In this week's Time Charles Krauthammer, the Neo-Con I love to hate, does his best to hype the Iraqi elections. It all builds up to this:
We would never have invaded Iraq to depose Saddam without 9/11. After 9/11, we finally understood that helping build decent, representative, tolerant societies in the Middle East is ultimately the only way to prevent endless generations of young Arab men from finding fulfillment by crashing airplanes into buildings filled with infidels. Europe has a similar interest, having suffered, with the train bombings in Madrid, the kind of fanatic nihilism that visited the Twin Towers.
First I would like to point out the complete absence of WMD both from Iraq and from Krauthammer's column. We invaded Iraq because of WMD. Don't forget that.
But the real heart of Krauthammer's argument is that to prevent more 9/11 and Madrid style attacks we must dispose of dictatorships and create democracy in the Arab World. There is just one small problem: America props up dictatorships in the Middle East. The dictatorships that produced the 9/11 hijackers - Egypt and Saudi Arabia are major U.S. allies that receive massive military aid. We keep these dictators in place and everyone, except maybe Krauthammer, knows that. The same people who want to throw down the Saudi Princes want to throw down the U.S. because we support the Saudi Princes.
Finally we are not creating a "decent, representative, tolerant society" in Iraq. We are creating a theocracy:
In Basra, the second-largest city in Iraq, where one of Ayatollah Sistani's closest aides has enormous influence, Shiite religious parties have been transforming the city into an Islamic fief since the toppling of Mr. Hussein. Militias have driven alcohol sellers off the streets. Women are harassed if they walk the streets in anything less than head-to-toe black. Conservative judges are invoking Shariah in some courts.
Is that what we are fighting and being killed for?