And The New York Times? And The New York Times.

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The NYT is astonished.

"[T]his has so far been a year of heartening surprises," according to Tuesday's lead editorial about developments in the Mideast, "each one remarkable in itself, and taken together truly astonishing. The Bush administration is entitled to claim a healthy share of the credit for many of these advances. It boldly proclaimed the cause of Middle East democracy at a time when few in the West thought it had any realistic chance."

That's a nice line about what "few in the West thought," isn't it? But the Times may be confusing "the West" with its one-dimensional and utterly predictable editorial staff. There's no shortage of Westerners who took Arab liberalism seriously, if only because they were paying attention to Arab liberals.

In contrast to the NYT's late astonishment, for example, here is the opening of an essay (Post-Pan-Arabism) that appeared nearly two years ago, on April 18, 2003:

The fall of Baghdad this month was accompanied by another event that was less visible but that has potentially far greater consequences: the collapse of Pan-Arabism as an essential and controlling aspect of Arab political thought. Because the triumph of Pan-Arabism half a century ago led to the eclipse of liberal thought in the Arab world, Pan-Arabism's collapse may well make room for liberalism's gradual return in the region's discourse. That could in turn allow the region to break its historic cycle of political failure and economic stagnation. If that occurs, it would be a clear—if perhaps paradoxical—case of liberal interests advanced and served by military means; the true victors of the overthrow of Iraqi Ba'thism would be the long-powerless Arab liberals.

NEXT: Justice of the Living Dead

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  1. Ahh yes, more grousing my Charles Paul Freund. Its all about ego to these people.

  2. “It boldly proclaimed the cause of Middle East democracy at a time when few in the West thought it had any realistic chance.”

    Unfortunately, the Bush Administration spent its time before the UN boldly proclaiming to the world that Iraq had WMD and was collaborating with Al Qaeda. In fact, before the invasion of Iraq, I only remember hearing a faint mumbling from the Administration in regards to the Middle East and democracy.

    I’m as happy as anyone to hear that Iraq didn’t pose much of a terrorist threat to American civilians, and I’ll be as happy as the next guy if democracy blooms in the Middle East like a flower in the desert. However, wasn’t the Iraq War supposed to be about self-defense?

    Once it became clear to everyone who was paying attention that the Iraq war, despite the billing, wasn’t a war of self-defense, the Bush Administration sang Napoleon’s theme with much more enthusiasm–that’s true. What else were they going to do?

    …Is there anyone out there who really believes that the American people would support a war for the sole purpose of freeing others from tyranny?

  3. …Is there anyone out there who really believes that the American people would support a war for the sole purpose of freeing others from tyranny?

    Ken, have you ever heard of Haiti or Kosovo?

  4. have you ever heard of Haiti or Kosovo?

    Hmm. Was there big popular support for either of those? During both I remember thinking “I’m glad I’m not in the military”. Neither was self defense.

    We know Bush didn’t go into Iraq “to free the people”. We know he was wrong about Iraq.

    But I find it curious that the NYT would actually support Bush about anything. I’m sure there’s some contorted logic to it, but it makes me think the whole political party business is breaking up when the NYT changes side lines.

  5. Okay…I’m stuck thumbin’ this from my phone–convenient excuse, I know.

    My understanding of Hati was that there was real concern not just that Hati would become a humanitarian crisis, but that it would become a humanitarian crisis that would overflow its borders and wash up on our shores.

    In Kosovo, we bombed. We commited troops under the UN, which IMO is different.

    When Somalia started looking like a war, we bailed–twice as I recall.

  6. “its one-dimensional and utterly predictable editorial staff”

    That’s much too kind. On prominent issues at least, Swiss watches are more likely to surprise you than the bloviating blowhards on that crew.

  7. While we’re claiming props, I’d like some for arguing all along that Arab liberals were as representative of popular opinion thereabouts as the legendary “arab street” or “traditionalists” (ahem ! gaius) or Sistani. Well, gimme already !

  8. Wow, the New York Times agrees with the neocons!

    As Tim Cavanaugh put it on this blog last week,

    “I think it says more about how contemporary liberals view themselves than about our ‘debased political terminology’ that anybody at The New York Times believes a neocon ‘revision’ of American history would even be possible, or that it would differ in any substantive way from the way that history would be written by The New York Times itself. ?

    “The folks at The Times may have a narcissistic interest in highlighting small differences, but you can’t misuse language forever. When liberals look at the neocons, they see themselves.”

    Now Freund confirms Cavanaugh’s wisdom.

  9. ? in above post should be …

  10. SM,

    Did anyone argue against that here? I know I didn’t.

    Indeed, my argument re: internally-driven change depends on this fact I think.

    Anyway, there is a still long way to go and Charles Paul Freund (who never seems to get up the courage to actually post responses here) should probably not gloat very long.

    As a means to bring folks back to reality, note the following:

    * The Syrian army remains in Lebanon; the government there is still a puppet government of the Syrians.

    * Egypt (whatever may be said about these proposed elections – until they happen that is all that they are) will remain a dictatorship.

    * The P.A. hasn’t demonstrated that it can actually control the “military wings” of the various “militant” organizations that are part of the war against Israel.

    * The “insurgency” is still going strong in Iraq and the U.S. is still have all the problems with the same intensity it was having six months and a year ago.

    Unfortunately, I think a lot of neo-conservatives and hawks are going to think that they are the top of the mountain when they haven’t even left the station.

  11. Eric II,

    I don’t think that’s a very fair criticism though. I am pretty sure that on most issues you could say the same of the Reason staff. I think the problem you have with the NYT editorial page isn’t their consistency, its their positions.

  12. Gary – I could not agree with you more in that they are going to think that they are the top of the mountain when they haven’t even left the station. I might say that “think” should be “claim”, though.

    To state the obvious: Whatever happens, if it seems to be a plus, the ins attempt to claim, through whatever convoluted logic, that it is due to their efforts, despite the outs dragging their feet.

