A BETTER MIDDLE EAST….Joshua Muravchik of AEI writes today about a small but gratifying advance in global freedom this year (as quantified here by Freedom House). He is especially gratified that six of the nine counties that improved their freedom scores were majority Muslim, a significant change from the decline of the past:

Some of the credit for reversing this belongs to President Bush’s strategy of promoting freedom and democracy, including by means of war in Iraq. Saad Edin Ibrahim, the dean of Egyptian dissidents and an opponent of the war in Iraq, said recently that it had “unfrozen the Middle East just as Napoleon’s 1798 expedition did.”

This, I think, is pretty much the only justification left for the Iraq war: the slim possibility that simply by kicking over the status quo in the Middle East we might make things better. It’s a last gasp justification, to be sure, but at this point we’d all better hope there’s something to it.

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