Would That They Ran Wars As Well As They Write Speeches
With Reverend Sensing, I also think that the core of the speech was this phrase:
"So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world."
There is absolutely nothing in the phrase that I would not agree with. It expresses my values as much as it expresses the President's values. But the President is correct that success in this is a matter for generations and not just four short years. He has had four short years, he will have four more short years.
In the last four years the sum total of our successes has been the deposition of two authoritarian regimes, at an enormous cost in money and military force, and without much indication, as yet, that this particular approach has created lasting democratic institutions in their place. And no indication, as well, that it has persuaded any country we have not invaded to become more democratic.
As a matter of practical policy, the only successful "support" from us for democratic institutions has consisted of removing tyrants by force and engaging in wars of attrition with everyone else there who does not want democratic institutions to form. So I presume, after finishing, if we ever do, in Iraq and Afghanistan, we will immediately start doing this somewhere else. Besides the money spent, which is insanely enormous, this has cost us, on average since we invaded Iraq, 500 soldiers killed, and 4000 soldiers horribly maimed, a year.
A generation is 20 years. That adds up to 10,000 soldiers killed and 80,000 without arms, legs, and even faces, for, maybe, five countries "democratized". Two generations is forty years and adds up to 20,000 dead, 160,000 pitiful cripples and 10 countries relieved of tyranny. Three generations is sixty years and 30,000 dead, 240,000 maimed, and 15 democracies flourishing.
If this is to be our "victory" over tyranny, I think our hands are too small to hold it.
George, maybe you should concentrate for the next four years on cleaning up the mess you've already made. Future generations can decide for themselves whether "forced democratization" is truly intelligent and effective foreign policy.