Mark Steyn writes that it must be “awful lonely being Joe Lieberman in the Democratic Party these days.”:
Every time he switches on the news there’s John Kerry sonorously droning out his latest pretzel of a position: Insofar as I understand it, he’s not calling for a firm 100 percent fixed date of withdrawal — like, say, Feb. 4, 2 p.m.; meet at Baghdad bus station with two pieces of carry-on. Don’t worry, it’s not like flying coach on TWA, you’d be able to change the date without paying a surcharge. But Kerry drones that we need to “set benchmarks” for the “transfer of authority.” Actually, the administration’s been doing that for two years — setting dates for the return of sovereignty, for electing a national assembly, for approving a constitution, etc, and meeting all of them. And all during those same two years Kerry and his fellow Democrats have huffed that these dates are far too premature, the Iraqis aren’t in a position to take over, hold an election, whatever. The Defeaticrats were against the benchmarks before they were for them.
These sad hollow men may yet get their way — which is to say they may succeed in persuading the American people that a remarkable victory in the Middle East is in fact a humiliating defeat. It would be an incredible achievement. Peter Worthington, the Canadian columnist and veteran of World War II and Korea, likes to say that there’s no such thing as an unpopular won war. The Democrat-media alliance are determined to make Iraq an exception to that rule. In a week’s time, Iraqis will participate in the most open political contest in the history of the Middle East. They’re building the freest society in the region, and the only truly federal system. In three-quarters of the country, life has never been better. There’s an economic boom in the Shia south and a tourist boom in the Kurdish north, and, while the only thing going boom in the Sunni Triangle are the suicide bombers, there were fewer of those in November than in the previous seven months.
Meanwhile, Iraq’s experiment in Arab liberty has had ripple effects beyond its borders, pushing the Syrians most of the way out of Lebanon, and in Syria itself significantly weakening Baby Assad’s regime. Saad Eddin Ibrahim, who’s spent years as a beleaguered democracy advocate in Egypt, told the Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland the other day that, although he’d opposed the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, he had to admit it had “unfrozen the Middle East, just as Napoleon’s 1798 expedition did. Elections in Iraq force the theocrats and autocrats to put democracy on the agenda, even if only to fight against us. Look, neither Napoleon nor President Bush could impregnate the region with political change. But they were able to be the midwives.”
The Egyptians get it, so do the Iraqis, the Lebanese, the Jordanians and the Syrians. The choice is never between a risky action and the status quo — i.e., leaving Saddam in power, U.N. sanctions, U.S. forces sitting on his borders. The stability fetishists in the State Department and the European Union fail to understand that there is no status quo: things are always moving in some direction and, if you leave a dictator and his psychotic sons in business, and his Oil-for-Food scam up and running, and his nuclear R&D teams in places, chances are they’re moving in his direction.
Toppling Saddam was worth doing in and of itself. Toppling Saddam and trying to “midwife” (in Ibrahim’s word) a free society would be worth doing even if it failed. But, as it happens, I don’t believe it will fail, not just because of Bush but because enough Iraqis — Shia, Kurds and even significant numbers of Sunnis — are determined not to let it fail.
Do I even need to say, read the rest?
Update: Scott Johnson of Power Line writes:
Earlier this week, reader Michael Valois asked Columbia Journalism Review editor Steve Lovelady “what he thought
about the MSM ignoring Joe Lieberman’s positive report from Iraq.”
How did Lovelady respond?
You think the New York Times and Washington Post should write a story every time a neocon hawk pens an essay for the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page?
Somehow, I don’t see that happening…
As Johnson writes, “And there, ladies and gentlemen, you have it.”