Amir Taheri questions the accepted wisdom that the US has failed in Afghanistan and Iraq:
The US intervened in both Afghanistan and Iraq with the aim of changing the regimes in Kabul and Baghdad, which was achieved with remarkable speed. The machinery of terror and war built and maintained by the Taliban and the Ba'ath has been shattered. And whatever happens in Afghanistan and Iraq one thing is certain: Mullah Muhammad Omar and Saddam Hussein will not return to power.
In both Afghanistan and Iraq the remnants of the terrorist regimes, now joined by their ideological kindred from elsewhere, are still waging a vicious war, mostly against civilians. But neither country is a safe haven for terrorists plotting attacks against other nations, including the US.
To be sure, critics might say that the aim of the intervention was to transform Afghanistan and Iraq into modern democracies. While this is true any judgment as to the success or failure of the democratisation project must take into account the element of time. No, Afghanistan and Iraq are not Swiss-like democracies at this precise moment in time. Both may suffer years, if not decades, of violence and terror. The terrorists in Egypt fought for a quarter of a century. Turkey took almost 20 years to defeat its terrorists. In Algeria the terrorists fought for 12 years before they were crushed. Colombia has been fighting terrorists for 40 years and the Philippines for 30. Right now 22 nations across the globe suffer from the plague of terrorism as an almost daily fact of life.
The real question is not whether or not Afghanistan and Iraq have already become model democracies. The real question is whether or not they would have had any chance of even forming such a dream under Mullah Omar and Saddam. Anyone familiar with Afghanistan and Iraq would know the answers.