I should have linked to this very useful post at the InstaPundit when it first came out, but better late than never. And, as if to underscore the point that the anti-war Left is intent on rewriting the history of our purposes in Iraq, here's a quote from an editorial in today's New York Times (with Professor Reynolds' emphasis):
The only plausible reason for keeping American troops in Iraq is to protect the democratic transformation that President Bush seized upon as a rationale for the invasion after his claims about weapons of mass destruction turned out to be fictitious. If that transformation is now allowed to run off the rails, the new rationale could prove to be as hollow as the original one.It is completely moronic for the anti-war Left to insist that there was and always will be but one reason to have invaded Iraq. Wars are multi-causal. Does anyone reading this actually believe that the American Civil War was fought over some incident at Fort Sumter? Did we lay low the Spanish Empire for the sake of avenging the Maine? And don't you suppose that we would have eventually entered the First World War for some reason other than the threat contained in the Zimmermann Telegram?
We fight for hegemony. We fight for the sake of our friends and potential friends. We fight for human liberation and the promotion of democratic principles and the security of our energy resources and because the American Way is a light unto the world. And no one need apologize for that.
Iraq will be free. It may not come by the timetables of fantasists who childishly expect that all great and world-changing endeavors must be accomplished in a bloodless instant, but it will come. And from that will come other developments around the Muslim Middle East that will change these people and their cultures forever. That is to say, these people must be secularized and redirected away from their apocalypticism and hatred of modernity.
The greatest failing of the anti-war crowd is its inability to say just what it is that's so goddamned wonderful about political Islam in the Middle East that it should be left alone to fester and explode. Probe that to any depth and you'll find that "Democrats" are nothing of the sort: they don't believe that we have any strategic interests in the Middle East or that our principles of self-government and human rights should be extended to that part of the world. They just want to turn inward and pretend that we can continue to operate as we did in the 1990s, bribing tyrants and ignoring threats.
Once Iraq is fully functional, the whole world will reap the benefits of our country's sacrifices there. I don't know whether that will ever be acknowledged, but a democratized Iraq will move many other countries in that region to emulation. How can that be a bad thing?