    If whatever happens seems to be a negative, the ins claim that outs, in some manner, prevented the ins from taking the correct course of action.

    It’s been going on since George Washington’s second term.

    The viewpoint you receive, ins or outs, is of course the media you choose to consume. What the politicos and media are just now beginning to realize is that there is another, new type, of media taking root, which is not yet so easily controlled. We felt the same sort of way in the sixties when the underground press was beginning to be. It didn’t make it.

    The most profitable, Rolling Stone, turned into what it is today, just another left-leaning magazine. I wonder what Raoul Duke, el. Al., thought of that progression.

    Still, are the most prominent bloggers immune to the contamination of money? Or are there too many of them? Or is the web inherently different? Stay tuned.

  13. Yeah, before anyone gloats it should be remembered that one of those curiousities of history is sumed up in “ca plus change…”. After all, fifteen years ago when the Soviet Union fell, the West was predicting the development of Russia as a strong, democratic nation with all the irrational exuberance that the neocons are currently displaying. Since then, we have seen the installation of a former KGB goon as president who has done more to restore authoritarian rule than promote civil rights.

    We’ll see on Iraq.

  14. Ken

    There has never been a time when the democratic transformation of the mid-east was not an important justification of the war…nor does it make sense to abandon that goal in the aftermath – that would be childish.

    I could have been persuaded by events that the war was the wrong way to pursue the goal – it is simply untrue that I would ignore any negative signs. There are ways the Arab street could indicate a freshened belief in the bankrupt political ideas that once inspired real enthusiasm in that part of the world. Do you see ANY such signs?

    Hell, the Iraqis could have sent up a bunch of Baathists in those elections. Proxy parties were running…and polled dismally.

    Where do you see any negative signs I should be paying attention to?

    I will venture some predictions, too. BEFORE the end of 2005: Non-governmental militias in the territory of the PA will be disarmed; Syrian troops will be out of Lebanon, and the Hizbollah Militia will be disarmed; the regime of Baby Assad in Syria will be replaced by a democracy;
    Egypt will hold genuine competitive elections (I personally think Mubarak will win genuine elections); the mullahs will be gone, and Iran will be a free republic; Jordan will have largely complete the transition to a constitutional monarchy; the Gulf states (including Saudi Arabia) will commence the transition to constitutional rule; Pakistan will reach a favorable agreement with India on Kashmir, and Musharif will become the father of his country in a way Jenna never was.

    Opium smoke? I don’t think so. This war is mostly over, and we won.

    South West Asia is going to join the modern world…and Bush was the visionary who made it happen in an astonishingly short time.

  15. The reason nobody saw democratization coming was it was from the boomerang effect

    If Damascus had a hand in this murder, as many Lebanese suspect, it had a boomerang effect on Lebanon’s politics

    which is not a tribute to Australia’s efforts but an explanation why _nobody_ could have predicted it.

  16. I think they meant west Manhattan.

  17. Andrew,

    I’ll make sure to paste those predictions to a word file. We’ll see how you do.

  18. “Syrian troops will be out of Lebanon, and the Hizbollah Militia will be disarmed”

    If Syrian troops pull out of Lebanon then who exactly will be doing the disarming of Hezbollah?

  19. I’ll make sure to paste those predictions to a word file. We’ll see how you do.

    Now THAT was predictable!

  20. It’s so amusing to watch you liberals whine and snipe, which is what people do when they are shown to be wrong at every turn. The moonbat left is certainly putting on a floorshow worthy of a seedy, third-class dive. And it’s always refreshing to know that if GWB came up with a cure for cancer, you folk would find a way to extol the virtues of malignancy.

    Face it: you’re wrong, about everything. Period. You will continue to be wrong. You lost. Get used to it. Dry those eyes and ponder moving out of mamma’s basement and doing something with your life.

  21. As usual, it is amazing to see how even on this comment chain, the American left-wingers cling to the hope of bad news and failure for America as well as the hope for continued subjugation for people under tyranny. Lefties: Look at who you are in a de facto alliance with here. What happened to your idealism and your desire to save people?

    Has it ever occurred to any of you guys that Bush didn’t talk much about nation-building or the domino effect of freeing Iraq because that strategy was better left unmentioned? In what world can you believe that saying “we’re going to invade Iraq because we think it will eventually bring down every Arab dictatorship” would be a good thing to make public?

    In a war, you make the moves you have to make to fit your overall strategy and you do NOT explain your moves to your enemy in advance. After Pearl Harbor, who did we invade first? Tunisia. Where were the people like you back then screaming about how Tunisia had nothing to do with it and how they had no WMD and how we should be looking at ourselves and what we did to make the Japanese so angry with us.

    Oh wait, I’m sure you don’t even believe there is a war on. Too bad our enemies disagree.

  22. What the NYT meant to say was “few in our cloistered little Pauline Kael bubble” thought . . .

  23. Gee Whiz, do people have a memory or not?

    Here is a link to a 2003 article outlining the causes of the war (the failure of Arab Islamic culture and nations), why America was targeted, what our options for response were, and a strategic overview of what we were trying to accomplish. Although it is dated July, 2003, this document is actually an updated version of a 2002 (pre-Iraq invasion) document.

    So all those who presume that WMD was the only justification for war, or have somehow conveniently forgotten the other justifications given for war in Iraq, please go read this:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20040202051739/http://denbeste.nu/essays/strategic_overview.shtml

    Also, to get a deeper understanding of Red State American culture, you might try reading this 27 page article written during the Clinton Administration:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20040202053417/denbeste.nu/external/Mead01.html

    And for those too dense to understand it, the mere possession of WMD has never been justification for War. It is the intent to use WMD in an offensive manner, or even a covert manner which is the danger. It is a known FACT that Saddam Hussein had already possessed AND USED WMD in his wars with Iran and Kuwait, and on his own people. So after 9/11, even without ANY PROVABLE LINK between Saddam Hussein and 9/11, there was a NON-TRIVIAL risk that Saddam, post-9/11, would covertly supply WMD to one of many existing terrorist groups for the purpose of striking the USA.

