Iraq is commonly said to be the centerpiece of Bush's presidency. The United States invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein supposedly possessed weapons of mass destruction. But nearly three years after the invasion, no such weapons have been found. And evidence is mounting that the intelligence used to bolster the claims for Iraq's WMD was cherry-picked, politically pressured and, to use intelligence expert Thomas Powers' word, "fabricated."And the winner, Iran.
Perhaps the real reason for the Iraq invasion, sold to Congress along with WMD, was a Wilsonian goal of making the world — or at least the Middle East — "safe for democracy." Bush hinted as much in a speech at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington a month before the invasion. "Human cultures can be vastly different," he said. "Yet the human heart desires the same good things, everywhere on Earth."
An astounding statement. Flatly untrue. Refuted by history and experience. Did Mohamed Atta desire the same good things as his hostage passengers when he piloted his hijacked jetliner into one of the World Trade Center towers? Do Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds desire the same things today in Iraq?
Iraq is not going to be a beacon of democracy in the Middle East but, assuming a civil war is avoided, probably a Shiite-dominated theocracy leaning toward Iran. For this, the bill will be half a trillion dollars and tens of thousands dead and wounded.Sounds a lot like what left leaning realists like Juan Cole have been telling us. The centerpiece of Bush's foreign policy, Iraq is a flop.
As Buckley wrote in two recent columns, our Iraq policy "didn't work." The Bush centerpiece has been an astonishing flop.
Free Market Economics, NOT!
Yet free-market economics pushed to exclude other worthy goals becomes an ideology.
Consider conservation. Since Republican Theodore Roosevelt created our national parks, every president has worked to protect them. Free-market ideologue Bush neglects them except as a playground for more snowmobiles. He wants to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He talks about fuel-efficient cars but does nothing to encourage their production.
Bush is a privatization ideologue. Not surprisingly, his scheme to privatize Social Security sank like a stone. Who wanted to attach the social safety net to stock in such companies as Enron and WorldCom? And Bush's Medicare prescription drug plan, another privatization scheme, has been a disaster.
As for me, I'm in favor of treating disease and avoiding unnecessary death.
Stem cell research promises to do that. But not long after his inauguration in 2001, Bush greatly hampered stem cell research by severely limiting federal support for it. Why?
And what are people who blindly follow and ideologue? They are called cultists not conservatives.