Every now and then, we get a clear glimpse inside the American conscience. This time around, it’s Thomas Friedman, writing for The New York Times:
Former President George W. Bush’s gut instinct that this region craved and needed democracy was always right. It should have and could have been pursued with much better planning and execution. This war has been extraordinarily painful and costly. But democracy was never going to have a virgin birth in a place like Iraq, which has never known any such thing.
Maybe it’s Friedman, and maybe it’s me, but given some of the rhetoric we’ve heard over the last seven years, it’s a macabre choice of words, because—
Democracy in Iraq can only come about after we have ______ the country.
Then again, maybe I’m not the one to ask. After all, I’m a Freudian.
Beyond that, if Bush’s credit in this is that his “gut instinct that this region craved and needed democracy was always right”, what, really, is it worth? We’ve tempted, cajoled, and courted various opposition movements in Middle Eastern tyrannies for a long time. One need not be a genius to figure that democracy is both desired and needed in the region; one need only be conscious.