On his radio show on Tuesday, conservative sky-is-falling paranoid Glenn Beck admitted that liberals were right about it being a bad idea to invade Iraq.
Beck’s comments came on the heels of the news that Iraq is falling apart at the seams while Al-Qaeda-backed insurgents take over major cities in the north, and march on Baghadad. And while liberals are reticent about getting back into the same costly war we just got out of, Republicans like Dick Cheney are just itching to jump back in.
Beck has these fits of clarity every once in a while. But they don’t seem to complement his otherwise nutty history of being just as hysterical as the next guy. When Beck says something like this, I have to wonder if he truly believes it:
We are far from reaching across the aisle. I shouldn’t say that. The Republicans and Democrats are perfectly fine reaching across the aisle. They are not only reaching across the aisle, they are reaching across the aisle and fondling each other. It’s just they are on the same exact page, and they will demonize. The Republicans are doing it, and the Democrats will do it. They will demonize anyone that steps out of line with the parties.
Now on to Beck’s comments about Iraq:
Maybe we could come together now on this nightmare in Iraq. From the beginning, most people on the left were against going into Iraq. I wasn’t. At the time I believed that the United States was under threat from Saddam Hussein. I really truly believed that Saddam Hussein was funding terrorists. We knew that. He was funding the terrorists in Hamas. We knew that he was giving money. We could track that. We knew he hated us. We knew that without a shadow of a doubt. It wasn’t much or a stretch to believe that he would fund a terror strike against us, especially since he would say that. So I took him at his word.
There were also atrocities that were happening in Iraq torture chambers, mass graves. At the time, the unanimous belief – even with Hillary Clinton and everybody else – was that he had weapon of mass destruction. There was also the element – and this is really what spoke to me – of bringing freedom to the people of Iraq for the first time in their long history. I don’t want to control Iraq, but I have a soft spot for people who are being tortured and just want freedom because I really, truly believe Democrats and Republicans are the same. Israelis and Palestinians are the same. Once you get the politicians to leave the room, once you can deprogram people from what the politicians and leaders have said, everyone is pretty much the same. It’s like, ‘I just want to be left alone.’ ‘I just want to raise my family, have fun.’ ‘I want a decent life.’ Then politicians get involved and program us to hate each other. You have to be carefully taught who to hate.
Now, in spite of the things I felt at the time when we went into war, liberals said: We shouldn’t get involved. We shouldn’t nation-build. And there was no indication the people of Iraq had the will to be free. I thought that was insulting at the time. Everybody wants to be free. They said we couldn’t force freedom on people. Let me lead with my mistakes. You are right. Liberals, you were right. We shouldn’t have….
But I agree with you: You cannot force democracy on the Iraqis or anybody else. It doesn’t work. They don’t understand it or even really want it. They may be too immersed in their own belief of Sharia Law to embrace liberty or at least at this time. If people vote for Sharia Law, they vote for Sharia Law. We tried. What can we do? We have lost thousands of American lives. We have lost thousands of lives on the Iraqi side and tens of thousands have been wounded. We have spent $2 trillion – say that again – $2 trillion, and upwards of 200,000 Iraqi citizens, aid workers, insurgents have been killed. That’s the conservative number. Liberals will tell you it’s almost 1 million people. I don’t know what the number is, but after all of that, hundreds of thousands of lives, $2 trillion, the best minds in the world trying to do it, it’s about to fall apart.
I’m not sure about Beck’s “they’re not ready for democracy” argument, but I’ve long believed, or at least suspected, that you can’t foist democracy on anyone. They have to fight for it. Countries need to have their own revolutions in order for a new way of life and governance to coalesce and cement. That doesn’t mean that we should just sit back and watch bad things happen. But I worry that when it comes to nation-building, countries that don’t adopt change via revolution don’t necessarily achieve change that lasts.
I think of Soviet Russia vs. Eastern Europe. The Eastern European countries overthrew their communist overlords. The Russians? Not so much.
So I’m not necessarily against assisting pro-democracy efforts, or even pro-democracy insurgents, depending on the case. But if you don’t have the buy-in of the people, if you don’t have an actual people’s revolution, I think it’s difficult for freedom to stick.