“United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam’s presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting.” NY Times 4th September 1967. (Courtesy of Political Wire)
And so we mark the exact point where the war in Iraq becomes a war of liberation rather than that rather fusty old business about some silly WMD. Yes, it’s heartening to see a people embrace democracy, and I hope it leads to stability and prosperity for their country. Nevertheless, it cannot in retrospect justify the gross misrepresentations made by two governments to their respective people which led to the waging of this war under false pretences.
Of course, now that Bush’s administration can honestly declare its idealistic and somewhat messianic goals , will that make things any better? Maybe so and maybe not, but with this sort of positive reaction it seems unlikely there is any doubt holding back the American neo-con idealists from their foreign policy goals. Perhaps in years to come, their policy will be seen as correct, and the multilateral relativisim of the UN and the EU as comparable with appeasement. In any event, it looks increasingly likely that the next practical application of the Bush doctrine will be in Iran.