Skip to comments.America's revenge: to turn tyrannies into democracies
Posted on 09/10/2002 4:18:52 PM PDT by Pokey78
Those who said that America - and perhaps even the world at large - would never be the same after September 11 turn out to have been right only in part. American legislators have not found any anthrax in their recent mail, and so some of them, encouraged by recent remarks from officials of previous administrations, wonder openly whether further combat in the Middle East is even necessary.
They are insisting not only that President George W Bush provide them with a convincing bill of particulars regarding Saddam Hussein, but also that they approve any future action. This despite their full endorsement of such action on September 14 last.
In short, business as usual. Some other things have certainly changed. The pre-September 11 George W Bush was a relatively colourless figure, uncomfortable with international affairs and, despite his strong religious faith, largely bereft of what his father famously referred to as "the vision thing". The post-September 11 President is decisive, fully engaged in his mission, and quite eloquent on the war against terrorism, with an economy of language that we have not heard from a president since Truman.
Similarly, Donald Rumsfeld, the Defence Secretary, who had been tagged as the cabinet member least likely to succeed, has become a matinee idol. Colin Powell, the Secretary of State, may score higher in the polls, but nobody races to the television to watch his press conferences; they do Rumsfeld's. The transformation began immediately after the first aircraft hit the World Trade Centre, and Mr Rumsfeld told his staff: "I've been around for a while, and, believe me, this is not the last one we'll see today."
The greatest change has come among the American people themselves. Americans are the first people in history to believe that peace is the normal condition of mankind, but this reassuring conviction was effectively shattered, for this generation at least, on September 11. Americans now believe, with Machiavelli, that there are many people who are more inclined to do evil than to do good, and the only way to deal with them is to dominate them. They hope and believe that Saddam will not be the last terrorist tyrant to fall at their hands.
Americans are traditionally in a great hurry, but they have shown great patience with this president. They recognise that the war will be long and they trust that they have somehow struck lucky with their leader at a moment of peril. Recent drops in the President's popularity suggest that the people's patience may be wearing a bit thin, but now it seems that action is imminent and they will soon find out if Mr Bush is up to this challenge.
The Americans may have been patient so far, but, as General Patton once reminded his troops, Americans can't stand a loser. Yet it is hard to imagine America will lose. So long as the people are convinced they are well led, and the war goes well, they will support it. One has a tendency to forget that, in the Second World War, it took nearly two years after Pearl Harbor before decisive victories were achieved, yet the American people did not waver.
Americans are not fond of realpolitik; they are a people of crusades and spasms. They almost never fight limited wars for limited objectives (most Americans now believe the 1991 Gulf war was excessively limited); as Ronald Reagan said, the country is too great to have small ambitions. Few have noticed that President Bush has in fact outlined a war of vast dimensions. Lurking behind the awkward phrase "regime change" is a vision of a war to destroy the Middle Eastern tyrannies and replace them with freer societies, as was done in Japan and Germany after the Second World War.
Early on after the September 11 attack, it was widely said that America would have to fight a new kind of war, conducted in large part in the shadows, with covert instruments and secret warriors. In the event, it turns out to be a very traditional sort of war, because they have found that the common denominator of their enemies is tyranny.
The states that undergird the terror network are Iran, Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia. They do not share ethnicity (Iranians are not Arabs) or even religious conviction (both Saddam and the Assad family in Syria came to power as secular socialists), but they are all petty tyrants. And the most lethal weapon against them is the people they oppress.
The Iranians demonstrate almost ceaselessly against the mullahcracy in Teheran; in recent days, there has been street fighting in Isfahan, political demonstrations in Teheran, and the petroleum pipeline has been shut down in Tabriz. Student leaders have called for a nationwide demonstration today, a clear sign of the Iranian people's desire for freedom.
The Iraqis were willing to risk everything in the final weeks of the Gulf war, and the unreliability of Saddam's armies is well known. If Iranians and Iraqis are freed, the Syrian dictatorship cannot possibly survive, and the Saudi royal family would have to choose between shutting down its worldwide network of radical Wahhabi mosques or facing the same destiny as the others.
A war on such a scale has hardly been mentioned by commentators and politicians, yet it is implicit in everything President Bush has said and done. He has directed the creation of an Iraqi government-in-exile that is committed to democracy, and he has promised the Iranian people that America will support them in their desire for freedom. He has recognised that democracy is essential for peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and that requirement surely extends throughout the entire region.
