The era of U.S.-approved, iron-fisted Arab dictators is over. Washington must get used to a Middle East in which public opinion matters to a much greater extent, anti-Western sentiment abounds and political Islam emerges as a major force.
It has long been said that there are wars of necessity and wars of choice. But enemies always adapt, especially in our world of terrorists, failing states and delinquent regimes. Every war is a war of choice.
Iraq has a long and tortured history. Home to the tyrant, the origins of despotism lie in the primordial ooze of the Mesopotamian swamp. Yet for a brief moment fifty years ago, the land of two rivers experienced democracy.