Pro-War Conservatives Predicted Iraq Would Help Spread Democracy In The Middle East

Along with the election in Iraq, we’ve seen Lebanese protests for Democracy, Assad has agreed to at least partially pull Syrian troops out of Lebanon, & Mubarak agreed to the first ever multi-party elections in Egypt. Combine that with the recent Palestinian elections and Saudi foreign minister Saud al-Faisal’s announcement that women may be able to vote in the “next round of municipal elections,” and it’s clear that even though the region has a long, long way to go, freedom is stirring in the Middle East in a way it never has before.

There seems to be a general consensus among people on the left and the right that SOMETHING is afoot, but while pro-war conservatives are giving a lot of the credit to George Bush for the invasion of Iraq and his determined efforts to help that country become free, not all, but many of our friends on the left are trying to portray what’s happening as some sort of “happy accident.”

However, nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that many of us who are pro-war have been predicting all along that helping Iraq become a Democratic nation would be a pivotal event which would lead to the spread of freedom across the region. Therefore, it’s rather difficult to credibly claim that what we’re seeing is little more than coincidence given that so many pro-war conservatives predicted what would happen well before the election in Iraq took place.

Here are just a few quotes I managed to pull together that will prove to you what’s going on today in the Middle East is no fluke:

“The press coverage and the criticisms of many Democrats seem based on an assumption that Iraq is somehow a rerun of Vietnam. But the facts on the ground in Iraq should not be squeezed into the Vietnam template. Progress is being made in establishing the first rule-of-law democracy in an Arab country-an example with the potential of changing the whole region for the better.” — Michael Barone, 7/03/2003

“In all likelihood, Baghdad will be liberated by April. This may turn out to be one of those hinge moments in history–events like the storming of the Bastille or the fall of the Berlin Wall–after which everything is different. If the occupation goes well (admittedly a big if), it may mark the moment when the powerful antibiotic known as democracy was introduced into the diseased environment of the Middle East, and began to transform the region for the better.” — Max Boot, 2/10/2003

“A democratic Iraq would give hope to those who toil under the yoke of repressive regimes (e.g., Iran, Syria, and Saudi Arabia) that breed radicalism and hatred of America. An Iraqi democratic oasis could inspire freedom across the Muslim political desert.” — Peter Brookes, 11/03/2003

“This is a massive and difficult undertaking — it is worth our effort, it is worth our sacrifice, because we know the stakes. The failure of Iraqi democracy would embolden terrorists around the world, increase dangers to the American people, and extinguish the hopes of millions in the region. Iraqi democracy will succeed — and that success will send forth the news, from Damascus to Teheran — that freedom can be the future of every nation. The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution.” — George Bush, 11/7/2003

“When Iraqis choose their own government in free elections, it will mark the first time in history when ordinary Arabs can claim to control their own destiny in their own nation. Syria’s Assad, the Saudi royal family, even Jordan’s Abdullah must be nervous as they watch events unfold. If the Iraqi people are capable of governing themselves, why not the Syrians, the Saudis or the Jordanians?” — Linda Chavez, 6/02/2004

“No, the opposition never said it was wrong for Saddam to go. Rather, they rejected the notion that America should actually have its way. More than anything else, this desire to thwart America explains the motives of the U.N., the French, the Left, and pretty much everyone else except for the Arab leaders. The Arabs have something even bigger at stake should America succeed in transforming Iraq into a prosperous democracy — their own corrupt kleptocratic torture states might be next.” — Jonah Goldberg, October 20, 2003

“If a beachhead of democracy can be established in Iraq, there’s an excellent chance that we’ll see Democratic reforms start to sweep across the region where anti-American tyrants are keeping their populations in control by the skin of their teeth. The influence of a free Iraq could in time help lead to a free Iran, a free Syria, a free Lebanon, a free Saudi Arabia, a free Egypt, etc. We’re not just shooting for an Iraqi Democracy, we’re hoping to see freedom spread across the entire region.” — John Hawkins, 4/14/2004

“The dysfunctional societies of the Middle East will continue to breed terrorists unless Muslims can be shown a better way. A peaceful, democratic Iraq could transform the entire region. The task is difficult. But it is less difficult than was reconstructing Europe, and like the Marshall Plan, the rewards for success — and the penalties for failure — are enormous.” — Jack Kelly, 10/21/2003

“A de-Saddamized Iraq with a decent government would revolutionize the region. It would provide friendly basing not just for the outward projection of American power but also for the outward projection of democratic and modernizing ideas,” conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote in Time magazine last week.” — Charles Krauthammer is quoted disapprovingly by Alan Elsner on 2/16/2003

“As you see, the Iranians are frantically increasing their efforts to drive Coalition forces out of Iraq, to wreck the Iraqi economy — and especially to inflate oil prices, which the mullahs hope will bring down the Bush presidency — and to destabilize the fragile Karzai government in Afghanistan. They, and their Syrian and Saudi allies, are doing this because the liberation of Iraq is indeed threatening the authority of the remaining terror masters in Tehran, Damascus, and Riadh. The entire region is bubbling from the heat of democratic revolution, and you can see the fears of the terror masters as they steadily increase the repression of their own people.” — Michael Ledeen, 6/29/2004

