From the Washington Post, via numerous readers:
“Now that we’re there, we’re stuck,” he said. Bush took an “enormous risk” that through war the United States could replace Saddam Hussein and the “small danger” he presented to the United States with something better and safer. The gamble was “foolish” and “wrong.” But whoever will be elected in 2004 has to live with it. “We have no choice. It’s a matter of national security. If we leave and we don’t get a democracy in Iraq, the result is very significant danger to the United States.”
And “bringing democracy to Iraq is not a two-year proposition. Having elections alone doesn’t guarantee democracy. You’ve got to have institutions and the rule of law, and in a country that hasn’t had that in 3,000 years, it’s unlikely to suddenly develop by having elections and getting the heck out.” Dean would impose a “hybrid” constitution, “American with Iraqi, Arab characteristics. Iraqis have to play a major role in drafting this, but the Americans have to have the final say.” Women’s rights must be guaranteed at all levels.
Dean is almost as sweeping about Afghanistan, where “losing the peace is not an option” and “pulling out early would be a disaster.” Five times the current level of troops are needed, he said. “Imagine making deals with warlords to promote democracy. What are these people thinking?”
You can argue as to the merits of pragmatism vs. idealism, or however you want to frame it, but no one should be under the impression that a Dean presidency would mean the US getting the hell out of Iraq anytime soon he’s definitely a “you broke it, you bought it” candidate. (And, um Iraq hasn’t had the rule of law in “3,000 years”…?)
Of course, in fairness, regarding his remarks on Afghanistan the last time the US lost interest there and pulled out early, so to speak, it paved the way for the rise of the Taliban. And gosh, that didn’t work out so well.