Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Neocons' Undemocratic Domino

The chief reason the George W. Bush administration launched a war in Iraq more than eight years ago sprang from the core tenets of the neoconservatives who pushed for the war. That reason was to use regime change in Iraq as a catalyst for stimulating change throughout the Middle East, moving the region toward what the neocons hoped would be freer and more open politics and economics. In a speech to a friendly audience at the American Enterprise Institute three weeks before the invasion, President Bush described a democratic domino theory, in which Iraq would be the first domino to fall. “A new regime in Iraq,” the president said, “would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.” Iraq seemed like a promising lead domino because of its size, oil wealth, and centrality to the Arab world. Also—given that selling a major offensive war to the American public solely on the basis of democratization of the Middle East would have been impossible—the fact that Iraq was ruled by a loathsome regime made it possible to sell the war instead with scary stories about dictators giving weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.

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