I was having a conversation with Moishe the 3rd, and I realised that the question I was asking him was one that I've long wanted to ask A2K's conservatives.
It also neatly ties in with the question Joe has been posing us, by ways of a contextual issue to his thread
, about what, in the end, constitutes a win for the US in this war.
So I'm going to make it into a thread of its own, hoping Moishe doesn't mind.
How it started was this. Moishe3rd wrote: "A win in Iraq will be an independent government that is not hostile towards the United States or Israel." I asked, what happened with "bringing democracy to the Middle East"? After all, perhaps I'm a cynic, but a democratically elected government in the Middle East thats not hostile to Israel doesn't look like it's going to happen soon. Nor perhaps is one, even, that's not somewhat hostile to the US. It looks to me like one might end up having to choose at some point in time: bringing democracy - or installing an allied government?
I understand, of course, that you're going for both
. But what if that turns out not to be feasible anymore at some point in time (a prospect which we should by now start considering), which would you choose?
Elaborating, I suppose my question works out as:
If Iraq becomes a democracy, but the democratically elected government turns out to be hostile to the US, would America have won or lost this war? Would it have been worth it?
And vice versa, if Iraq eventually gets a US-friendly government, but one that is not by any means democratic, would this war have been won or lost - and would it have been worth it?
Which would you choose, should you have to?
Here's the full post that I wanted to turn into a thread of its own (this
being the post I was responding to):
If Iraq is hostile towards the U.S., then we will definitely have to rethink this war. Because the way things could go in that case - the United States might be facing a Muslim Europe armed with nukes in twenty years or so...
This is not good.
If Iraq is friendly towards the US, then it is an excellent building block in this war against Islamic fascist death cults.
It will help destabilize the facist death cults in Iran; Saudi Arabia; and Syria.
This is good.
The battle of Iraq is just one front in the war against Islamic fascist death cults.
I'm not quite clear here about what your answer to my question is - am I correct in interpreting that if Iraq becomes a democracy, but the democratically elected government turns out to be hostile to the US, you would consider America to have basically lost this war?
What about if Iraq eventually gets a US-friendly government, but one that is not by any means democratic? Would the US have won, then? Which of the two would you prefer? I seem to be getting that you would prefer the latter - that you consider it more important that Iraq be US-friendly than that it be democratic - in that you consider this war to really be about the battle against Islamofascism, rather than about spreading democracy?
I mean, in the optimistic vision, of course, I understand the two should go hand-in-hand: democracy will bring about the defeat of Islamo-fascism, period. I kinda agree there actually - in the long run anyway - if the democracy survives the initial win for Islamic hard-liners I'm expecting in either of the first two upcoming elections. But I'm pretty sure, on the other hand, that truly democratic elections are highly unlikely to yield a pro-American
, let alone pro-Israel government, in the long run.
That, though, is because I can well imagine a government that itself isn't pro-American either, while not immediately being in the throes of "Islamic fascist death cults". Can you - or would you perceive any new Iraqi government's anti-Americanism as the proof that the "Islamo-fascist death cults" had won? Can there be such a thing, in your perception, as a US-hostile democracy in the Muslim world? (I'm not quite sure whether you're saying there couldn't be one, it being some sort of contradiction-in-terms, or there could well be one but it would be a bad thing, one that a US-friendly dictatorship would be preferable over.)
That brings me back to my basic question: what's more important about this war? Installing democracy in Iraq, even if it may turn out to yield a government hostile to America, or installing an America- (and possibly Israel-)friendly regime, even if it may require stifling democracy? I mean, assuming there is a fair chance that you might not be able to have both.
This kinda seems, to me, the question I see many conservatives here ducking, which is creating a lot of the confusion about their motivations and the allegations that they're being disingenious. There's a few posters here of whom I think I know what their answer would be - O'Bill would go, bottom line, for a democracy over a strategic ally (I'm hoping), while George would probably argue that the strategic interest angle is overriding. But most here seem to be avoiding the question.
It's not necessarily an either/or question, mind you. You could answer, for example, that you'd prefer a democratic government even if it may be hostile to America - as long as it wasn't actually controlled by the "Islamic fascist death cults". (If you can perceive of such a thing, of course.)
From what you wrote about the analogy with WW2, when America went to war "under false pretense" (too?), I am almost guessing you mean to be saying that the "spreading democracy" case was more or less a false pretense as well, because the only thing that really counts here is getting an Iraq in place that "is friendly towards the US [and thus] an excellent building block in this war against Islamic fascist death cults". But I don't want to just make an assumption like that here.