A proper account
The first requirement of intellectual debate
October 1, 2006
. . . Nor is it even half-true to say, of those who advocated an intervention in Iraq, that they concluded “that the ‘root cause’ of terrorism lay in the Middle East’s lack of democracy, that the United States had both the wisdom and the ability to fix this problem and that democracy would come quickly and painlessly to Iraq.
The first requirement of anyone engaging in an intellectual or academic debate is that he or she be able to give a proper account of the opposing position(s), and Fukuyama simply fails this test. The term “root causes” was always employed ironically (as the term “political correctness” used to be) as a weapon against those whose naive opinions about the sources of discontent were summarized in that phrase. It wasn’t that the Middle East “lacked democracy” so much that one of its keystone states was dominated by an unstable and destabilizing dictatorship led by a psychopath. And it wasn’t any illusion about the speed and ease of a transition so much as the conviction that any change would be an improvement.
There will be no war, but there will be a fairly brief and ruthless military intervention to remove the Saddam Hussein regime, long overdue. […] What will happen will be this: The president will give an order, there will then occur in Iraq a show of military force like nothing probably the world has ever seen. It will be rapid and accurate and overwhelming enough to deal with an army or a country many times the size of Iraq. That will be greeted by the majority of Iraqi and Kurdish people as a moment of emancipation, which will be a pleasure to see, and then the hard work of the reconstitution of Iraqi society and the repayment of our debt – some part of our debt to them – can begin, and I say bring it on.