In an outstanding analysis of what certain people, nations and ideologies have to gain and lose depending on the ultimate shape of a new Iraq, Norman Podhoretz writes in the February issue of Commentary magazine that the insurgents are "counting on the forces opposing the Bush Doctrine at home. Those forces comprise just as motley a coalition as the one fighting in Iraq, and they are, after their own fashion, just as desperate. For they too understand how much they for their own part stand to lose if the Bush Doctrine is ever generally judged to have passed the great test to which it has been put in Iraq."
What might such people lose? They would lose power. A successful outcome in Iraq would isolate the isolationists more effectively than at any time since World War II. It would also give President Bush more power to push through Congress his domestic agenda, including Social Security reform, tort reform, tax reform and, most importantly, a realignment of the Supreme Court along constitutional lines.
A sign of things to come, even if the Iraq election and subsequent votes on the constitution go reasonably well, is summed up by Podhoretz: "With so much riding on a failure in Iraq, no effort will be spared to make sure that even a victory there ends up being defined as a defeat."
Count on the big media in America and Europe to look for a dark lining within the silver cloud. But count on President Bush, American and allied forces and most of the liberated Iraqi people to stay the course because of the hope that Iraq can serve not as a launching pad for terrorism, but a springboard to democracy throughout the region.
Cal Thomas is co-author (with Bob Beckel) of the book, "Common Ground: How to Stop the Partisan War That is Destroying America".
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