay almost 7K a year on a three bedroom ranch that is by no means extraordinary – almost 5K goes to school taxes, because we don’t spend enough on Edumacation!)

    “The rich…” Do you mean the John Kerry, Jon Corzine rich who do nothing with their money but use it to make more – create no jobs, no opportunities, put most of it in tax shelters? Or do you me “the rich” the small business owner who employs 25 people and maybe pays himself 125K a year? Because that LAST guy was the one Kerry wanted to go after – not the Corzines, but the small business guy.

    I don’t think Bush “got the poor to feel sorry for the rich” (which is a statement that just surprises me, Lyle, because it’s soooo bumpersticker…please don’t tell me you drive with one that says “Bush scares me”) I think “the rich” being ordinary folks making 100K a year, were smart enough to look at both candidates and figure out which was was going to put his hand more deeply into his pocket, to throw MORE money at schools, when “more money” has solved nothing, and to keep Social Security in the moribund status quo in which it is dying.

    But…you know…I haven’t had my coffee yet.
    :-)

    I’m sorry…I like you, Lyle, you know I do, but we really don’t agree! :-)

  • Lyle

    Ok,ok Anchoress. You have to remember, I am not a skilled writer such as yourself. I don’t always (obviously) articulate very well. My point was, as I have expressed before, George W. Bush is a great salesman. He is in the very same vein as Bill Clinton from what I can see. That is why I said in earlier post’s, he will be very hard to replace next time around.
    _
    Thank God you like me. I would be crushed if you didn’t. :-) .

  • Lyle

    Ok,ok Anchoress. You have to remember, I am not a skilled writer such as yourself. I don’t always (obviously) articulate very well. My point was, as I have expressed before, George W. Bush is a great salesman. He is in the very same vein as Bill Clinton from what I can see. That is why I said in earlier post’s, he will be very hard to replace next time around.
    _
    Thank God you like me. I would be crushed if you didn’t. :-) .


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