“For once in the Middle East, the United States has intervened on behalf of the people, not to prop up yet another regional autocrat. This profoundly liberal step could alter the usual anti-Western discourse in the region. It may gradually erode what professor Fouad Ajami of Johns Hopkins calls the “road rage” of a thwarted Arab world steeped in “a political tradition of belligerent self-pity.” Some voices in the Arab world are already clear that freedom in one nation will create pressure for reforms in others. This “could be the beginning of transformation in the Arab region,” said Tarek al-Absi, a Yemeni university professor — a transformation, he added, that can’t occur without Western help. Many hope that the first “demonstration effects” will be felt in Iran, where reformers hope for a breakthrough against a repressive regime. Anxiety must be rising among all the dictators in the neighborhood. Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak is no Saddam Hussein, but there are pictures of Mubarak all over Egypt, and the destruction of the Saddam statues in Iraq must give him pause. Danielle Pletka, a Middle East expert at the American Enterprise Institute, said the area is full of leaders “who have not had the best interests of their people at heart. They should look at the Iraqi people and worry.” — John Leo, 4/21/2003

“During the last few months the fear has often been expressed in Europe and America that democracy cannot succeed in Iraq. There is another, greater, and more urgent fear in the region–that it will succeed in Iraq, and this could become a mortal threat to the tyrants who rule most of the Middle East. An open and democratic regime in Iraq, inevitably with a Shiite majority, could arouse new hopes among the oppressed peoples of the region, and offer a corresponding threat to their oppressors.” — Bernard Lewis, 8/29/2003

“Iraq is the strategic linchpin in the region and creating a decent pluralistic, pro-Western government there will create a new model for Middle East politics and pressure the surrounding governments. This was always the most compelling geo-strategic reason for the Iraq war, but it was usually overshadowed by others (WMD, U.N. compliance) and has been derided as “the domino theory.” Of course, other Arab governments aren’t just going to collapse if we succeed in Iraq. But if you want just a hint of how U.S. success there could have a subversive effect, consider the way other dictatorial Arab governments — dishonestly, but tellingly — have had to pay lip service to democracy in Iraq. Such words, even if insincere, have consequences…” — Rich Lowry, 9/8/2003

“Similarly, (Richard) Perle has said that a reformed Iraq “has the potential to transform the thinking of people around the world about the potential for democracy, even in Arab countries where people have been disparaging of their potential.” — Richard Perle is quoted disapprovingly by Greg Miller on 3/14/2003

“(Paul) Wolfowitz has said that Iraq could be the first Arab democracy and that even modest democratic progress in Iraq would “cast a very large shadow, starting with Syria and Iran but across the whole Arab world.” — Paul Wolfowitz is quoted disapprovingly by Greg Miller on 3/14/2003

“Foreign policy gurus in the 1960s believed that communism would spread—the infamous “domino theory”—from one country to the next in top-down fashion. The opposite would hold true in the Middle East—bottom-up freedom movements would spread, toppling tyrants in the process. The old social contract—where people allowed the leaders to rule in exchange for basic necessities—is on the brink of collapse. When it does, democracy in Iraq will be the domino that triggers reform elsewhere. Call it the “democracy domino” theory.” — Joel Mowbray, 3/03/2003

“The new regime in Turkey has pledged itself to a democratic policy that supports, but does not impose, Islamic values. They and the traditional Muslims of the world have a clear interest in the liberation of Iraq and the implantation of democracy, or, at least, the first steps toward the achievement of democracy. I will not tell you that Iraq can be turned into Connecticut in 24 hours. But I repeat my belief that Iraqis, and Arabs and Muslims in general, yearn to live in normal, stable, democratic societies. I believe the liberation of Iraq will provide a powerful incentive for the success of the rising democratic movement in Iran, and will lay a foundation for a transition in Saudi Arabia, to a constitutional and parliamentary monarchy on the Malaysian model.” — Stephen Schwartz, 2/03/2003

“Well if (we were to get a functioning democracy going in Iraq), it would be positively transforming and it might well become the linchpin for the kind of reformation I’ve been saying is necessary. This is I think our great challenge and our great opportunity at the same time. It might not be as easy as we’d like and the people in Iraq might not be as thirsting for Democracy as the President might want or hope, but there’s no doubt that if Democracy can succeed there it would be a major challenge to all the Islamic states in area, particularly Saudi Arabia and Iran.” — Robert Spencer, 11/19/2003

“Sadly, a U.S. invasion of Iraq ”would threaten the whole stability of the Middle East”–or so Amr Moussa, secretary-general of the Arab League, told the BBC on Tuesday. Amr’s talking points are so Sept. 10: It’s supposed to destabilize the Middle East. The stability of the Middle East is unique in the non-democratic world and it’s the lack of change in Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt that’s turned them into a fetid swamp of terrorist bottom-feeders.” — Mark Steyn, 8/05/2002

“A free Iraq is already affecting the political landscape of the Middle East; a democratic Iraq could change the whole Arab world. The goal is worth fighting for. Despite the current difficulties in Iraq, The United States, Britain and other democratic nations should keep their eyes on the big picture.” — Amir Taheri, 9/10/2003

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