Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, November 21, 2005

On taking responsibility in the world

Mark Steyn

Any great power -- never mind the preeminent power of the age -- should be engaged with the world. That means, among other things, that it has a presence in those parts of the globe that are critical to its interest. For two years, the Democrats have assiduously peddled the line that Bush 'lied' about Iraq. A slightly less contemptible class of critic has sneered that the administration never had any plans for postwar Iraq, hadn't a clue what it was getting into, couldn't tell the difference between a Sunni and a Shia and a Kurd if they were painted different colors and had neon signs flashing off the top of their heads. If there's anything to this feeble second-guessing, it's that the U.S. government simply didn't know enough about Iraq -- and, in a crude sense, they're right. U.S. taxpayers would be justified, for example, in feeling they're not getting their $44 billion worth from the intelligence community. But the only way to know the country is to be there on the ground, in some form or other. I'm all for 'Iraqification' -- though those Democrats urgently demanding everything be done by the locals will be the first to shriek in horror once the Iraqis start serious score-settling with the foreign insurgents. But, even with full-scale Iraqification, America would be grossly irresponsible if not clinically insane not to maintain some sort of small residual military presence somewhere in the western desert. Sorry, but that's part of the deal of being the world's hyperpower. To pretend otherwise is an exit strategy from reality. If you're worried about the ''cost,'' stop garrisoning your wealthiest allies -- Germany, Japan et al. -- and thereby absolving them from stepping up to the traditional responsibilities of nationhood.