Remember, there is also an ironclad law about the Middle East, one we keep forgetting: Arab intellectuals (many of them educated or residing in Western universities) hate the U.S. for backing dictators; they hate the U.S. for intervening to remove them; they hate the U.S. for trying to impose postbellum democracy upon them; and they hate the U.S. for staying clear and letting Arabs be Arabs on their own.Re-read that paragraph. Multiple times. Memorize it. Any time there is a story involving US policy in the Middle East, remember it. Apply it.
You want examples? He has ‘em:
Take out Saddam—”you created him in the first place”; stay to rebuild the country—”a neo-imperial enterprise to impose your values on a traditional society”; stay away and let him kill his own, or allow his successors to kill each other—”a callous disregard for the suffering of innocent others.”As always with Victor Davis Hanson, read the whole thing.
Remember the critiques of Gulf War I and Gulf War II:
- Gulf War I: a needlessly large coalition that curbed our options, a hyped-up war that did not warrant the huge forces we deployed, a shake-down of our allies to turn war into a money-making enterprise, a cynical disregard for the Shia and Kurds who yearned for democracy, a video-game war in which we slaughtered the inept without incurring much risk or danger;
Common denominator: whatever a Bush was for, critics were against.
- Gulf War II: a too-small coalition that did not win international respect, too few forces deployed for the mission, a wasteful enterprise that did not demand monetary contributions from our allies, a naïve romance that Arabs could craft their own democracy, a dirty war in which we needlessly exposed our troops to mayhem and death.