Friday, March 09, 2007

No One Noticed but Me (Exhibit 2 in a Series)

See also Exhibit 1.

Steve Sailer recently referred me to this speech given by Bush to the American Enterprise Institute.

He spoke on February 26, 2003.

While he does emphasize "weapons of mass destruction" as the immediate casus belli, he also makes it very clear that he views the democratization of Iraq, and in fact of the entire world, a high priority and one of the main objectives should he go to war with Iraq. It is definitely more than a passing thought along the lines of "we have to replace Saddam with something, might as well be democracy."

Moreover, Bush, unlike Podhoretz in the previous piece, doesn't seem to view democratization as a long-term goal, to be achieved perhaps after inculcating democratic institutions over a generation or two.

He makes it clear that he wants us to start building Iraqi democracy immediately after defeating Saddam, and that he views the Iraqis as being as ready for democracy and freedom as Germany and Japan were.

Money quotes:

A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions. America's interests in security, and America's belief in liberty, both lead in the same direction: to a free and peaceful Iraq.

The first to benefit from a free Iraq would be the Iraqi people... Iraqi lives and freedom matter greatly to us.

If we must use force, the United States and our coalition stand ready to help the citizens of a liberated Iraq.

All Iraqis must have a voice in the new government, and all citizens must have their rights protected.

After defeating enemies, we did not leave behind occupying armies, we left constitutions and parliaments. We established an atmosphere of safety, in which responsible, reform-minded local leaders could build lasting institutions of freedom. In societies that once bred fascism and militarism, liberty found a permanent home.

There was a time when many said that the cultures of Japan and Germany were incapable of sustaining democratic values. Well, they were wrong. Some say the same of Iraq today. They are mistaken. The nation of Iraq -- with its proud heritage, abundant resources and skilled and educated people -- is fully capable of moving toward democracy and living in freedom.

Arab intellectuals have called on Arab governments to address the "freedom gap" so their peoples can fully share in the progress of our times... A new regime in Iraq would serve as a dramatic and inspiring example of freedom for other nations in the region.

It is presumptuous and insulting to suggest that... the one-fifth of humanity that is Muslim is somehow untouched by the most basic aspirations of life. Human cultures can be vastly different. Yet the human heart desires the same good things, everywhere on Earth. In our desire to be safe from brutal and bullying oppression, human beings are the same. In our desire to care for our children and give them a better life, we are the same. For these fundamental reasons, freedom and democracy will always and everywhere have greater appeal than the slogans of hatred and the tactics of terror.

So for those of you who thought that the democracy push only occurred after the war ended and we didn't find WMDs - you haven't been listening.

That is all.

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