posted on Mar, 18 2005 @ 07:22 PM
The Afghanistan operation was a no-brainer.
The Iraq thing is a lot more complicated.
I think Bush figured that the only way to stop the islamo-fascists, regardless of their shifting aliances, was to democratize most of the Near- and
Mid-East. I also think he figured that with a reasonabley democratized and westernized Iraq on one side and Turkey on the other, both Syria and Iran
would change drastically as their people saw what they'd be missing.
That and forcing the Israelis to give up some of the land, in Bush's mind, would probably bring a lot of stability.
And it was and is a good idea. Bush said, of course, that he wasn't into "nation building" when, of course, he was; and he said he was looking for
WMD when, of course, there weren't any; and he talked about an alliance between Saddam and al Qaeda when, of course, there was no such thing.
I think most people realized that there was no al-Qaeda - Saddam linkage and that Bush WAS nation-building, but they realized that he had to say that
in order to get enough folks -- domestically and internationally -- on his side.
But most people, like me, bought into his WMD theory. For all I know, he did, too, but we'll never know.
But the question is now -- can he pull it off? The recent Iraqi elections certainly gave him a boost, and he can point to Libya quieting down,
Saudi and Egypt (reluctantly) offering some mini-democratic reforms, and the Prague Spring in Lebanon. Of course, things can change, but the cards
actually seem to be going his way for once.
If things keep going the way they have been for the last month or so (and no one knows if they will) then there is a fair-to-middling chance that much
of the Mideast will quet down, with
o A more-or-less permanent peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians;
o A unified and Syria-less Lebanon;
o The Sunnis gradually being pulled back to the mainstream in Iraq;
o Increasingly urgent pressure by the University students on the Iranian Mullahs;
o Dr. Assad going back into the ophthalmologist business, if he survives a Syrian coup;
o Egypt and Saudi getting more democratic and gradually -- in the case of the Saudis -- dismantling their Wahhabi network.
If all this stuff, or even most of it, happens (and it's looking "guardedly optimistic"), then the whole war in Iraq will have been worth it, and
the credit will go to the new "architect of Mideast freedom" (the spinmeisters will have a field day with this), and we could quite possibly see in
three years (if we can get oil down below $40 a barrel) the second PhD, the first woman, and the first African-American in history as President of the
On the other hand, the whole thing cold go to hell in a handbasket, too.