Tuesday I wrote a piece that mentioned Ed Kilgore's Talking Points Memo column denigrating any relationship between the Bush Doctrine and the current anti-Syrian activism in Lebanon. Here's what Mr. Kilgore, policy director of the Democratic Leadership Council, had to say:
This may surprise some of you, but I rarely if ever get any email from Republicans. But TPM gets email from the whole world, and today I received quite a few from people wanting to know why I wasn't posting anything about Lebanon. Not having any particular thing to say about the happy contingency of the apparent collapse of the pro-Syrian government there, I didn't worry about it much, until I got an email referring to this event as part of a "democracy domino." And then I got it: those insistent correspondents were suggesting that I, as a Democrat, was indifferent to the latest triumph of Bush administration foreign policy.Well, how about this piece from today's Los Angeles
Now I am aware the State Department made the appropriate noises, as its predecessors would have done, after the Hariri assassination, about Syrian dominance of Lebanon, and I also know the Bush administration has been generally hostile towards the Syrian government, as has been U.S. policy for as long as I can remember. But it literally never crossed my mind that Bush's fans would credit him with for this positive event, as though his pro-democracy speeches exercise some sort of rhetorical enchantment.
Barring any specific evidence (provided, say, by Lebanese pro-democracy leaders)that Bush had anything in particular to do with Syria's setbacks in Lebanon, I see no particular reason to high-five him for being in office when they happened.
This week, tens of thousands of anti-Syrian demonstrators in Beirut forced the resignation of the pro-Syrian government of Prime Minister Omar Karami. Many are already starting to compare the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon to the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine.That evidence specific enough for you, Mr. Kilgore?
It would be the height of hubris to claim that all these developments are due to U.S. action alone. Pressure has been building up in the Middle East pressure cooker for decades; the long-suffering people of the region do not need any outside prompting to list a long litany of grievances against their dysfunctional governments. But it was the invasion of Iraq and the subsequent democratic elections there that blew the lid off the region.
"It's strange for me to say it," says Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblatt, who would never be mistaken for a Bush backer, "but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq."
"Now with the new Bush administration," confirms former Lebanese President Amin Gemayel, "we feel a stronger determination in liberating Lebanon and in promoting democracy in the Middle East."