Monday, July 7, 2003

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Explaining Bush's dare

\David Warren ventures an explanation for Bush's dare to Iraqi guerillas. The key grafs:

They [Bush critics] notice that the U.S. forces in Iraq have become a new magnet for regional terrorist activity. They assume this demonstrates the foolishness of President Bush's decision to invade.

It more likely demonstrates the opposite. While engaged in the very difficult business of building a democracy in Iraq -- the first democracy, should it succeed, in the entire history of the Arabs -- President Bush has also, quite consciously to my information, created a new playground for the enemy, away from Israel, and even farther away from the United States itself. By the very act of proving this lower ground, he drains terrorist resources from other swamps.

This is the meaning of Mr. Bush's "bring 'em on" taunt from the Roosevelt Room on Wednesday, when he was quizzed about the "growing threat to U.S. forces" on the ground in Iraq. It should have been obvious that no U.S. President actually relishes having his soldiers take casualties. What the media, and U.S. Democrats affect not to grasp, is that the soldiers are now replacing targets that otherwise would be provided by defenceless civilians, both in Iraq and at large.

It's an interesting rationale, slightly tarnished by the fact that Warren is factually incorrect in stating that Iraq would be the first Arab democracy. The scholarly consensus is that Lebanon was a functioning democracy prior to the outbreak of civil war.

posted by Dan on 07.07.03 at 10:26 AM