It takes years to accurately evaluate some national decisions. History records many interpretations of a political or policy decision before the final judgment is accurately passed. For example, World War I was believed to be the war to end all wars until it was finally seen as the war that was instrumental in causing World War II. I think the war with Iraq and the removal of Saddam Hussein is one of those events that will take many years to discover its effect on the world, rather good or bad.
The war with Iraq was motivated by a genuine fear that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction that could be used by Al Qaeda to attack sights in the US. At the same time, there were those in the Bush administration who wanted to use this opportunity to overthrow Saddam and set up a democracy in the Middle East as an example that would trigger other Middle Eastern countries to throw off dictators. A more democratic Middle East would provide freedom for millions of people and provide more peace loving nations.
No one thought this strategy was successful until the Arab Spring. Then it appeared many Middle Eastern people were reaching for freedom. However, those behind the democratic strategy did not have any control over the Pandora’s Box that was opened. The people wanted more freedom and rose up against their dictators, but those who had the strategy and political structure in place were the radical extremists who were religious fanatics, more dictatorial than their predecessors. They took advantage of the idealistic demonstrators and killed many of their leaders once they took control of the government. Egypt was an example of that method. Only the Muslim Brotherhood had the political knowhow to win the election, but they became more oppressive than Mubarak and, as a result, 32 million Egyptians went into the streets to demand that the military remove Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood from government.
Now, much of the Middle East is in chaos, with revolutions resulting in no governments. What will be the result? Will the strategy for a democratic Middle East be successful after many years of disruption or will it result in radical Muslim groups enforcing Sharia Law?
It is well known that freedom is not free. It costs many lives to establish and to maintain it. Will history judge this effort to bring more freedom to the Middle East a failure or will the human longing for freedom turn this strategy for democracy into a success? It took forty years for the Cold War to run its course and the weaknesses of communism to be exposed and challenged. Besides internal weaknesses, it was also defeated by a firm and unrelenting strategy by the West to resist communism’s expansion. Now, this war on terrorism will take the same determination and ongoing adjustments of political and military strategy, and it may take forty years or more.
My generation fought politically and militarily and won the Cold War; the war on terror is this generation’s war. I know it is tough, but you can do it. Stay determined and educate yourself with the truth. If you are ignorant, you will be deceived into supporting your enemy. You can win this war if you are willing to fight to remain free.