I would never expect The New Republic to be lecturing National Review against going wobbly in Iraq – yet they have. Then again, the author is Andrew Sullivan, who has been a strong advocate of staying the course in Iraq for some time.
In the end, I have to agree with TNR on this issue. The goal of Iraq is part of a larger strategy of democratic transformation in the region – and should the United States compromise on that goal, the invasion of Iraq will have been largely for naught. The goal of Iraq was not nearly to remove Saddam Hussein, although that was a worthwhile goal in itself. The goal of the war was to restore sanity to the Middle East by providing a model for the Arab world – a place where modernity could thrive in a way that the closely controlled societies in the region could not.
In the end, we committed ourselves to a process of political reconstruction that will take decades. This is the price we pay for a process that will remove a very real threat to the civilized world. The alternatives are worse, and the results of giving up too soon would be incalcuably destructive not only for the future of freedom in the Middle East, but for the world. Sullivan is correct in this instance – now is not the time to be going wobbly in Iraq.