That’s the question George Will asks the GOP’s presidential hopefuls:
Given the absence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and given that we now know how little we know about “nation-building” and about the promotion of democracy in nations that need to be “built,” and given that Saddam Hussein’s horrific tyranny at least controlled Iraq’s sectarian furies, and given that Iraq under him was Iran’s adversary, and given that ten-year wars make Americans indiscriminately averse to military undertakings—given all this, if you could rewind history to March 2003, would you favor invading Iraq?
It appears that Norman Podhoretz would. He would, in fact, make the occupation as permanent as the Israeli one in the West Bank:
After explaining why and how the al-Qaeda affiliate ISIS has been able to capture city after city in Iraq and is now only about fifty miles from Baghdad, David Pryce-Jones flatly declares that “President George W. Bush is vindicated. The sole way Iraq could have continued was under a permanent American presence that gave and guaranteed state functions. President Obama’s withdrawal of American forces is already a historic error. They alone could have kept the peace. Arabs have a phrase to the effect that some mistake has opened the doors of Hell. President Obama has opened those doors.”
At what point did president George W Bush favor a permanent occupation of Iraq? He was the one who made 2011 the drop-dead date for withdrawal, after all. But it’s good to see the real agenda of the neocons explained: imperialism redux. It’s the only way to keep the forces of entropy under control, you see? If the Iraqis don’t want us? Fuck ’em. Their democracy is only as good as our imperial interests allow.