It may be that world opinion is pessimistic about Iraq, but millions of Iraqis are optimistic. They support the new Iraq, because there is one thing our enemies — al Qaida and the former henchmen of the old regime — have yet to understand: This new Iraq no longer depends only on a few individuals. This new Iraq is a mass movement, and the seeds of democracy are slowly starting to sprout. It may be that the present Iraqi politicians are not the right ones, but a new generation is coming which loves and understands democracy. It is this generation which is becoming more and more active — and more confident about taking on responsibility, demanding that the torch be passed. For, although our present political leaders did a lot of work in their 35 years of opposition, it is time to make room for those who are guided by the vision of a new Iraq.
Meanwhile, John Derbyshire at The Corner comments on the costs of NOT going to war in Iraq -- a proposition that the Economist has evaluated:
There's a very interesting piece in the current (4/8/06) issue of The Economist about the cost of the Iraq war. As well as costing the war itself, it menations a study that attempts to cost NOT going to war against Iraq.
"A war costing $410 billion-630 billion sounds pretty grim. But the three University of Chicago economists also evaluate a wide span of possible outcomes if America had chosen the alternative to war. Their analysis includes four pre-war scenarios for containment and a range of probabilities for various contingencies. These suggest that reining in Iraq and hoping for the best could reasonably have been expected to cost $250 billion-700 billion."
The whole thing is here, but only if you're a subscriber.
I am not a subscriber, so I have taken the liberty of quoting his entire post because I think it is important. Those who are making a big deal about the cost of the Iraq war fail to consider what the cost of containing Saddam would have been. I'm sure that many imagine it would have been cost-free.
Ali Al-Zahid was only four years old when he was imprisoned in Iraq after his father made critical statements against the Baath regime. Al-Zahid's optimism about the future of Iraq is a marker for estimating what the cost of not going to war in Iraq would have been in human terms.
Just as with the dollar cost of the war; those who would argue that liberating Iraq was not worth it in terms of the human costs, have not taken into account either the deaths that Saddam's regime would have claimed in these last three years; nor the enormous toll of human suffering--including the loss of hope and optimisml and the crushing of the human spirit that is the trademark of tyranny.
While the human costs of not liberating Iraq are harder to estimate than the financial ones; they are none the less real and tangible in people like Ali. Ultimately, those costs represent a long-term investment in the future of freedom, democracy, and peace for both Iraq and America.
Let us stick by our investment in Iraq through its ups and downs; and let its stock value--both economic and human--grow in the long term.
The potential for growth and a return on investment would never have been even remotely possible if we had continued with costly policy of simply "containing" Saddam and permitting his tyranny to flourish.