Monday, January 02, 2006

Chicago Tribune: Bush’s Case for War

From the Chicago Tribune, an extensive assessment of Bush’s case for going to war in Iraq.

It’s a good briefing on the issues involved. One of their several conclusions.
For the better part of three years, though, critics ridiculed the Bush administration’s insistence on this “deadline democracy” as a triumph of fantasy over the Arab world’s autocratic experience. The factionalized Iraqis would need more time, the thinking went. Self-rule would have little appeal in the former dictatorship.

The reality, though, has been a simpler triumph of human aspiration over justifiable fear. This serial optimism among Iraqis has contrasted, intriguingly, with the far more pessimistic views of many people in this country and others.

The Bush administration invested this nation’s blood and treasure in a radical conviction: that the greater Middle East could be ruled less by wild furies than by the citizens of many lands who have the greatest stake in its future.

Iraq is that conviction’s fiercest crucible. If the country’s alloy of rival groups does not melt, the peoples of more nations may be tempted to embrace self-rule. We are in an era in which history is hostile to despots.

Thus far, that alloy has survived terrorist attempts to provoke a civil war, to intimidate Iraqi democrats, to drive out the U.S. troops who shield a fledgling government.

Over time, Americans in uniform will leave Iraq. The hope here is that they come home with tremendous pride in a mission they truly have completed.

Only when our soldiers are gone, when Iraqis alone must nurture this new Iraq, will we learn whether that U.S. blood and treasure have enabled a treacherous patch of Earth to liberalize and thrive.

We cannot yet know if this Iraq — by its example to other nations or by the envy it provokes in them — will be the democracy that transforms a region of primitive governments. But freedom now has a foothold where it had none before — in a region that has spawned many hatreds. Given that history, this nation and its allies will likely be safer now that free Iraqis have a promising future to grow and protect.


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