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As Long as We Remember...

September 13, 2005

Building A Democracy

Edward Lulie III

The recent blitherings from the left over Iraq reveal some fundamental flaws in their logic; this isn't Vietnam. There is no draft and the "mission accomplished" claimed by President Bush was the overthrow of the Saddam Regime, not putting a gift wrapped democracy in place.

I guess it comes from having a religious outlook (European socialism) rather than actually examining reality, which for the left in general has been pretty grim of late.

Instead of teaching multiculturalism, or Anti-Imperialism 101, we should be teaching history. The German and Japanese democracies took years to establish and the money and troops to achieve that were considerable.

Our own Constitution did not happen immediately. There was first this little thing called the Articles of Confederation; and no, it had nothing to do with Jeff Davis or the Confederacy.

While there were lots of diversions as our founding fathers wrote our Constitution, no one was launching suicide bomb attacks or trying to stop the process (at least not like in present day Iraq). It took time to establish the Constitution and our own history is full of bumps in the road to the present day system of government including a civil war (the War Between the States).

In Iraq we have made massive change and improvement for many of the people. Unlike the oil for food fiasco, this effort has helped to feed and clothe a great many Iraqis. If there were masses of starving citizens there you can count on the European media to have featured them. There are no starving Iraqi stories to speak of today.

There is still widespread poverty. That existed before we invaded and will continue in the future. Democracy does not - of itself - provide an instant answer to poverty; I'm not sure there is any simple answer to it. Certainly the wealth redistribution schemes so beloved by the left have never worked except to provide the ruling elite with luxury (Cuba, USSR, China, North Korea, take your pick).

The story in Iraq is one of brave and valiant citizens voting for the first time despite the threats and suicide bombers. Our media continues to focus on the story of the resistance to freedom instead of the progress being made towards it.

Have President Bush and his policies failed in Iraq? They have not been a brilliant success; that much is very clear. In part they have failed.

We do not have enough troops to comfortably accomplish our mission because a Republican Congress allowed a gleeful Clinton/Gore "downsizing" of the federal government. It was not the federal government that was downsized, it was our military.

Republicans have a lot to answer for when they not only went along with it but continue to this day to deny that it happened. Thus our military is stretched thin, but - as it usually does - it manages to get most of the job done despite the odds.

Yet the simple fact is that we do not have enough troops. Please remind me; what our troops are still doing in Europe? It's not like there is a Soviet threat anymore and most of the former dominated small nations near Russia are far fonder of the U.S. than France is.

While we do have bases there that are useful, it's hard to explain how those bases are staying open when so many back here at home are being closed.

Why then aren't most Republicans and pro-military voters angry? Well, what's their choice? A largely pro-military, pro-United States Republican party or a largely anti-U.S., anti-military party run by European Socialist Howard Dean.

The left continues to believe that members of the military are stupid, unwilling dupes of a large Wall Street conspiracy imposing its imperialistic designs on an unwilling world via the use of force. Reality fails again and again to daunt their faith in this concept; Hollywood has it etched in Stone (pardon the pun).

Where's my oil? I thought this was a war for oil? Really? Why then hasn't the United States simply seized all of Iraq's oil and started shipping it here to pay us back for the billions we spent on getting rid of Saddam? Could it be that this wasn't a war for oil?

What do we do to solve the problems in Iraq? In the old days of Imperialism, a French or British choice would have been to set up a puppet ruler; one with enough popularity to daunt any successful rebellion. They would have used military force to keep him in power. Despite the claims of the left, we have not done that in Iraq.

We are actually trying to establish a democratic nation in a region that has known instability and despotic rulers for centuries. It is an awesome challenge that deserves appreciation not detraction.

Our left should be focused on how to accomplish this goal but because they can not stand the fact we overthrew Saddam with U.S. and British (and many other nations) forces they are committed to replaying the old worn out Soviet-inspired, anti-war scripts from the 60's. Sometime we may yet see a new direction from the left that isn't European Socialism; but not if Howard Dean has anything to say about it. Until then the left will stay locked in endless attempts to replay the 60's and 70's.

Then again the unspoken dream of the left is to force the U.S. out of Iraq so that a new Watergate might appear and usher in a Democrat in 2008, just as Jimmy Carter came in to replace Gerald Ford after President Nixon resigned.

I suppose it would be just mean-spirited to remind the left that most citizens regard Jimmy Carter and his presidency as a black mark on our history rather than a glorious attempt to bring us to socialism.

The effort to establish Democracy in Iraq is worth the cost we have paid.

If it fails to succeed, it does not discredit the United States for having made the attempt. What really scares the left is the thought that it might work and provide a blueprint for the future; a future that has the United States as the world leader in establishing freedom across the globe.

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