Andrew Sullivan is no longer connected to the real world.
"The Iraq elections may not be the end of the Middle East Berlin Wall, but they certainly demonstrate its crumbling. The uprising against Syria's occupation of Lebanon is extremely encouraging; Syria's attempt to buy off some good will by coughing up Saddam's half-brother is also a good sign; ditto Mubarak's attempt to make his own dictatorship look more democratic. Add all of that to the emergence of Abbas and a subtle shift in the Arab media and you are beginning to see the start of a real and fundamental change. Almost all of this was accomplished by the liberation of Iraq. Nothing else would have persuaded the thugs and mafia bosses who run so many Arab nations that the West is serious about democracy. The hard thing for liberals - and I don't mean that term in a pejorative sense - will be to acknowledge this president's critical role in moving this region toward democracy. In my view, 9/11 demanded nothing less. We are tackling the problem at the surface - by wiping out the institutional core of al Qaeda - and in the depths - by tackling the autocracy that makes Islamo-fascism more attractive to the younger generation. This is what we owed to the victims of 9/11. And we are keeping that trust."
I agree with all that. So exactly how has he lost touch with reality? By starting that entire quote above with this sentence.
"I think even the fiercest critics of president Bush's handling of the post-liberation phase in Iraq will still be thrilled at what appears to me to be glacial but important shifts in the right direction in the region."
First, Andrew needs to realize that Bush's fiercest critics would never define "important shifts in the right direction" as a move to freedom and democracy. To them, the correct direction is a move towards total anarchy.
Second, if he thinks that any critics of President Bush will be thrilled at Iraqi successes, he's dreaming. Actually, he's past dreaming, he's in complete denial of the entire presidential campaign, virtually every recent speech by major Democratic Senators (Hillary excluded) and many Democratic House members, and he's completely blocked out the Lefts' recent reaction to the elections in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Even the faintest of Bush's critics yield nothing. No hint of recognition that a Bush strategy could have produced such effects. I expect, no, predict, that it's only a matter of months before we see long dissertations on how all these successes were a fluke. Never the intended outcome. A "collateral enhancement", so to speak. A veritable chorus of Lefties setting out to prove that the successes enjoyed by the US in the middle east are serendipity. And it will grow stronger with each success. As those successes become permanent, the Left's view of Bush as nothing more than an American Flashman will become just as permanent. One need only look at how the Left views Reagan today, and their willingness to claim a part of the end of the Cold War. They were proud to be against all that Reagan stood for when the Lance SSBMs were going into Europe. When Reagan called on Gorbachev to "tear down this wall" the Left was quick to snicker and comment on how naive Reagan was. Expect nothing different for this President in the future, as nothing is different now.
I agree with Andrew in part, there will be many successes in the middle east for Americans to cheer. But here he and I part ways. Except for the Lefties cheering the occasional setback like this; there will be no thrilled Leftists for many, many, many years to come.
(update 01 Mar 05) I'm so correct at times, it's almost scary.