    Finally, from a strategic point of view, you first strike the enemy where he is exposed. Because of the existing sanctions, the existing No-Fly zones, the existing Kurdish pseudo-government, and the existing armed forces build-up in the Persion Gulf, attacking Iraq just made the most sense. Those who cannot grasp this fact are either terminally ignorant, or willy obtuse.

  24. Is there anyone out there who really believes that the American people would support a war for the sole purpose of freeing others from tyranny?

    Ken,

    Judging by the American troops’ performance, behavior, commitment and pride in all the positive things we rarely, if ever, read about in the NYT… I’d say the answer to your question is, “yes, there are plenty.”

  25. willfully, willfully… must proofread.

  26. ” I am pretty sure that on most issues you could say the same of the Reason staff.”

    On foreign policy, SS reform, and even tax reform, there seem to be some important differences. I’m sure there are other issues as well. Of course, this isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison, since we’re talking about columnists rather than editors. Outside of Krugman and Herbert, I wouldn’t call the Times’ Op-Ed columnists predictable.

    “I think the problem you have with the NYT editorial page isn’t their consistency, its their positions.”

    I disagree often with the Washington Post’s editorials, but for the most part, I wouldn’t make the same accusation regarding their staff. Both the Post and the Times are left-of-center publications, but the Post’s editorials do occassionally show a willingness to take up stances that break with convention, or at least show some kind of intellectual give-and-take going on. By contrast, it seems to me as if the Times’s editorials on prominent issues are usually copied verbatim from an elongated version of a limosuine liberal’s guidebook.

  27. Andrew,

    Your time-line is a little optimistic. We are not in the end-game yet, just the end of the beginning. The trasformation of the Middle East is going to take longer than the end of 2005.

    If you look at the model of the Soviet Union, there are still nations just beginning to spread their wings and be free – 14 years after the Soviet Union dissolved. Me thinks your euphoria has gotten the best of you. This is a long-term project, so don’t be discouraged when your predictions don’t come true by the end of 2005

  28. To Ken Schultz:

    However, wasn’t the Iraq War supposed to be about self-defense?

    Yes, it was. And one of the pillars of Bush’s strategic thinking was that, by jump-starting liberal reform in the Arab world, people would turn away from terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism and begin to look to their own civic institutions for improving their lives.

    The WMD argument was put out front as the legal reason for the war, and even in hindsight it was justifiable as such. But like it or not democratization of the Arab world was always part of the strategic reasoning.

    A democratic and peaceful Arab world will make all of us a lot safer. So, yes, the Iraq war was indeed “about self-defense,” on more than one level.

  29. I should add that the success thus far of the democratization strategy (knock on wood), more than anything else, vindicates the view of the unfairly maligned “neo-cons,” who wanted to make liberal reform the primary strategic pillar of the Iraq war. However, it was “realists” like Colin Powell, George Tenet, and Tony Blair who persuaded Bush that the “legal” reason for the war (i.e., Saddam’s history of violating UNSC resolutions) had to be put out front. The result was that the Administration did not always do the best job of communicating the democracy strategy, but communicate they did.

    One also shouldn’t fail to read Natan Sharansky’s book, “The Case for Democracy,” which has clearly played a role in consolidating Bush’s strategic thinking on the value of democracy in defeating terrorism.

  30. I’m as happy as anyone to hear that Iraq didn’t pose much of a terrorist threat to American civilians, and I’ll be as happy as the next guy if democracy blooms in the Middle East like a flower in the desert. However, wasn’t the Iraq War supposed to be about self-defense?

    To ask that snarky question, you have to be wilfully ignorant of what the Bush Doctrine says (and has been saying, consistently, since early 2002).

    You see, the Bush administration actually did what liberals have long advocated: they asked themselves, “What are the root causes of this Islamofascist war on the West?” Short version: disfunctional, autocratic/totalitarian societies. Logical conclusion: the long-term security of the West depends on doing something about this.

    Now, you’re welcome to disagree with their analysis, but you can’t just pretend that it doesn’t exist, and that they talked only about WMDs. Anyone who actually reads what Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Perle, and others said prior to the invasion of Iraq will see that “it was all about WMDs” is nonsense.

    The Bush Doctrine argues precisely that freeing Muslims from tyranny is profoundly important to our success in the war with Islamofascism. The short- and intermediate-term reasons for the invasion involved WMDs, attacks on US planes, defiance of UN resolutions, etc. But the long-term reason was regime change in Iraq, as a catalyst for eventual regime changes throughout the region.

    Perhaps you’re just honestly confused by the fact that, for politic reasons, it’s not stated as starkly as I’d state it: Iraq was the best place to start the process of toppling, one after the other, all the tyrannical regimes in the region, including those of our “friends.”

  31. Pragmatist said:

    “We know Bush didn’t go into Iraq “to free the people”. ”

    Ever heard of ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’?
    WMDs may have been the headline, but freedom was well written into the purpose of the war. Anyone who claims otherwise is either ignorant or lying.

  32. To call the Washington Post left-of-center is a bit rediculous. They have been very consistent supporters of Bush’s policy. Especially the war.

  33. “I’ll make sure to paste those predictions to a word file. We’ll see how you do.”

    Andrew, I don’t know what you do for a living, but if you’re doing anything other than stock picking, you missed your calling. Think about it–in the stock market, there are much fewer variables to solve.

    “As usual, it is amazing to see how even on this comment chain, the American left-wingers cling to the hope of bad news and failure for America as well as the hope for continued subjugation for people under tyranny. Lefties: Look at who you are in a de facto alliance with here. What happened to your idealism and your desire to save people?”

    I don’t know if this was addressed at me, but as I keep on having to point out–just in case–calling me a leftie is preposterous! They’re called neoconservatives because they’re new to conservativism–they used to be liberals you know.

    …Not supporting the Bush Administration does not a “leftie” make.

