My friend Lawrence Henry takes issue with “Endgame Conservatives, Chapter 2” this week. But
Larry first says that, “Where Jed and other administration critics have it wrong, I think, is that they conflate democracy-building with a soft-pedaled approach to making war.” The problem with that is not my statement of the administration’s policy, but the policy itself.
He next says that, “We cannot in good conscience defeat a terror-sponsoring state (say) and leave it with a leadership vacuum.
Last, Larry says, “…we cannot simply exercise what John Derbyshire fondly calls "gunboat diplomacy" against states that threaten us, and then leave. We owe the world better. Indeed, we owe ourselves better.” Um, no. We owe ourselves security from foreign threats. And we owe the world nothing more than being true to our own Constitution and law, neither of which requires we establish democracy anywhere but here.
Finally, I am unwilling to spend American lives in pursuit of democracy anywhere else. To protect allied democracies is one thing. To try to create them where they have never existed, in a culture that — even at its most beneficient — makes impossible the separation of church and state is purest folly. Win the war, then come home. It’s what we used to call the American Way.
If we do not fight this war in a manner calculated to win it decisively, Larry, we will lose it inevitably. And while we concentrate on building democracy in Iraq, the enemy is concentrating on winning the war. The path you so fervently defend is the path to defeat.
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