Thursday, March 03, 2005

'We're wrong' seem to be the hardest words

Jonathan Freedland of the Guardian (and also of the UK's Jewish Chronicle) admits that perhaps, just perhaps, the recent moves towards more democracy in the Arab world are a positive result of President Bush's Iraq war:
This leaves opponents of the Iraq war in a tricky position... Not only did we set our face against a military adventure which seems, even if indirectly, to have triggered a series of potentially welcome side effects; we also stood against the wider world-view that George Bush represented. What should we say now?
First, we ought to admit that the dark cloud of the Iraq war may have carried a silver lining. We can still argue that the war was wrong-headed, illegal, deceitful and too costly of human lives - and that its most important gain, the removal of Saddam, could have been achieved by other means. But we should be big enough to concede that it could yet have at least one good outcome. Second, we have to say that the call for freedom throughout the Arab and Muslim world is a sound and just one - even if it is a Bush slogan and arguably code for the installation of malleable regimes. Put starkly, we cannot let ourselves fall into the trap of opposing democracy in the Middle East simply because Bush and Blair are calling for it. Sometimes your enemy's enemy is not your friend.
In this, Freedland goes a helluva lot further than most people on the Left, who often can't bear to admit that anything good has come out of the war in Iraq at all, and at times seem almost to be rooting for America's failure, out of sheer spite. He still seems incapable of admitting that perhaps Bush and Blair's actual intentions were good (not merely the incidental side-effects), and that perhaps they were actually right that there were more important, and better strategies for the region than stability. But the cracks in the Leftist opposition to the war are beginning to show.

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