Charles Krauthammer chides those Democratic condenders who continue to maintain that Libya’s WMD capitulation was the result of mere diplomacy.

The Democrats seem congenitally incapable of understanding that force has not just the effect of disarming the immediate enemy but a deterrent effect on others similarly situated. Iraq was not attacked randomly. It was attacked as part of a clearly enunciated policy — now known as the Bush Doctrine — of targeting, by preemptive war if necessary, hostile regimes engaged in terror and/or refusing to come clean on WMDs.

Mullah Omar did not get the message and is now hiding in a cave somewhere. Saddam Hussein did not get the message and ended up in a hole. Gaddafi got the message.

Diplomacy is fine. But we are dealing not with Canada but with gangster regimes. In rogue states, the only diplomacy that ever works is diplomacy at the point of a bayonet. Why, even the hapless Hans Blix went out on a limb to speculate that “I would imagine that Gaddafi could have been scared by what he saw in Iraq.”


Do the Democrats really not see the larger picture, or do they pretend not to because it is an election year? The domino effects of the Iraq campaign are already in clear view. It is no accident that Iran has agreed to surprise nuclear inspections. Mind you, I do not hold much hope for this; it will take far more to disarm the mullahs, possibly U.S. airstrikes during a second Bush administration. But for now, Bush’s willfulness and determination in Iraq have persuaded Iran to grab a European plan for inspections rather than face the wrath of the United States.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Hezbollah has been quiet since the war. Syria has made its first peace overture in years. Libya has now confessed and capitulated on WMDs.

And that’s not counting Iraq, which with Saddam Hussein captured has finally turned a historic corner and may be on its way to establishing the first pluralistic, representative pro-Western Arab polity in the region.

These are not triumphs of diplomacy. These are the aftershocks of war.

Well, we’ll just see about the nature of democracy that exists in Iraq, say, five years from now. But otherwise, I believe Krauthammer is exactly right. If Dean, Kerry, and others continue down the other path rhetorically, they’ll marginalize themselves with the mainstream general election voters. Unfortunately, such talk seems to play well with the Democratic nominating electorate and may make Dean’s nomination all the more likely.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Hal says:

    Uh, that’s what you said about Dean’s comment about Saddam’s capture, too. And then the American people had the gall to agree with him in poll after poll.

  2. On this event, the Lefties comfort themselves with a mixture of denial, rationalization (“it was diplomacy”), and scepticism (“it’s all about oil”).

    Kinda sad.