Abandoning the United Nations when the recalcitrant body failed to honor its moral obligations, the President did what he had to do, setting the deadline for war. But for that effort to be truly successful—not the military campaign, but the post-Saddam rebuilding of Iraq—he must address the biggest obstacle within his own administration: the State Department.
This is not simply a just war, but a necessary one. Not to fight terrorism, but to enforce terms of surrender that have been flagrantly violated at every turn for twelve years. No, fighting terrorism is merely an added benefit of toppling Saddam—but one that can only happen with a free and prosperous Iraq. And if State has its way, that goal will not be realized.
On Friday, contents of a State Department report blasting the President's push for democracy in the region was leaked to the L.A. Times. But what wasn't reported by the Times is that this is a self-fulfilling prophecy by State. Witness State's long-term undermining of the Iraqi National Congress (Iraq's opposition forces) and its near-completed mission to re-legitimize Moammar Gadhafi.
In a classified report titled "Iraq, the Middle East and Change: No Dominoes," the State Department boldly declares that democracy will not spread in the Middle East following the fall of Saddam, if democracy even takes root in Iraq. Essentially arguing that the Arab and Muslim populations are not fit for self-rule, State's report claims that "[e]lectoral democracy, were it to emerge, could well be subject to exploitation by anti-American elements." Many in the administration are livid. "It's incredibly racist and paternalistic for these Arabists to say that people in the Middle East will reject freedom," complains a State Department official.
Rather than a conclusion reached based on new or emerging evidence, the document reflects the long-held views of State. And so far, State has been right. But that has happened because State makes it so, by shunning freedom movements and propping up despots. Its predictions about the daunting challenges democracy faces in Iraq have some merit, for example, because State has spent years messing with the Iraqi National Congress, the umbrella organization of Iraqi opposition groups. After withholding funds from the INC and attempting to shut some of its key players out of post-Iraq planning, of course the prospects for a vibrant democracy are lessened when the best vehicle for achieving that goal has been severely weakened by State. And now State is reviving the tyrant of Tripoli.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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