August 24, 2006

Only path that makes sense...

Norman Podhoretz has a great essay in OpinionJournal, Is the Bush Doctrine Dead?

....Are we then to conclude that the latest reports of the death of the Bush Doctrine are not "greatly," if indeed at all, exaggerated, and that it has at long last really been put to rest?

So misrepresented has the Bush Doctrine been that the only way to begin answering that question is to remind ourselves of what it actually says (and does not say); and the best way to do that is by going back to the speech in which it was originally enunciated: the president's address to a joint session of Congress on Sept. 20, 2001.

In analyzing that speech shortly after it was delivered, I found that the new doctrine was built on three pillars. The first was a categorical rejection of the kind of relativism ("One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter") that had previously prevailed in the discussion of terrorism, and a correlative insistence on using such unambiguously moral categories as right and wrong, good and evil, in describing the "great harm" we had suffered only nine days earlier. But, the president went on, out of that harm, and "in our grief and anger, we have found our mission and our moment."

In spelling out the nature of that mission and moment, [This is really the first pillar, as explained later in the essay] Mr. Bush gave the lie to those who would later claim that the idea of planting the seeds of democracy in Iraq was a hastily contrived ex post facto rationalization to cover for the failure to find weapons of mass destruction there. Indeed, the plain truth is that, far from being an afterthought, the idea of democratization was there from the very beginning and could even be said to represent the animating or foundational principle of the entire doctrine.... ...The second pillar on which the Bush Doctrine stood was a new conception of terrorism that would, along with the "mission" emerging out of the rubble of 9/11, serve as a further justification for going first into Afghanistan and then into Iraq. Under the old understanding, terrorists were lone individuals who could best be dealt with by the criminal-justice system. Mr. Bush, by dramatic contrast, now asserted that they should be regarded as the irregular troops of the nation-states that harbored and supported them...

One thing that's blatantly obvious to me is that no one on either the left or the right has been able to make a case against the Bush Doctrine, or propose a better one. They just snipe at it, or make pronouncements of its death. In fact it was and is the only logical path to take.

For instance, it's frequently claimed that, since democratic elections haven't fixed Lebanon, or the Palestinian Authority, the project has failed. But it's never been claimed to be a quick fix. Rather, we can see, unfolding right in front of us, over the last 50 years or so, the connection between democracy and ever increasing peace and prosperity. Pacifists and Leftists hate this, because it invalidates their elitist world view. But it's a fact. Large parts of the globe no longer fight wars, support terrorists, or indulge in genocide. And those parts are democratic, with increasingly free economies.

Posted by John Weidner at August 24, 2006 8:16 AM
Weblog by John Weidner