    “A democratic and peaceful Arab world will make all of us a lot safer. So, yes, the Iraq war was indeed “about self-defense,” on more than one level.

    I’d say that’s the most convoluted definition of self-defense I’ve ever head, except I hear it all the time. Once again, show me the mechanism by which bombing, invading and occupying a nation effects liberal movements in third party nations, show me how this is supposed to work in a predictable way, and I’ll consider the possibility that in spite of the Arab’s street’s hostility to American foreign policy, they chose to emulate our efforts–Uma wide.

    …And once you’ve done that, I’ll take a second look at the desirability of central planning–especially considering that we have a prescient genius like Bush the Younger runnin’ things.

  34. Here is what I don’t get. Why do we keep bothering to respond to the willfully blind posters, like our dear friend Ken here? It’s just not worth googling up Bush’s pre-war speeches, for instance, he gave one to the Economic Club of Cleveland, I think, where he laid out the reasons for the war, and WMD was just one, most of them looked like what is happening now.

    The ‘Kens’ of this world held fast to the racist point that any flavor of liberal democracy was impossible in the Arab world. Now they maintain that we agreed with them. It’s really just that they refused to hear us. So my question is, why do we care what they think now?

  35. “Once again, show me the mechanism by which bombing, invading and occupying a nation effects liberal movements in third party nations, ”

    Now he sounds like a Creationist. Why do we argue with him?

  36. “The ‘Kens’ of this world held fast to the racist point that any flavor of liberal democracy was impossible in the Arab world.”

    I see what you mean–anyone who thinks that American troops should only be used to defend the United States is obviously a racist.

    I’m not sure that’s the worst thing I’ve been called though–I was called a supporter of terrorism for coming out big against torture.

  37. “WMDs may have been the headline, but freedom was well written into the purpose of the war. Anyone who claims otherwise is either ignorant or lying.”

    I thought we were talking about launching offensives in order to give impetus to liberal movements in third party countries–that’w what we’re doin’, aren’t we?

    I asked for this session today for two purposes: First, to support the core assessments made by Dr. Blix and Dr. ElBaradei. As Dr. Blix reported to this council on January 27th, quote, “Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance, not even today, of the disarmament which was demanded of it,” unquote.

    And as Dr. ElBaradei reported, Iraq’s declaration of December 7, quote, “did not provide any new information relevant to certain questions that have been outstanding since 1998.”

    POWELL: My second purpose today is to provide you with additional information, to share with you what the United States knows about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction as well as Iraq’s involvement in terrorism, which is also the subject of Resolution 1441 and other earlier resolutions.

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2003/02/20030205-1.html

    Where’s the beef?

  38. Is there anyone out there who really believes that the American people would support a war for the sole purpose of freeing others from tyranny?

    Number one, I would hope so.

    But more importantly, you speak as if that event would exist in a vaccuum. Actions have consequences. Nothing, I repeat nothing, that happens in the world has a sole purpose or a sole effect. The French didn’t help us win our freedom from the British purely out of the goodness of their hearts, yet they did and it had consequences. Iraq will have (and already has had) positive consequences irrespective of the issue of WMD.

  39. Ken—Perhaps you don’t recall The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq.

    “Whereas the Iraq Liberation Act (Public Law 105-338) expressed the sense of Congress that it should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove from power the current Iraqi regime and promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime; ”

    http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/10/20021002-2.html

  40. Interesting how the comments here so frequently consist of moving the goalposts farther on down the field.

    For instance, the collapse of the USSR is REALLY a failure because Russia now has Putin, not democracy. In case you’ve forgotten, the USSR was a EMPIRE with the likes of Putin at its head. Now they’re just a local power. And, exactly when was the last time Russian people had a free democracy? Curious that so many former USSR client nations DO now have free democracies, though, isn’t it? Or, don’t those count when you’re trying to demonstrate failure?

    Or, the fact that Saudi, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, etc are dabbling in democratic process? Hey, they’re not REAL democracies and, anyway, its just for show, or temporary until the pressure’s off, or some such blather. That’s not REAL progress. In case you’ve forgotten, the US declared its independence in 1776, yet, the last state did not ratify the Constitution until 1781. No doubt the English of that day mocked the fledgling government of the US as it grew. They, too, had a vested interest in its failure. They very much wanted to vindicate their opinion that those ‘colonists’ could never govern themselves.

    Just keep moving those goalposts, friends.

  41. Consider http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nssall.html “We will actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free markets, and free trade to every corner of the world. The events of September 11, 2001, taught us that weak states, like Afghanistan, can pose as great a danger to our national interests as strong states. Poverty does not make poor people into terrorists and murderers. Yet poverty, weak institutions, and corruption can make weak states vulnerable to terrorist networks and drug cartels within their borders.”

    Or consider http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2004/11.04/05-terror.html “A John F. Kennedy School of Government researcher has cast doubt on the widely held belief that terrorism stems from poverty, finding instead that terrorist violence is related to a nation’s level of political freedom.”

    Personally, I believe that a person is much less likely to want to blow himself up or send his children off to blow himself up if that person feels empowered, is optimistic about the future, and looks forward to watching his children grow up. I also think that a government that promotes equal rights for women will help reduce terrorism.

  42. “Once again, show me the mechanism by which bombing, invading and occupying a nation effects liberal movements in third party nations,”

    It’s certainly not like we’ve ever used this method before (Germany, Japan) or anything…

    The mechanism is that it removes the oppressive regime that has the reigns of power and allows a new government to be formed.

    Sometimes it produces democracy (actually, more important is the rule-of-law and protected rights – how one chooses leaders and officials, if these 2 things are properly protected, is not nearly so important. Of course, democracy usually is the best at both of these, but it’s a means to an end, not the end itself), sometimes not, but it works a whole lot more often than leaving the oppresive regime in control – oppressive regimes simply massacre the beginning of any movement, keeping those with less conviction in line and doubting.

