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Saturday, October 22, 2005

Next Up, Syria?

Glenn Reynolds quotes leftie Kevin Drum in answer to a challenge from a reader;

"In other words, democracy is nice — eventually — but the bigger issue is kicking over the status quo in the Middle East and forcing change. And the hawks would argue that this is happening. Slowly and fitfully, to be sure, but let's count up the successes so far: Iraq and Afghanistan are better off than before, Libya has given up its nuke program, Lebanon's Cedar Revolution is a sign of progress, Egypt has held a more open election than any before it, and the Syrian regime is under considerable pressure.

Did the invasion of Iraq precipitate these changes? I think the hawks considerably overstate their case, but at the same time they do have a case. Even if Iraq is a mess, it might all be worthwhile if it eventually produces progress toward a more open, more liberal Middle East. At the very least, it's an argument that needs to be engaged."

Glenn adds;
I think the critics overstate their case, and rather consistently ignore the good news that Kevin notes. My anonymous emailer thinks that U.S. casualties are proof of a quagmire. That's an odd formulation, since it means that any war in which troops are killed, which means pretty much any war generally, is a quagmire. There's no question that some antiwar folks think that's true, but pardon me if I'm unimpressed with that argument. (What I said here in 2003 about antiwar folks being disappointed that things had gone so well seems to remain true, as people keep making every effort to portray Iraq as Vietnam). Saddam's on trial, Iraqis are counting ballots, and as noted above we seem to have shaken things up -- though I'd argue not enough yet -- throughout the mideast.

If Bush's effort here fails, it won't be because the antiwar critique of bloodthirstiness and warmongering is correct. It will be because Bush hasn't been vigorous enough in toppling governments and invading countries in the region. What happens with Syria in the next little while may answer that question.

If it's the number of US casualites that the antiwar set is hanging their "quagmire" definition on, then it's pretty safe to say their arguments are largely disingenuous - or historically dyslexic.

Posted by Kate McMillan on October 22, 2005 in International Affairs | Permalink


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Some 2,000 dead in a major land campaign and then growing insurgency over two and a half years are, crass though it sounds, peanuts for a country of almost 300 million people.

Canada suffered 907 fatalities in one day at Dieppe in 1942; our population was about 12 million.


Posted by: Mark Collins | 2005-10-22 12:35:38 PM

From the perspective of the US highly unlikely I would think. It will happen in the years to come within the Arab world with Iraq leading the way. IF and I repeat IF the US stays their present course in Iraq.

Posted by: AsISeeIt | 2005-10-22 12:52:24 PM

I once said that US troops should withdraw from Iraq via the port of Beirut, taking out Syria's regime in the process. But unlike Iraq, they wouldn't stay. That would leave Syria to the mercy of her neighbors. Being virtually disarmed against a strong Israel, and even weak compared to Jordan, would make Syria much more receptive to peace.

Posted by: Scott | 2005-10-22 8:32:40 PM

Deadly, verboten cartoons, not waffles, from Belgium: Allah and Mohammed are not amused.Cartoons are deadly medicine for the evil ones. via michellemalkin >>>>


Posted by: maz2 | 2005-10-23 2:21:26 PM

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