The Opportunity of Reconstruction
The latest post from Matthew Yglesias has me thinking about rebuilding Iraq. In particular, he cites a TNR blog post noting that:
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last week found only 37 percent support for only a three-year effort. Does anyone expect the Bush administration, as its reelection campaign heats up, to rally public support to a politically difficult but strategically vital cause?
Here's the speech I dream of hearing:
My fellow Americans, the world continues to be a troubled place, and America must once again rise to the tasks that lay before it. The eyes of the world are upon us, trying to determine from our actions what it is that America now stands for. Those with aspirations of liberty and prosperity look to see if America will help lead them toward their noble goals. Those who fear progress hope in the darkness of their hearts that America will turn inward and abdicate its obligations. We will do no such thing.
Like generations of Americans before us, we will take responsibility for helping a defeated foe rise and rebuild. After the Second World War, many years of dedicated work and capital went to set the nations of Germany and Japan on a path of prosperity which they still enjoy today. As a result, we can count them among our strongest allies and can admire the strength of their democratic systems, which we helped to create. We will do the same for the people of Iraq, helping them rebuild their nation in a land that has seen millennia of human progress. We will give them the necessary manpower, training, and capital. More importantly, we will give them our patience and our committment. We will not let the violence and hatred of a few keep our helping hand from reaching the many. We will not be abandon the people of Iraq. They are our brothers and sisters, and we will help them rebuild their home.