If we can't have democracy, then we'll settle for something a little less, uh, democratic

Looks like the American frontline is starting to go a little soft on the prospects for real democracy in Iraq. Said Brig. Gen. John "Mick" Bednarek (awesome name, btw):

"Democratic institutions are not necessarily the way ahead in the long-term future."

Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, commander of Task Force Lightning presents his goals for Iraq as follows:

"I would describe it as leaving an effective government behind that can provide services to its people, and security. It needs to be an effective and functioning government that is really a partner with the United States and the rest of the world in this fight against the terrorists."

These sentiments are considerably less grand than the Bush Administration's stated aim of the Iraqi invasion, something along the lines of a stable, sovereign and democratic state. Whether that's what they actually wanted is up for some discussion, but they're miles away from it in any case. In automotive terms, invading Iraq was like going out to buy a Ferrari and coming home with a Lada.

Even the top officials are a little sketchy on the whole democracy thing. U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Gen. David Petraeus added this cheery assessment:

"[We are] now engaged in pursuing less lofty and ambitious goals than was the case at the outset."

Hmmm. All of this begs the obvious question, if not democracy, then what? The answer, if history is anything to go by, will be some sort of autocracy supported by American military power. We've seen similar things in Iran, Chile, Guatemala, and Honduras, and we know how well that all turned out.

The Bush Administration-proudly overreaching their grasp since 2000.