General Clark has written a very good opinion piece in Washington Monthly. He discusses what he thinks is the false history the neoconservative movement (Perle, Feith, Libby, Wolfowitz, et. al.) believes, and how it led them to think that the Middle East could be democratized quite simply.
The reaction of the Middle East to America's invasion of Iraq should hardly have been surprising. Only willful blindness could obscure the obvious fact that the political and cultural conditions in the Middle East are profoundly different than those in the states of the former Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact. To one degree or another, the values and forms of democracy were part of the historic culture of the states of Central and Eastern Europe: There were constitutions and parliaments, in one form or another, in the Baltic States, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere before World War II. In some cases, these precedent experiences with democracy dated back into the 19th century.
Go read the rest; it's quite good. While you're at it, read the NYT's lead editorial today; the board has suddenly realized it's been taken for a ride by the Bush Administration, and it doesn't like it.
Update: The WaPo has suddenly recognized that it's been conned, too.Posted by Linkmeister at May 12, 2004 12:01 AM