Michael Ubaldi, February 18, 2005.
Heard from suddenly lockstep-partisan political operative Susan Estrich and cold-blooded Congressman Charlie Rangel, one of the left's feeble responses to the Iraqi people's January 30th redemption and vindication has been that America did not lead an alliance of nations into Iraq to democratize it.
Via IP, Norman Geras has drawn from speeches by President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and a leading Labour Party MP; all delivered well before the beginning of major combat operations on March 20, 2003. There's more. Despite the larger left's adoption of the fringe's characterization of postwar occupation as colonialism, and the left's selective amnesia that spanned nearly eighteen months after the liberation of Baghdad, culminating in a near-complete rhetorical reversal — from "Empire!" to "No plan!" — the American-led alliance was clearly prepared to establish a pluralist democracy after deposing Saddam Hussein. In early January of 2003, the New York Times of all papers publicized a lengthy outline of the Bush administration's intentions. I happened to comment on the article. The word "democratizing" was not only in the lede, but in the first sentence. (And note, in reference to the left, the Times' mention of "concerns that [the] US will seek to be [a] colonial power in Iraq.")
Ten months later, the matter of postwar planning was brought up again by Democratic presidential hopefuls. The Times article was still online but truncated, so I paid for the full article and posted excerpts.
The White House planned to help Iraqis build a democracy well in advance of military action. Black and white. If you're puzzled as to why neither Rangel nor Estrich would be concerned that their televised statements could so easily be refuted, remember: no one had convenient access to nearly every transcript or record of public forums until now.
And if neither statements from leaders nor reports of administration debates satisfy, language in both the first and final drafts of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1441 should. From the October 2002 circulation:
Deploring also that the Government of Iraq has failed to comply with its commitments pursuant to resolution 687 (1991) with regard to terrorism, pursuant to resolution 688 (1991) to end repression of its civilian population —
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