Sometimes you come across a great post and there just isn’t any reason to add to it. Thank you Don.
“Bush had a simple idea, that the Arabs could be democratic, and at that particular moment simple ideas were what was needed, even if he was disingenuous,” said Michael Young, the opinion editor of The Beirut Daily Star. “It was bolstered by the presence of a U.S. Army in the center of the Middle East. It created a sense that change was possible, that things did not always have to be as they were.”
Every time someone says history will vindicate George Walker Bush, I smirk. Yea, right. History is made by the conservatives and re-written by the liberals.
They still credit Mikhail Gorbachev for the fall of the Soviet Union. Not Lech Walesa. Not Baroness Thatcher. Not Pope John Paul II. And certainly not Ronald Reagan. No, never Ronald Reagan. That would be an admission that peace comes through strength and that everything the Left told us for 70 years about the Soviets was a lie.
Sure, just like death cures cancer.
But Thomas Friedman of the New York Times has noticed a change in the Middle East. It is called democracy. The seeds were planted by President Bush in Iraq. At a great cost to him.
He never complained.
After 9/11, Bush did something extraordinary. He did not play cops and robbers with al-Qaeda, he went after the root cause of this evil: Tyranny.
Friedman credited technology for this spread of democracy. The Iranian Revolution 30 years ago was spread by a new thing called videotape. The videotapes of Ayatollah Khomeini from Paris spread like wildfire against a very evil regime — the Peacock Throne — Barbara Walters and other news media swells attended the 2,500th anniverary. It was really just 26, but hey, who is counting?
The Times of London recalled: “The family was so rich the Shah’s first wife bathed in milk, and to mark the 2,500th anniversary of the Peacock Throne he threw a £60 million party at Persepolis, the ancient capital, flying 165 chefs from Paris to serve guests more than a ton of caviar.”
President Carter took in the dethroned monarch/dictator.
Yes, the CIA had installed him. It was either that or let the country go communist. As with the 1968 presidential election, sometimes you go with the lesser of two evils.
But bless his soul, Friedman also acknowledged the real reason democracy may take hold in the Middle East: “Second, for real politics to happen you need space. There are a million things to hate about President Bush’s costly and wrenching wars. But the fact is, in ousting Saddam in Iraq in 2003 and mobilizing the U.N. to push Syria out of Lebanon in 2005, he opened space for real democratic politics that had not existed in Iraq or Lebanon for decades.”
There are millions — billions — of things to hate about any war.
But ridding Iraq of Hussein was worth every sacrifice Americans and their allies made.
Bush liberated Iraq in the hopes of liberating the entire Middle East.
Friedman knows that. He has been there long enough. He wrote:
When I reported from Beirut in the 1970s and 1980s, I covered coups and wars. I never once stayed up late waiting for an election result. Elections in the Arab world were a joke — literally. They used to tell this story about Syria’s president, Hafez al-Assad. After a Syrian election, an aide came in and told Assad: “Mr. President, you won 99.8 percent of the votes. It means that only two-tenths of one percent of Syrians didn’t vote for you. What more could ask for?”
Assad answered: “Their names!”
Bush did something else; he respected the Muslim faith. Religion of peace? His words first, not President Obama. Bush offered the olive branch to the people, not to the dictators who oppress them.
President Obama is using “soft power.”
It is called being a wimp. I do not want a president who wimps out in the battle against evil.
Bush didn’t. Bush was right. Bush’s plan will work in the long run.
The Friedman column is here