It's always important to get liberals to stop complaining long enough to make a hard prediction. This week we will review liberal predictions on bringing democracy to Iraq.
When they weren't claiming the Iraq elections would not take place at all ? and, even if they did, the people wouldn't participate ? liberals were telling us that if we let those crazy Arabs vote, the Iraqi people would elect extremist Islamic mullahs hostile to the United States.
Well, the Iraq National Assembly completed filling out the cabinet this week, and it can now be said that this was liberals' laughably wrong prediction No. 9,856. (Or No. 9,857 if you count their predictions of ruinous global cooling back in the 1970s, which I don't because that could still happen.)
Iraq's first democratically elected government in half a century has a Shia prime minister and a Kurdish president and several Sunni cabinet ministers. In fact, toss in a couple of dowdy lesbians from the Green Party and it would look a lot like Vermont's state house.
Fat Muqtada al-Sadr saw his radical Shiite movement humiliated in the January elections. According to a recent poll by the International Republican Institute, two-thirds of Iraqis say Iraq is on the right track.
The minority Sunnis, who once held sway under Saddam Hussein and were told by American liberals to expect major payback from the Shiites under a democracy, were chosen by the majority Shia government for four cabinet positions ? including the not insignificant position of defense minister. Plus, the Sunnis might get a fifth if they can convince Rep. Ali Abu Jeffords to switch parties.
One of the Sunnis picked for a cabinet post turned it down on the grounds that he thought he was chosen simply to fill a Sunni quota. "I don't believe in sectarianism," he said, "I believe in democracy." So I'll be moving to Iraq soon to live in a country that forcefully rejects quotas.
Also this week, Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said he would like a woman as his fourth deputy prime minister. It's as if the Taliban has risen from the dead!
Apparently ? like John Kerry and the Democrats ? I guess the Muslim extremists just didn't get their message out. Although "Green Zone Veterans for Truth" were also a factor.
What we've learned from this is: Talking to liberals is much more fun now that we have Lexis-Nexis.
In a Nov. 9, 2003, news article, the New York Times raised the prospect that "democracy in the Middle East might empower the very forces that the United States opposes, like Islamic fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia and Egypt."
Democracy in the U.S. might have put John Kerry in the White House, too, but you'll notice we didn't abandon the idea.
One difference is that the Islamic fundamentalists in Saudi Arabia and Egypt were not democratically elected. Still, the Times said that "something similar" happened in Iran when "domestic pressures" installed the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. By "domestic pressures" in Iran, I gather the Times meant "the Carter presidency."
Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Trudy Rubin claimed to be talking about "grim Iraq realities," explaining to her readers that if elections were held, the new Iraqi government "will likely be dominated by religious parties. If the economy stays bad, radical Islamic parties could do well." So you can see how leaving the tyrannical Hussein dynasty (slogan: "We're the rape-room people!") in place was preferable to that.
Winning the category of Most Wrong Predictions in the Fewest Words, Joe Conason predicted in the Sept. 27, 2004, New York Observer: "a series of horrifically violent confrontations in Iraq's cities, a postponement of the January elections, a wider call-up of National Guard and Reserve units, or even a renewed military draft." And if Bush won a second term, Conason said: "Beware the 'November surprise' that will begin to bring home the true costs of his feckless adventure."
Conason's feeble litany of harebrained predictions reads like a haiku of bum steers. No increase in "horrific" violence, no postponement of elections, no draft, no "November surprise." (OK, there was one "November surprise" ? but only for the Democrats. It happened on Nov. 2.)
Winning the category of Most Wrong Predictions, Lifetime Achievement Award, Katrina vanden Heuvel (Queen of the May at the fun-loving Nation magazine) said invading Iraq would lead to "more terrorist retaliation, undermine the fight against al-Qaida and make America less secure and possibly unleash those very weapons of mass destruction into the hands of rogue terrorists in Iraq."
What weapons, Katrina? (Katrina lied, kids died!) Hey! Wait a minute! How can rogue terrorists in Iraq detonate bombs? They're all too busy flying kites with their children! Hasn't she seen "Fahrenheit 9-11"?
After we invaded Iraq, Katrina predicted the U.S. would stay in Iraq as a colonial power ? as the only nonimperialist superpower in the history of the world is wont to do. As we paved the way for elections, she said, "You know, if there are elections in Iraq, it's very likely it will not be secular democracy."
But it's not fair to quote Katrina. She still thinks the Soviet Union's planned economy failed because the farmers had 70 years of bad weather. Liberals' current prediction is that Hillary will be able to do a planned economy right.