Democracy means voting. It does not mean freedom. When we lump the two ideas together, we confuse ourselves and others.
Britain was a free country long before it became democratic. In Germany, Hitler was elected democratically. In much of Africa, democracy in practice has meant, "One man, one vote -- one time," as elected leaders put an end to both elections and freedom.
It would be wonderful to have free and democratic nations throughout the world, and that would very likely reduce military conflicts, as Sharansky and others say. But we do not ensure freedom by holding elections.
According to John Agresto, in Iraq "the 'democratic' government now entrenched is as sectarian and incompetent as we ever could have feared." He is unwilling to say that the invasion of Iraq "as originally conceived" was a mistake but he fears that it has become "a tragedy."
This is not a plea for withdrawal. Whatever the situation when we went in, international terrorists have chosen to make this the place for a showdown battle. We can win or lose that battle but we cannot unilaterally end the war. It is the terrorists' war, regardless of where it is fought.