  43. I wonder what the NYTimes had to say about the Civil War?
    I know there was some grousing in New York about the implimentation of a draft to free the darkies (which is perfectly in keeping with Democratic political philosophy). That was chronicled by Martin Scorses.
    Was there a NYTimes during the Civil War?

  44. I have to say that the level of willful blindness on the part of Ken Schultz is the most impressive I’ve seen in months, from any anti-Iraq-war critic. At least people like Michael Moore have the sense to stay quiet when it’s starting to look like they’ve been proven wrong.

    When even Jon Stewart is starting to describe his “cognitive dissonance” on Bush’s policies, it’s time to come in from the cold.

  45. “For instance, the collapse of the USSR is REALLY a failure because Russia now has Putin, not democracy.”

    The collapse of the USSR is an enormous success because the USSR no longer represents a colossal threat to the people of the United States. I’m not sure I understand how that applies to this discussion–The USSR didn’t collapse as a direct result of the United Stated having invaded a third party state.

    …I don’t think anyone has suggested that the way the people of Iraq are governed wasn’t affected by the invasion.

    “Or, the fact that Saudi, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, etc are dabbling in democratic process? Hey, they’re not REAL democracies and, anyway, its just for show, or temporary until the pressure’s off, or some such blather.”

    I’m cautiously optimistic in regards to liberal movements in Lebanon. When it comes to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, I’m skeptical. I don’t know enough about liberal movements in Jordan to form an informed opinion. I certainly hope things go well in Iraq–I really do. Our troops are there, you know.

    The legitimacy of the liberal movements in these countries isn’t really the question–at least it hasn’t been for me in this thread. I question the logic behind the causality of the cause/effect relationship you seem to have accepted as fact.

    …Beyond that, even if occupying one nation does indeed promote liberal movements in third party nations, I continue to question whether this is an appropriate use of American troops.

  46. I don’t think the predictions I supplied above are that far off the mark…and here is why – IF at least half of those things haven’t happened by most of three years after the war, then I would begin to conclude that the war was probably a mistake.

    That the Arab and larger Moslem world was eventually – pretty much within the coming generation -going to join the modern world.

    It has always been an option to just wait, and deal with the growing pains as they occurred. The democratic transformation model only argues that it makes MORE sense to invest in a RAPID transformation of the Arab world. Fairly rapid results are needed to justify it…else we should have just waited.

    BTW I don’t think Bush’s Europe trip was just window-dressing. Nor was it much about Iraq. It was about Syria and Lebanon, Israel and Palestine…after Arafat. Europe is going to get Abbas to make peace with Israel, and start killing rejectionists. After Egypt and Jordan made peace with Israel, Damascus pretty much defined Syria as the Rejectionist state. With peace in Palestine, Assad’s dictatorship has no further justification.

  47. To all anti-Bush Demos, Charles is finally blowing off steam for having to endure months of staturation of stories in the press, TV, and in liberal circles, of all the negatives of the Iraq War to FINALLY be able to say, see, you weren’t right in your assessment.

    Here in San Francisco, you were considered a social outcast if you so much as breathed any support for preemptive action in Iraq. I saw not a SINGLE Bush bumper sticker in the City during elections. Total intimidation tactics. Well, you get what you deserve back. Chamberlain’s appeasement in the 30s is now considered disgraceful. There is such a thing as getting into a weak, disgraceful mindset, even if it’s source is a desire for peace. It must be disorienting, and some folks will never get it, but the smart ones will admit they were on the wrong track, learn, move on, and let it be a lesson to them in the future, when no doubt the same type of issue will come up again.

  48. “Ken—Perhaps you don’t recall The Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq.”

    I have no qualms about stating that one of the objectives of War in Iraq was the removal of Saddam Hussein. This War was justified as a war of self-defense, but, especially considering that Hussein was effectively contained, it was not a war of self defense.

    I contend that the people of the United States would not have supported the War in Iraq if they knew that it wasn’t a war of self-defense.

    There is an argument for killing and dying on behalf of our allies–an alliance, after all, is a form of self-defense, but the idea that we should sacrifice the lives of our precious troops solely to benefit someone else’s freedom is another argument entirely.

    …The idea that we should send our troops to die in one country in order to benefit people in third party nations is yet another argument still.

  49. Kenny,
    The proof is in the pudding, and as the nursury rhyme goes, “they stuck in their thumb, and pulled out a plum”.

    Shame to wast my best material on a Buchanonite nitwit, but those are the breaks.

  50. “Shame to wast my best material on a Buchanonite nitwit, but those are the breaks.”

    Buchanan’s not much for immigration–with some reservations about security, I’m close to an open borders guy. Buchanan’s not much for Free Trade–I’ve been a Free Trade advocate since the day I found out what Free Trade was. Buchanan, as I recall, is a budget over tax cuts guy–I’d rather cut taxes than the budget any day.

    So Calling me a Buchanonite is ridiculous. A Reaganite–perhaps.

    …By the way, your best material consists entirely of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.

  51. “So Calling me a Buchanonite is ridiculous.”

    Don’t bother explaining. This thread got an Instalanche, which all but guaranteed a surge in posts by mouth-breathing GOP die-hards ready to denounce any comments questioning the Bush Administration’s foreign policy line as being the work of “Buchananites”, “leftists”, and other such nefarious elements.

  52. Sadly not Ken. You can keep lying about post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacies – I’m amazed that you haven’t just simplified it and yelled that neocons are now simply engaging in post hoc rationalizations for the war – but it really isn’t hard to go to Google and find quotes. Really. It isn’t.

