Friday night topic: Motivations, motivations..

With evidence of weapons of mass destruction programs so far looking thin in Iraq, everyone seems to be talking about the "real" reasons behind the decision to take out Saddam. Steven Den Beste had an interesting article the Wall Street Journal this week where he addressed the issue from a bit different perspective than the tired, old oil-conspiracy theories. He writes:
In fact, the real reason we went into Iraq was precisely to "nation build": to create a secularized, liberated, cosmopolitan society in a core Arab nation. To create a place where Arabs were free and safe and unafraid and happy and successful and not ruled by corrupt monarchs or brutal dictators. This would demonstrate to the other people in the Arab and Muslim worlds that they can succeed, but only if they abandon those political, cultural and religious chains that are holding them back.

We are not doing this out of altruism. We are not trying to give them a liberalized Western democracy because we're evangelistic liberal democrats (with both liberal and democrat taking historical meanings). We are bringing reform to Iraq out of narrow self-interest. We have to foster reform in the Arab/Muslim world because it's the only real way in the long run to make them stop trying to kill us.

Is he on to something? Discuss.
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