Max Praise to Max Boot for Max Sense: “NeoCons May Get the Last Laugh”
Worthy of your reading time today comes this from Max Boot via the Los Angeles Times, where he proclaims “Neocons May Get the Last Laugh”.
Indeed, Maximus. Indeed.
In 2003, more than a month before the invasion of Iraq, I wrote in the Weekly Standard that the forthcoming fall of Baghdad "may turn out to be one of those hinge moments in history — events like the storming of the Bastille or the fall of the Berlin Wall — after which everything is different. If the occupation goes well (admittedly a big if), it may mark the moment when the powerful antibiotic known as democracy was introduced into the diseased environment of the Middle East, and began to transform the region for the better."
At the time, this kind of talk was dismissed by pretty much everyone not employed by the White House as neocon nuttiness. Democracy in the Middle East? Introduced by way of Iraq? You've got to be kidding! The only real debate in sophisticated circles was whether those who talked of democracy were simply naive fools or whether their risible rhetoric was meant to hide some sinister motive.
Well, who's the simpleton now?
Who indeed, Max?
Is it not ironic that it was those who had never known anything else but freedom that declared democracy in the Middle East impossible because they…well…have never known anything else but dictatorship. Can one describe intellectual arrogance any more accurately than with those words? And consider that these are the same talking heads who profess that the world so loathes America because of our government's arrogance. These rocket scientists are persistently and increasingly relegating themselves to the echo chamber of their own irrelevance.
Think about how many TV talking heads, sagely newspaper columnists and un-Middle Eastern Middle Eastern ‘expert’ analysts screamed, preached, warned and lamented that the Middle East simply was "not ready for democracy". They belched relentlessly that America can not "impose democracy" upon other societies, a concept ineptly illogical on its face. They collectively proclaimed from upon intellectual high that there was a reason the region was still dominated by dictatorships & self-perpetuating and oppressive monarchies. Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary should reference their collective screeching as an example for the use of the term “arrogance”.
Yes, there was certainly a reason that the region was still dominated by such thugs as Saddam Hussein, Bashir Assad, Mullah Omar, Ayatollah Khameini, and the Saudi Royal family...
...Because no one ever possessed the fortitude to stand for the peoples ruled beneath their jackboots.
Enter the Bush Doctrine.
Let’s recap the loathed lunacy of the Bush Doctrine, shall we?
Action: Invasion of Afghanistan & the crushing of Taliban dictatorial theocracy.
Result: Establishment of democracy and successful elections.
Result: Cooperation (full or not, coerced or not) from Pakistan of all places in persuing and rooting out al Qaeda (completely or not). We're talking Pakistan, people.
Action: Invasion of Iraq and the crushing of Saddam Hussein’s Ba’athist dictatorship.
Result: Bloodless capitulation of Libyan weapons programs and region-wide intelligence trove.
Result: Establishment of Iraqi democracy and yet more successful Middle Eastern elections.
Result: First ever elections of any kind in Saudi Arabia.
Result: Democratic Palestinian election of Abbas to succeed Arafat.
Result: Emboldening of pro-democracy dissent throughout the Middle East, encouraged in the faith that the Bush Doctrine is for real and not meaningless words.
Result: Egyptian public demand for true democratic elections rather than another Mubarak self-appointment or false democracy with ballots eerily reminiscent of the infamous one-candidate “Saddam: Yes” ballot.
Result: Panicked ratcheting of the pace of nervous Iranian mullahs’ quest for nuclear arms, resulting in un-ignorable status and world scrutiny.
Result: Panic-driven assassination of leading Lebanese dissent figure by Syrian/Iranian surrogates, Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Result: Lebanese citizen revolt & protest in such numbers and passion as to perpetuate the immediate resignation of the Syrian-puppet Lebanese Prime Minister and the entire Syrian-puppet Cabinet.
Result: Syrian statements (Syria!) of plans to 'study' a voluntary withdrawal troops from Lebanon (words to-date and not deed...yet).
Result: Lebanese public expression of will, so overwhelmingly undeniable that even Russia, (Syrian and Iranian arms & nuclear supplier and supporter), Germany (heretofore Anti-Bush Doctrine to its very EU core) and Saudi Arabia (!) have publicly called for the full withdrawal of Syrian troops and intelligence from Lebanon.
Result: Collectively proof positive that the societies in the Middle East are not too dumb, backwards, uneducated or otherwise too unsophisticated to acknowledge that freedom, self-rule and self-determination are good and desirable human conditions that the West holds no Intellectual Monopoly on.
Action achieved such feats, not nuanced words of diplomacy and negotiation. It is shameful that the many millions of newly free and newly inspired Middle Eastern people hold President George W. Bush in higher regard than nearly all of his own Free Nation's Free Press.
Enter democracy and the powerful realization of citizen participation within an openly, freely, and publicly elected government responsive to and beholden to the collective electorate citizenry.
Imagine yourself never knowing freedom beyond a phrase rarely spoken or a word rarely read. Imagine that the words “Of the people, for the people, and by the people…” suddenly have a very real and concrete meaning, more than simply junior high school memorization.
Those in Lebanon may never recite that precise phrase to you, for they likely have never heard the words in such a context, let alone memorized them in school. But they know them far more intimately than the vast majority of lazy Americans.
Because the Lebanese don’t remember those words, they feel them...just as our own Founders had.
Most Americans complacently take the freedom they have for granted. They’ve never known anything else and never felt it threatened enough to pause and reflect with any depth.
Those in the Middle East now beginning to understand the power of freedom are gazing hungrily without pause at the same freedom most Americans may never fully appreciate.
Good for them. May they never lose that hunger and appreciation as, apparently, we have.