    America is a friend to the people of Iraq. Our demands are directed only at the regime that enslaves them and threatens us. When these demands are met, the first and greatest benefit will come to Iraqi men, women and children. – George W. Bush

    Combat forces of the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Poland, and other countries enforced the demands of the United Nations, ended the rule of Saddam Hussein – and the people of Iraq are free. – George W. Bush

    Everywhere that freedom stirs, let tyrants fear. – George W. Bush

    For all who love freedom and peace, the world without Saddam Hussein’s regime is a better and safer place. – George W. Bush

    I believe in the transformational power of liberty. I believe that the free Iraq is in this nation’s interests. I believe a free Afghanistan is in this nation’s interest. – George W. Bush

    I sent American troops to Iraq to make its people free, not to make them American. Iraqis will write their own history and find their own way. – George W. Bush

    Some have argued that confronting the threat from Iraq could detract from the war against terror. To the contrary, confronting the threat posed by Iraq is crucial to winning the war on terror. – George W. Bush

    The men and women of Afghanistan are building a nation that is free, and proud, and fighting terror – and America is honored to be their friend. – George W. Bush

    The momentum of freedom in our world is unmistakable – and it is not carried forward by our power alone. We can trust in that greater power Who guides the unfolding of the years. And in all that is to come, we can know that His purposes are just and true. – George W. Bush

    The story of America is the story of expanding liberty: an ever-widening circle, constantly growing to reach further and include more. Our nation’s founding commitment is still our deepest commitment: In our world, and here at home, we will extend the frontiers of freedom. – George W. Bush

    The terrorists are fighting freedom with all their cunning and cruelty because freedom is their greatest fear – and they should be afraid, because freedom is on the march. – George W. Bush

    The tyrant has fallen, and Iraq is free. – George W. Bush

    The United States of America will never be intimidated by thugs and assassins. The killers will fail, and the Iraqi people will live in freedom. – George W. Bush

    The wisest use of American strength is to advance freedom. – George W. Bush

    We’re pursuing a strategy of freedom around the world, because I understand free nations will reject terror. Free nations will answer the hopes and aspirations of their people. Free nations will help us achieve the peace we all want. – George W. Bush

    You can’t put democracy and freedom back into a box. – George W. Bush

    We will help the Iraqi people to find the benefits and assume the duties of self-government. The form of those institutions will arise from Iraq’s own culture and its own choices. – George W. Bush, 3/26/03

    The goal is an Iraq that stands on its own feet and that governs itself in freedom and in unity and with respect for the rights of all its citizens. We’d like to get to that goal as quickly as possible. – Paul Wolfowitz, 4/1/03

    But clearly, even though it has been plainly stated time and again that the longest of long-term reasons for going into Iraq was to instigate a democratic revolution in the Middle East – liberals and neo-isolationist paleocons (well, who knows if calling them neo-isolationist is correct, I doubt that Buchanan ever wasn’t isolationist) will simply assert that the neocons and other assorted crazy people who like Bush are simply coming up with post hoc rationalizations for the invasion and are now taking credit for something they shouldn’t. How they can so blatantly lie with a straight face is an interesting opportunity to glance at the growing irrationality of people knowing that their ideologies are being invalidated with every passing day, but past that, there’s not much value in talking with them.

  53. Great post, thanks for sharing.

    Great list Chaos. I hope you don’t mind me shamelessly reposting it everywhere.

  54. Ken Shultz: “In fact, before the invasion of Iraq, I only remember hearing a faint mumbling from the Administration in regards to the Middle East and democracy.”

    Speak for yourself. Those of us in favor of the war have understood this as the prime motivation from day one. And, I might add, we’ve been arguing it since 2002 all over the internet.

  55. Oh, and Eric II,

    I voted for Gore in 2000.

    I would have voted for Bush anyway, because I support this war, but people like you have repelled me from the Democratic party faster than I thought possible.

  56. what we need now are some left wing retards to help balance the tao of hit and run.

  57. Gary: “* The “insurgency” is still going strong in Iraq and the U.S. is still have all the problems with the same intensity it was having six months and a year ago. ”

    Do you have any support for the specific claim that the problems are at the same intensity level as 18 months ago? Is this your statistical study or someone else’s?

    Also, how does this study quantify the related changes in Iraq such as the greater willingness of Iraqis to maintain the security? Has there been a study of that, comparing now to 18 months ago?

    How does this study factor in Iraqi opinions toward the so-called insurgents? How were their opinions sampled and quantified?

    What detailed information do you have on the insurgency itself–what percent are of Iraqi national origin, for example?

    Finally, what before-and-after comparison can you give us of Iraqi policy and tactics for securing their country?

    ***
    I hope you understand that I am asking only because you spoke so authoritatively, I figured you must have access to some information that you did not include.

  58. “I would have voted for Bush anyway, because I support this war, but people like you have repelled me from the Democratic party faster than I thought possible.”

    Thanks for proving my point. Can you clue me in on the company that produces foreign policy Stepford-Republicans like you? Revenue growth has to be going through the roof.

  59. “Speak for yourself. Those of us in favor of the war have understood this as the prime motivation from day one. And, I might add, we’ve been arguing it since 2002 all over the internet.”

    Back in day one, you should have spoken louder.

    WASHINGTON (AP) – Nearly seven in 10 Americans believe it is likely that ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein was personally involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, says a poll out almost two years after the terrorists’ strike against this country.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm

  60. “By the way, your best material consists entirely of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy.”

    This is a risibly unfounded claim. I know it is hard to admit that you were deaf to the arguments being made at the time, but you were. Just because you rejected an argument does not mean that it was not made, or that you were not wrong in doing so.

    And don’t smear RR’s name like that. “Mr Gorbachev, Tear down that wall!” is not the demand of an isolationist who narrowly interprets US interests like some kind of bean counter.

  61. “You can keep lying about post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacies…”

    My “post hoc ergo propter hoc” comment was directed specifically at another comment–you know that.

  62. Ken, do you have some absolute proof that he was not? I am just curious. You can prove a negative? The Bush admin never made the argument that the war was about the specific attacks of 911, and there were certainly enough terrorist finding shelter in Iraq before the war, Abu Nidal, for one.

  63. Ken, don’t answer that, go back to the comfortable circle jerk you enjoyed prior to the instalanche, where your primacy was not questioned, and your acolytes truly appreciated you. Your arguments are tiresome, and the funny thing is, it is so plain to the vast majority of readers how blind you have been in the debates leading up to the war.

