Tuesday, February 03, 2004

New Blog: Wow. TNR has blog fever. With the Dean-o-Phobe in retirement (along, it seems, with Dean), TNR rolls out its newest blog, featuring Spencer Ackerman, called Iraq'd (thus continuing TNR's perfect record in giving smart blogs stupid names -- viz &c, Easterblogg). That said, the blurb explaining the column is smart and convincing, right off the bat:
Well, it turns out that Saddam didn't have much in the way of WMD, or even ongoing WMD programs. And it also appears that his ties to Al Qaeda were tenuous at best. So all that's left for the war rationale is the human-rights-and-democracy argument, which for liberals is intuitively appealing (or should be). But then along comes the Bush administration's November 15 Agreement to relinquish sovereignty by June 30, which tells the Iraqis that, owing to election-year considerations, the United States can't be bothered right now to midwife a democracy.
Nice. The Bush administration is obviously swerving on this now. Lacking WMDs, Bush sought to turn Iraq into a nation-building project, spending the past few months trying to convince America that, WMD or no, we were doing good work there. And of course the smart thing to do when nation building is to . . . declare victory, hold early elections, and pull out?
One of the premises of Iraq'd is that the U.S. decision to cease nation-building jeopardizes our own national security as well as Iraq's. After all, if we believe that Iraqi democracy would be a model for the region, then the converse is also true: If we leave behind a failing state in Iraq, then we provide Middle Eastern autocrats with a pretext for cracking down on the reformers and liberals in their midst, since they can point to the chaos in Baghdad as the likely fruit of democracy.
I look forward to reading some smart stuff there.

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