Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Regime Change

As an American, one has to be gratified by the response we're now seeing in the streets of Iraq. At least the few Iraqis being shown on television are greeting our troops as liberators. I have also been struck by the humanity of our soldiers. Their efforts to meet the Iraqi people one-on-one have been uplifting to say the least. They have shown the human side of America, and it is that which will ultimately win the war with Iraq and the hearts of the Moslem world.

If American government policy after this war is over doesn't screw it up, that is. America has an opportunity to either stabilize or de-stabilize the region, depending on where we go from here. If we pull out too fast, stay too long, or attempt to dictate to the new Iraqi government what their new policies will be, America will quickly become another invader; and eventually all the lives, effort, and money spent on this war will have only inflamed world affairs. We cannot afford that.

Bush would do well now not to listen to the hawks pressing for regime change in Syria. This was something I cautioned about in the op-ed piece "On the Road of War". Only days later, I am seeing my fears realized. America cannot afford to try to force the rest of the world to fit into its mold. We must do what we need to in order to protect ourselves and nothing more. We cannot afford paranoia about ourselves or the rest of the world. We cannot afford an all enveloping foreign policy that exercises military force as a first option. Adopting such a policy as a routine matter of course says--despite our braggadocio about our military might--is how afraid we have become.