Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Lewis Doctrine: Liberation (link for WSJ subscribers).

Here's a few snippets from an article on Bernard Lewis, the British-born Princeton University historian who was one of the intellectual fathers of the Bush administration policy of Mideast transformation.

Mr. Lewis's concern is less about insurgent and terrorist violence and more about growing U.S. domestic opposition to President Bush's Iraq engagement. "I would describe my position as one of cautious optimism," he says in an interview. "My optimism derives from events in the Mideast and my caution derives from observing the United States."

Mr. Lewis adds, "Enable them to achieve or recover their freedom, to which they are entitled no less than anyone in the world. … Our job is not to create democracy. Our job is to remove obstacles and let them create their own."

For all the problems the Bush administration has faced in Iraq, however, Mr. Lewis believes the region and the world are better off now than before the war. "Despite internal difficulties and external sabotage, the process of democratization has succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams," he says.

Mr. Lewis believes change in Iraq has also been in no small part responsible for Syria's withdrawal from Lebanon and democratic progress there, and "glimmerings" of change in Egypt and Saudi Arabia

Joe Lieberman recently added (also quoted in WSJ editorial), "What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will [in Iraq]...It is time for Democrats who distrust President Bush to acknowledge that he will be Commander in Chief for three more critical years, and that in matters of war we undermine Presidential credibility at our nation's peril."

Opposition parties, please move on. Offer up something constructive.

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