Seth, while I always appreciate your insights regarding just about everything, don't you think even Geggy probably beat you to the punch on the whole "IT'S PNAC PAX AMERICANO WITH SOY MILK!22!1" thing??? I mean, seriously, how many people were saying this before we even went to war (I was probably one of them, too)?
Go in, brutally rape Iraq and rebuild it in a couple of months, then hope that other Middle Eastern regimes get the message and clean up their act autonomously.
I think your use of the words "brutally rape" is interesting, since it's what Hussein and his sons used to do to their people for enjoyment...but I digress.
I think your argument is fair...not entirely accurate, but still fair. I believed prior to the invasion, and still believe today, that this administration became overzealous with a desire to include Iraq in the War on Terror, so much so that they jumped at any shit intelligence they saw in front of them in order to mobilize for war. I think they saw Iraq as a weaker link in a generally rotten network of regimes that were aiding in keeping the Middle East under the grip of oil oligarchies. Before the war, it was the war CRITICS who were pointing out how Iraq had the largest middle class in the Middle East, the resources, the education, etc. to create a sustainable liberal democracy...or something like that. I think Iraq represented all of those things in what they saw as a broad plan to end what had been fueling Islamic Terrorism.
However, there are a few obvious things that are worth pointing out here:
I think that last point is especially pertinent. Through our own government's actions, we have shown the rest of the world that if you misbehave we will bother you (Iran, Iraq, Syria), but if you already HAVE a nuke (North Korea, China) we will coddle you and talk about third party negotiations. Saddam Hussein had every reason in the world to have a nuclear weapon, especially knowing that his position in the Middle East was always in question.
Also, as an addendum to the point about Saddam being not a nice guy, Hussein had a massive destabilizing effect on the Middle East. He initiated two wars that hit the oil markets and left thousands upon thousands dead. A lot of attention has been paid to what we alone have done to Iraq, without paying any attention to the full context of what the Hussein dictatorship did to the entire Middle East. Do tyrants ever think they're going to die? If they've already twice before shown you the imperialistic ambitions they have, what leads one to believe they wouldn't try at it again?
I think this is one of the fatal flaws in your argument, Seth. By ridding the country of an imperialist, you declare us as imperialists. And the main foundation you have for this is that we're still there and won't say when we will leave.
Huh? So staying in a country you "brutally raped" until you can help properly rebuild it is Pax Americana? We have historical evidence in Afghanistan that leaving a shattered and sectarian nation in the hands of the radicals and the warlords leads to pretybad things. It seems less like imperialism, and more like an attempt at not repeating history.