My decision to vote for Bush never was & is not easy on my mind, or simple. I remember before 9/11 I was angered & bothered by Bush's Supreme Court victory, & the hubristic foreign policy attitudes which followed. But I would say the vote came after a gestation period which began when I saw the Left's, & most of the world's, reaction to the Bush policy toward Iraq & the sanctions problem. I was struck at that time by the ideological rather than the pragmatic nature of the response. I saw a lot of Vietnam-spectre hand-wringing; I saw a lot of purely partisan Bush-bashing; I saw a lot of sanctimonious pacifism, willing to appease, and indeed collaborate with, the Saddam regime, in order to avoid holding him to account. I saw the UN willing to do almost anything besides actually enforce the sanctions; I saw Europe gladly join hands with the Baathists rather than support the US in bringing down that neo-Stalinist regime.

I already know the rebuttals that readers of this blog are thinking & perhaps preparing to post. There's the argument that the US should have been more patient with inspections. Then there's the argument that even if the war was justified, the aftermath has been botched, with horrific consequences. I understand the merit of these arguments, and of many others; but in the end they are not strong enough to convince me that the Bush long-term strategy of pushing democracy in the Middle East is fundamentally mistaken. Rather, I think the critics and the naysayers have got history wrong; they remind me, to a degree, of the people who opposed Lincoln in the Civil War, as a matter of fact.

History, fortunately or unfortunately, is not a clear glass displaying the clean triumph of good over evil; nor is the US exempt from deep wrongs of its own. But I happen to believe this particular cause is just.

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