    It’s kind of pathetic, really, but whatever floats your boat. I just can’t be bothered.

  64. “This is a risibly unfounded claim.”

    You’re making a further fool of yourself. Look at your comment–you simplified your argument down to a children’s rhyme!

    Your implication–to any unbiased observer–is that just as a plumb came out of the pudding, so Bush was right to invade Iraq because of what came afterward.

    …Your oversimplification was logically indefensible, but thanks–I needed the laugh. It’s like hailing the prescience of a man for betting his life savings on a hand of black jack just because he won!

    …Broken clocks tell perfect time twice a day–is all this new to you?

  65. Ken Schultz:
    I’m as happy as anyone to hear that Iraq didn’t pose much of a terrorist threat to American civilians, and I’ll be as happy as the next guy if democracy blooms in the Middle East like a flower in the desert. However, wasn’t the Iraq War supposed to be about self-defense?

    Google up some reportage and bloggage of Operation Viking Hammer, and see if that counts. There’s also a chapter on this, possibly the biggest Special Forces operation in American history, in Robin Moore’s Hunting Down Saddam.

  66. Sanity Inspector,

    Did you see my comment at 5:09?

  67. While jumping on Ken is fun and all, and perhaps deserved, he does make a good point–one that all of us, me included–shouldn’t forget. Would the American public have supported this war if it’d been sold more as a Democracy-on-the-march mission instead of as a get-the-WMD mission? Yes, yes, I know Bush used those and other examples, but anyone who said that WMD was NOT the key casus belli is not being intellectually honest. WMD was ostensibly why the invasion needed to happen in 2003, not sometime thereafter. Personally, I still would have supported the war, just as I still do now, and I am thrilled with the effects it seems to be having on the wider Middle East and hope these effects are just the beginning of a very great and positive change. But would the rest of the American public have felt the same in late 2002/early 2003? This doesn’t justify the “it was only about WMD claims” of the Boxer whiners, but for the sake of honesty, I think one ought to acknowledge Ken’s point, because it is an “does an end justify the means” question. Would the American public have supported the war for the sake of Democracy? I guess we’ll never know…

  68. “And don’t smear RR’s name like that. “Mr Gorbachev, Tear down that wall!” is not the demand of an isolationist who narrowly interprets US interests like some kind of bean counter.”

    I went door to door for Ronald Reagan. Ronald Reagan ran a pragmatic foreign policy–I defended it tooth and nail, probably, even when I shouldn’t have. George Shultz, Jean Kirkpatrick, Jim Baker–these are the names of pragmatists.

    …Neoconservativsm is, in many ways, the opposite of pragmatism. You understand that, do you not?

  69. “Sentiments like these mark the author of “Imperial Hubris” as something of a political hybrid–a cross, not to put too fine a point on it, between an overwrought Buchananite and a raving Chomskyite. … reserving special fury not only for America’s alliance with Israel but for our “hallucinatory crusade for democracy,” Mr. Scheuer also swivels to assail Washington for being insufficiently hawkish in waging the war on terror.”

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110006359

    Sorry, I just couldn’t help thinking of Ken again. He seems to have grabbed hold of my imagination today.

  70. And you may have went door to door for him, but you did not understand him, apparently.

  71. “Sentiments like these mark the author of “Imperial Hubris”…”

    I don’t see what your quote has to do with me; but if it comes from opinionjournal.com, it must be ingenious.

  72. “It’s certainly not like we’ve ever used this method before (Germany, Japan) or anything…”

    Those nations attacked us and our allies.

    “The mechanism is that it removes the oppressive regime that has the reigns of power and allows a new government to be formed.”

    You wrote this in response to my statement which reads, “Once again, show me the mechanism by which bombing, invading and occupying a nation effects liberal movements in third party nations.”

    No one is arguing that invading Iraq didn’t change the government in Iraq.

  73. Don’t like Bush? Okay. Lots of people don’t.

    Think he lied. Okay. (I would have used “was wrong” in the sentence, but different strokes for different folks.)

    Maybe we totally screwed up in our REASONS for invading Iraq, but it’s time for everyone to finally admit that what our soldiers are fighting and dying for in the middle-east is helping to change the politics of the whole hemisphere and enhancing the lives of 10’s of millions.

    The people of Iraq and Afganhistan are on their way to freedom. Yes they lost over 100,000 people along the way, but sooner or later there was going to be a war against the totalitarian regime, and it would have likely been bloodier and carried on longer if it hadn’t been brought to a swift end by our military.

    What’s going on in Iran with their political upheaval, the election reform in Saudi Arabia, the peaceful ousting of the pro-Syrian regime in Lebanon, Libya’s change of heart on WMD’s, etc. that’s all because of U.S. intervention in Iraq and the establishment of democracy there.

    So what if maybe Bush really is an idiot and maybe this is a case of the idiot savant who tripped over success? The end result is still that Iraq has a new government, Lebanon is tossing Syria out of their country, Iran is scared of a revolution within their borders, and Libya decided to play nice.

    Hate Bush, and don’t give him credit if you don’t want (He certainly didn’t do any of the fighting over in Iraq) but at least admit that whatever he did wrong, it does look like the invasion of Iraq could lead to good changes ahead.

    Worst and most pessimistic case, we have a ton of new military presence in the gulf with troops and armor within striking distance of Iran, Syria, etc. and we never had that before (which I think helps to encourage peace in it’s own way.)

    Best case, in ten years we have young new democracies in Irag, Afghanistan, Lebanon, and other gulf states looking for our continued help as they develop their economies and work toward military security. Countries that no longer have maniacs and mullahs in control of their military, with governments that have to answer to the people.

    I look at all the former Soviet states that are now strong U.S. Allies, and can’t help but think that their new-found freedom is part of the reason they side with us. I’m optimistic that freedom in the middle-east will bring us friends there as well.

