From a must-read article in the American Prospect:
For months Americans have been told that the United States is going to war against Iraq in order to disarm Saddam Hussein, remove him from power, eliminate Iraq’s alleged stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, and prevent Baghdad from blackmailing its neighbors or aiding terrorist groups. But the Bush administration’s hawks, especially the neoconservatives who provide the driving force for war, see the conflict with Iraq as much more than that. It is a signal event, designed to create cataclysmic shock waves throughout the region and around the world, ushering in a new era of American imperial power. It is also likely to bring the United States into conflict with several states in the Middle East. Those who think that U.S. armed forces can complete a tidy war in Iraq, without the battle spreading beyond Iraq’s borders, are likely to be mistaken.
“I think we’re going to be obliged to fight a regional war, whether we want to or not,” says Michael Ledeen, a former U.S. national-security official and a key strategist among the ascendant flock of neoconservative hawks, many of whom have taken up perches inside the U.S. government. Asserting that the war against Iraq can’t be contained, Ledeen says that the very logic of the global war on terrorism will drive the United States to confront an expanding network of enemies in the region. “As soon as we land in Iraq, we’re going to face the whole terrorist network,” he says, including the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and a collection of militant splinter groups backed by nations Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia that he calls “the terror masters.”
“It may turn out to be a war to remake the world,” says Ledeen.
And see, the thing is, they think that’s a good thing. Go read the whole thing, especially if you’re under the impression that the liberation of the Iraqi people is anything but an afterthought. And start watching for the increasing demonization of Iran, like this bit (via Maureen Dowd):
(Leeden) called Iraq “just one battle in a broader war. Iran is . . . the mother of modern terrorism.”