VDH meditates on Iraq:
Our eventual aim should be perhaps around 50,000 American troops in the region — or not that many more present than when Saddam was in power. Even if the worst-case scenario were to transpire in January — an elected Islamist government ordering us to leave — we would still have plenty of alternatives. Beside not having to come through with the promised $87 billion in relief, we can also make it clear that an Islamist Iraq is subject to the same conditions as the mullocracy in Iran — veritable ostracism from the world community, prohibition from acquiring nuclear weapons, and internal problems from imposing sharia on a restless youth.
And the next time the United States uses force in the Middle East, we shall not do nation-building but rather serious GPS-ing at 20,000 feet in punitive Roman fashion. Indeed, despite the glum punditry, the sacrifice of blood and treasure to bring freedom to the Iraqis has been a landmark event by virtue of the very attempt.
I don’t take any great exception to the learned VDH’s conclusions, especially the notion of cutting off foreign aid, but I do wonder about one thing. If nation-building in Iraq was the good, wise and proper thing to do, why shouldn’t we dive into the process again next time? After all, if Iraqis deserve democracy, don’t Saudis, Iranians and Syrians too?