Horowitz turns against the Democracy Project

It took Horowitz almost ten years to admit that his idol George W. Bush was wrong. It took him almost ten years to admit that the second greatest political passion in his life after Marxism, the Bush democracy project, was also a terrible mistake.

In an article at FrontPage Magazine entitled, “Why I Am Not a Neo-Conservative,” David Horowitz informs us that from the very start he had doubts about the Bush policy of transforming the Muslim world through the spread of democracy. If he had such doubts, he suppressed them completely. FrontPage Magazine was a one-note choir of insane enthusiasm for the democracy agenda all through those years. Every little event in Iraq was trumpeted by FP as proving the “success” of democracy. Thus if a single election was held, with the whole country locked down by U.S. forces to prevent terrorist attacks, FP gushed that this showed that Iraq was now a “free” country. Any move toward democracy in Iraq, no matter how weak and tentative, or even contradicting democracy, such as the referendum in August 2005 approving a constitution that enshrined sharia as the supreme law of the land, was touted at FP as the “victory” of democracy and of Bush’s policy. (I’ve previously told how at the time of the sharia constitution approval, Horowitz wrote to me saying that this was a “disaster,” but he never said so in his magazine, and he never revisited the subject with me either.) So fanatical was Horowitz on the subject that when, in 2005, his editor Jamie Glazov proposed that Glazov and I have a debate at FP on the democracy agenda, Horowitz shot down the idea. He didn’t want even a debate on the subject at his magazine. He wanted 100 percent pro democracy agenda, all the time.

He says that despite his private doubts, “I allowed myself to get swept up in the Bush-led enthusiasm for a democratic revolution in the Middle East. I remained on board until the Beirut spring began to wither and got off when election results in Gaza came in and put a Nazi party into power. That spelled the end of my neo-conservative illusions.”

So, he stopped believing in Muslim democracy in 2006 as a result of the election of Hamas, which, we should add, was itself the result of Bush’s demand that Israel allow Hamas to participate in the Palestinian Authority elections. In reality, there was no such change of position by Horowitz in 2006. Until the end of the Bush presidency and beyond, he and his magazine maintained their total support for the Bush idea of reforming the Muslim world via democracy, and for the notion that the democracy project in Iraq had been a success.

As recently as March 19, 2009, Horowitz and Ben Johnson wrote at FrontPage Magazine:

On this sixth anniversary of America’s invasion of Iraq, there is finally a consensus among supporters and opponents that we’ve won the war. The surge that Bush launched and Democrats opposed has been successful and, as a result, Iraq has become a Middle Eastern democracy, an anti-terrorist regime, and an American ally.

Thus Horowitz’s claim that he switched against the democracy project in 2006 is false. If such a switch occurred, it was, just like his earlier doubts, only a private event in his own mind. In politics, private thoughts do not count. It’s the positions you take publicly that count. Also, if it were really the case that Horowitz had turned against the democracy project in 2006, he wouldn’t have to be writing this current article.

This time, however, he really is switching. It took him almost ten years to admit that his idol George W. Bush was wrong. It took him almost ten years to admit that the second greatest political passion in his life after Marxism, the Bush democracy project, was also a terrible mistake. But please note that a key reason he has turned against the democracy project is that Barack Obama is now the one leading it. If George W. Bush were still president and were doing what Obama is now doing in Libya, Horowitz would probably still be publicly supporting it, notwithstanding his private doubts.

Here is the last part of the article, where Horowitz briefly explains why democratic elections in the Muslim world only make things worse, and calls on the neoconservatives to admit that they were wrong. :

… It looks like we are headed for the same result [as in Gaza] in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood is poised to win the September elections. The reality is that a totalitarian Islam is the vibrant and increasingly dominant movement in the Arab world. Any elections likely to take place will be on the order of one man, one vote, one time. Neo-conservatives are now cheering on the Obama administration’s reckless intervention in Libya, as though the past ten years have taught them nothing. The nation building effort in Iraq led to a squandering of American resources and a weakening of American power. Putting a man who is hostile to American power in the White House is not the least aspect of this American decline. Because of these nation-building delusions we are still mired in Afghanistan—now the longest war in American history. And now we have been plunged into the Middle Eastern maelstrom with no clear agenda or objective.

The Obama Administration, in my view, is the most dangerous administration in American history, and conservatives need to be very clear about the limits and objectives of American power so that they can lead the battle to restore our government to health. To accomplish this, neo-conservatives need to admit they were wrong, and return to the drawing board. They should give up the “neo” and become conservatives again.

- end of initial entry -

LA writes:

Here’s another falsity revealed in the article. In reality, Horowitz has never called himself a neoconservative; and in correspondence he always eschewed the label. Yet now he tells us that he subscribed to the neoconservative view for at least the first four years of the Bush democracy policy until he became disillusioned with it. So during the very years when he declined to call himself a neoconservative, he was, by his own estimation, a neoconservative.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 23, 2011 09:17 AM | Send

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