Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Good for America

If the modern measure of a left-side zealot in America is that he would rather see Iraq fail than see George Bush succeed, what is the flip-side of that? Someone who would rather read only news from Iraq that would help the Republicans in 2008? Regardless of whether it's good news in the long run for Iraq or not?

John Tierney wrote a prescient article last year (since vanished behind the subscription wall) saying the only way Iraq is going to turn out strong and free is if the Iraqis feel, one way or another, they sent the Americans packing for home. Not fair for us, maybe, but there is no fair when you're the world's sole standing superpower.

The only way Iraqis will feel national pride and unity is if they really feel it's their country. One reason the insurgents have a base among the people is that they, perversely, seem to be standing up for the national pride.

That ought to be the elected government's role.

So when I heard about the death of al-Zarqawi, as pleased as I was, I privately wished he had been done in by Iraqi forces, not American bombs. Nothing against our pilots, you understand. And I still hope we learn that it was Iraqis who turned against him, not superior U.S. espionage, that drew the crosshairs to his worthless head. Nothing against our spooks, you understand.

Today, when Bush went to Baghdad, I'd have been pleased if, in addition to an open-arms greeting from the Iraqi leadership, he had gotten a bracing leacture. Not because it would have been good for Bush or bad for Bush. But because it would have been good for Iraq. And ultimately, that's good for America.