It’s hardly a revelation. But the perceptive Michael Young reminds us, again, that those who hope for reform, freedom, and advance in the Arab/Muslim world, but whose only passion and effort on behalf of Iraq is gloating over the failure of American hubris, are not going to get a better offer later.

Even assuming that carelessness long ago derailed American democratization ambitions in Iraq, failure will, at the very least, push democracy to a far lower rung of regional priorities. This will be a boon to the security-minded Arab regimes that most feared a regional democratic transformation in the first place. And those of the Iraq war’s critics who, legitimately, bemoaned Washington’s coddling of Arab dictators (but then refused to endorse the exception to the rule in Iraq) may one day see this or a subsequent administration again prefer the steadiness of tyrants to the wishy-washiness of Arab societies that seem to hate the U.S. far more dependably than they do their own lack of liberty.

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