Taking a quick break from essay writing to note this from Josh Marshall:
This may surprise some of you, but I rarely if ever get any email from Republicans. But TPM gets email from the whole world, and today I received quite a few from people wanting to know why I wasn’t posting anything about Lebanon. Not having any particular thing to say about the happy contingency of the apparent collapse of the pro-Syrian government there, I didn’t worry about it much, until I got an email referring to this event as part of a “democracy domino.” And then I got it: those insistent correspondents were suggesting that I, as a Democrat, was indifferent to the latest triumph of Bush administration foreign policy.
Now I am aware the State Department made the appropriate noises, as its predecessors would have done, after the Hariri assassination, about Syrian dominance of Lebanon, and I also know the Bush administration has been generally hostile towards the Syrian government, as has been U.S. policy for as long as I can remember. But it literally never crossed my mind that Bush’s fans would credit him with for this positive event, as though his pro-democracy speeches exercise some sort of rhetorical enchantment.
This is the kind of thinking, of course, that has convinced God knows how many people that Ronald Reagan personally won the Cold War. It’s the old post hoc ergo propter hoc (after this, therefore because of this) logical fallacy.
Sure, Lebanon has been under Syria’s boot for a quarter century, so it’s just coincidence that the locals are demanding freedom at the same time Iraqis are getting theirs.
Sure, Saudis have never voted ever, so it’s just coincidence that they had their first-ever, semi-free, all-male elections around the same time Iraqis got theirs.
Sure, Egyptians haven’t been promised a free election since the Brits left (and before the Brits even arrived), so it’s just coincidence that they’re getting promised one right after the Iraqis got theirs.
Sure, Syrians have never had free elections and aren’t about to get any, but it’s still just coincidence that they’re facing an uprising of popular will right after Iraqis expressed their popular will.
Maybe, in the world of Joshua Micah Marshall, that’s all just circumstantial evidence.
But juries have convicted guilty men on far less.
Smile, Josh — we’re winning the damn war. Why can’t you admit, just once, that the guy in charge is doing an OK job?
UPDATE: Josh Marshall might be better informed if he spent more time reading… Josh Marshall:
In short, the administration is trying to roll the table–to use U.S. military force, or the threat of it, to reform or topple virtually every regime in the region, from foes like Syria to friends like Egypt, on the theory that it is the undemocratic nature of these regimes that ultimately breeds terrorism. So events that may seem negative–Hezbollah for the first time targeting American civilians; U.S. soldiers preparing for war with Syria–while unfortunate in themselves, are actually part of the hawks’ broader agenda. Each crisis will draw U.S. forces further into the region and each countermove in turn will create problems that can only be fixed by still further American involvement, until democratic governments–or, failing that, U.S. troops–rule the entire Middle East.
A tip of the hat to the indispensable Frank Martin.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Speaking of which…