Many pundits have made fun of the Huffinton Post on the grounds that a large number of its contributors are Hollywood nincompoops. The Pundocracy has been so dazzled by the sheer idiocy they knew they would be emanating from the sparkling chimpanzees of Malibu that it didn’t occur to them that the site might have even worse things in store for the American people. But it turns out that the Huffington Post does have things worse than Cher’s neighbors. It has washed up politicians. Specifically, it has Gary Hart.
In a post today Hart raises what Huffington calls “the most important long-term question on Iraq.” The question? “Are we there to promote democracy, or are we there to stay?”
If the goal of the Project for a New American Century . . . was to overthrow Saddam Hussein, install a friendly government in Baghdad, set up a permanent political and military presence in Iraq, and dominate the behavior of the region (including securing oil supplies), then you build permanent bases for some kind of permanent American military presence. If the goal was to spread democracy and freedom, then you don’t.
Hart and Huffington have given us an either-or proposition here; either we are in Iraq as a permanent presence, or we are there to promote democracy. They would have us believe that these two options are mutually exclusive. The logic of their argument, however, is so faulty that even my four year old son could see through it. Just ask him if he would rather eat broccoli or go to timeout and he’ll tell you this: “I’d rather eat an ice cream sandwich.” There is a third possibility that the duo have disingenuously chosen to ignore: we could be building bases with the intent of keeping troops there for a long time, and we could simultaneously be there to promote democracy.
Hart and Huffington are being willfully ignorant. We’ve been celebrating the end of WWII for the last couple of days so it’s doubtful that they’ve forgotten about the existence of Germany and Japan. Those two countries have had American bases and thousands of American troops within their borders for the last sixty years and (Hart and Huffintong might be surprised to learn) they’ve enjoyed a great deal of democracy and independence over that time period.