Day by Day

Friday, January 02, 2004

How the capture of Saddam bought the U.S. some time, but forever.

In its often-simplistic belief in core democratic values in the Middle East, the Bush administration may be closer to the truth than its critics give it credit for. Many Arabs will have seen in Saddam's downfall something personally liberating, even if the subtleties of Middle East academia prepare one for more than the unrefined deduction that Arabs, like most other people, don't appreciate regime goons staring over their shoulders, raping their wives, shooting their husbands, brainwashing their children or razing their villages.

Yet it is precisely by reaffirming such core liberal values, by restating its belief in the dictum "live and let live," that the US will emerge successfully from its stumbling Iraqi entanglement. Saddam's capture bought the US valuable time, and his trial will surely cast light on what a service the Bush administration did when it ended the long Baathist nightmare. However, this time must be put to good use as the US lays the groundwork for a truly independent, open and representative Iraq.
Reason Online

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