  74. Ken,

    You obviously missed my earlier comment with its references, so I’ll restate:

    Go here
    http://web.archive.org/web/20040202051739/http://denbeste.nu/essays/strategic_overview.shtml

    for a 15-page long strategic overview on why invading Iraq was 100% about defending America.

    FYI, initially I opposed the invasion of Iraq. In September, 2002, I even emailed the White House to register my opposition. In December, 2002, I again emailed the White House to register my change of heart. I don’t know about anyone else, but the WMD issue was not the convincing factor to me, although it played a role. The key element to getting me to change my mind was exactly the long-term strategy of toppling all the autocratic regimes of the Middle East.

    To be absolutely blunt, I would not have supported the invasion if our goals were limited to only Iraq. It was the grand vision of changing the systems and cultures that convinced me to support the war. The reason this was compelling to me was that I did not view 9/11 as the start of the War. Rather, I viewed Munich, 1972 as the beginning. A thirty year pattern of ever escalating attacks which culminated in 9/11 convinced me that a small solution, such as targeting only Bin Laden, or limiting ourselves to Afghanistan just didn’t make long-term sense to me. I must admit that the spectacle of Arabs dancing in the streets on 9/11 made me think that maybe, just maybe there was something really wrong there that needed fixing.

    In summary, when I thought the proposed War was only about WMD, I opposed it. I thought that Hussein could probably be contained. He was just narcissistic enough not to want to be a martyr, and that would probably keep him in his box. But once I comprehended the greater strategy, I signed on. I was almost as dismissive of the WMD justification as the opponents of the war were. I won’t be satisfied until the Saudi royal family is deposed.

    But strategically, we couldn’t really invade the Saudi’s first. And yes, oil is the reason why we couldn’t. An invasion of Saudi Arabia would completely destabilize the world’s fuel supply, not just America’s. That would lead to massive upheaval, and even famine in many third World countries. The primary reason Europe opposed us is the fear of this very destabilization.

    To say that such Grand arguments were not made is just true. You are free to disagree with any argument made. But denying it was made is not honest. Were WMD overhyped? Yes. Why? To try to get more Allies abroad to sign on, and get American non-strategical-thinking fence sitters off the fence. In short, WMD was hyped because it worked. That doesn’t invalidate the other reasons. Do many Americans buy into the argument that WMD were the ONLY reason we invaded? Sure, but that is because certain elements of the press have been saying repeatedly that the ONLY reason was WMD. The Administration never said that.

    Now you can suggest that I am just lying, but in that case, you are not really engaging in discussion, but in invective.

  75. Ken,

    One more thing…

    It has been my observation that the only people complaining about being deceived about the War in Iraq are those who never actually supported at all. In other words, they were not deceived themselves, because if they had been, then they would not have been anti-War. So the complaint is that OTHERS were deceived. And when the OTHERS tell you that we were not deceived, that other factors played a role in our support, you essentially say, “Liar, Liar, you really were deceived, but just don’t want to admit it.”

    For those War supporters who were primarily convinced by the WMD argument, I find that they are generally relieved that the casualties were so low, and are cautiously optimistic about the progress being made. For them, there is an element of post-hoc justification. But most bloggers were into the issue on a much deeper level, and were aware of the many justifications offered. For some, toppling Hussein was unfinished business from 1991, and that was justification enough.

    Finally, Americans really do remember that Clinton & Co. struck Iraq in 1998, and Democrats, Republicans, and even the French ALL BELIEVED that Iraq had WMD. So we forgive Bush for being wrong there, and even suspect that Syria might reasonably be a repository for the WMD that Saddam did once own.

    I don’t know why you are holding out. Personal reasons, I guess. But the other arguments WERE made, and they WERE pivotal to some of us in our decision making process.

  76. Ken,

    There is one other element of the population that were deceived. I count among them the just defeated Presidential candidate John Kerry. In an interview in San Francisco, Kerry basically came out and said that the reason he voted FOR giving the President the authority to go to war in Iraq was because he thought Bush was bluffing. Later in the campaign, he was quoted as saying he still would have voted FOR that authority because that authority was something the President needed to have in order to confront the UN. His problem was in how Bush used that authority.

    In other words, Kerry thought “the bluff” was more credible after Congress authorized the War. What Kerry never counted on was that Bush did not consider the threat a bluff. In Kerry’s words, Bush “fucked it up.”

    That begs the question of just who was doing the deceiving. Kerry’s position is that he thought Bush was lying about his actual intention to invade, and Bush deceived him when it turned out he wasn’t lying. Now THAT is some convoluted logic. In essence, “Bush deceived me by NOT lying when I thought he was lying.”

  77. Ken,

    I had another thought. The English really were deceived, but not intentionally. Tony Blair really did base his support for the invasion on the WMD argument. That is why he has been more damaged by the failure to find WMD in Iraq. But the fault for this doesn’t lie with Bush. He and his Administration, not the least of which was Paul Wolfowitz, were making multiple arguments.

    The English were psychologically and mentally trapped by their own commitment to the idea of the EU and international law. Since WMD was the issue before the UN, they felt compelled to make WMD the primary issue.

    No such mental or pychological trap exists in Americans. Americans are suspicious of the EU and the UN, and have no compunction about acting unitlaterally if it is in our interest. In other words, the majority of Americans are NOT post-national.

    The pre-War posturing at the UN made sense. Try to get as many allies as possible, by all means you can. But in the end, our own national interest would have been enough for us to act alone if need be. The Left’s fetish with international conventions leaves most Americans shaking their heads.

  78. Give Paul Freund the credit he deserves and give Scott Harris his own blog -and I’ll read it.

    Scott, I too was opposed to the war, or as I prefer to call it the liberation- until I read about the reign of Saddam and the plight of the Iraqi people.

  79. Ken Schulz,
    I can’t believe you would even use a USA Today poll to try to prove anything.

  80. Take another look. USA Today reported on the poll–it appears that Time/CNN commissioned the poll.

    …At any rate, nice Ad Hominem.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2003-09-06-poll-iraq_x.htm

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