Mark Adomanis’ Nov. 15 comment (“Did Bush Get It Right?”) is replete with distortion and logical fallacy. First, Adomanis cites an academic report that claims that a totalitarian system like that of North Korea’s is as effective as a completely democratic one in curtailing terrorism, and draws the conclusion that Bush’s attempts at democratization in the Middle East are therefore justified. The report as Adomanis presents it appears to suggest that political stability, not political freedom, better curbs terrorism. Second, he creates a liberal straw man shouting exhortations to bring money, not democracy to the Middle East as an effective weapon against terrorism.
Most critics of the Iraq war do not oppose democracy in the Middle East, but argue rather that imposition from abroad, especially as conducted by the Bush administration, is an ineffective way to establish democracy, and that the unavoidable death of many civilians would instead further the causes of radical Islam.
Third, he does not acknowledge that Bush’s own goal of “freedom and democracy” was emphasized only ex post facto, after his original justification for war, keeping Iraqi WMDs away from terrorists, fell through. These distortions serve only to muddy any productive debate on the subject.
ALEX FORTES ’07
Nov. 17, 2004