In one of those delightful paradoxes in which history so delights, America's enemies sought to destroy it on September 11, only to find their own survival at mortal risk. And all those who said the world would never be the same, thinking that America had been fundamentally shaken and demoralised, will soon find that, instead, America's enemies will be the subject of revolutionary change at its hands.
Indeed. Starting now I am initiating a Michael Ledeen ping list. All who want to be pinged with articles from Mr. Ledeen either leave a note here or FReepmail me.
Dog, you are first.
We are a huge fans of his over on the ATRW thread...
Thank God Gore lost and Clinton is not pulling the strings! Think of all the lip biting and tear jerking speeches we have been spared.
The US military will be the agent of the thousand-year-overdue islamic reformation. Even if we only bomb them forward to the 18th century, the world will be better for it.
Please add me to the ping list.
(1)That you can impose Democracy on people.
(2) That it makes any idealistic or practical sense, to seek to impose Democracy on any people, where there are not certain ingredients, which make it likely to work.
(3)That imposing Democracy on people, who have demonstrated that they hate one another, is likely to engender either peace or good feeling in a region.
There are a lot of myths. And it seems to me that this writer, for all of his good points, has embraced some of the most fallacious. Put another way, did the "Democratic" election, in which Hitler's Nazi version of Socialism captured over 40% of the vote, pathing the way for his monolithic State, contribute to a peaceful solution to Europe's problems? Was he easier or harder to deal with than the Monarchy that had preceded the experiment in Democracy? Is there anything to suggest that the Iraqi, Syrians, Iranians, or for that matter, even the Israelis, have better political aptitudes than the Germans?
There are certain factors, which were in place in America at the beginning, which made popular Government work for a long time here, as well as it did. Do any of these writers who speculate on instilling Democracy in new places, even bother to study those factors, and seek to understand them? Do they seek to understand how Democracy worked in Switzerland--the one modern country that actually had a working Democracy, as opposed to our Republic?
Failure to even try to understand why certain systems work, and where they work, and why they fail and where they fail; reduces the whole approach to the equivalent of three year olds learning about fire by playing with matches.
To such approach, I must respectfully dissent.
William Flax Rerurn Of The Gods Web Site
"Lurking behind the awkward phrase 'regime change' is a vision of a war to destroy the Middle Eastern tyrannies and replace them with freer societies, as was done in Japan and Germany after the Second World War."Yes. The replacement of Islamic theocracies with constitutional governments with guarantees of freedom of speech, religion, and the pursuit of happiness and protection of minority rights.
Nothing horrifies Muslims more that seperation of religion and state and the freedom of people to proselytize and convert to other religions--and there is nothing that they need more.
Nothing horrifies those who hide from truth more than truth!
"America's enemies sought to destroy it on September 11, only to find their own survival at mortal risk."Yes. And if it were not for American forbearance they would not have survived at all; they would have found themselves vaporized into hell.
"There are many people who are more inclined to do evil than to do good, and the only way to deal with them is to dominate them."
First, please add me to the Ledeen ping list.
Second, it is amazing how much we have learned about Islam in the last year. They have an idiot cult, started by a caravan robber and pedeophile. There was nothing wrong with that, I guess, as long as they kept it to themselves, but no, here they came at us. And the BS about "moderate" Islam is just that, BS. This is what we have learned. They could have left the U.S. alone, but like wild donkeys they had to foolishly attack. And one year ago today, the vast majority of us didn't care squat about Islam. Now we do, and the stupid fanatics don't even realize what they took on. And all we're hearing from American Muslims is whining, not working to find Muslim terrorists in America.
Excellent essay bump.
BTW, Ledeen is not saying that these tyrannies will be forced into democracies.
They will, however, be forced into freer societies.
Unfortunately, there will be dead Americans and ten times more dead Muslims before this is accomplished.
This is the key passage in this article, and I only hope it's true. There would not be much point in bringing down Saddam if we leave Iran and Syria as they are. And Saudi Arabia is perhaps the worst problem of them all. Arabia delenda est.
This isn't the kind of thing that can be done quickly and without adequate preparation. But I really, really hope that all these regimes will go down like ninepins--and that the other Arab states will learn some kind of lesson. Because there's also Sudan, Yemen, Libya, and even Egypt that need straightening out. They are all brainwashing their kids to hate us, and that's no longer something we can tolerate.