But as smoke clears over Baghdad, here's the part that worries me: Are we emphasizing the right reasons for going to Iraq? I believe there was good reason for what we did. Saddam posed a grave threat to this country and had to be disarmed.
But all of this talk lately about how this may be a part of a larger effort to remake that part of the world leaves me a little uneasy, mainly because it only fuels the hatred for us there.
And make no mistake; it is real hatred. Not many will miss the maniac Saddam. But there is always a natural resentment to powerful outsiders, and we are the ultimate powerful outsider.
And there is resentment because some are convinced we came there for the oil. And, as it always is, because some believe Israel is somehow behind all of this.
The way to counter this, it seems to me, is obvious. Bring in as many nations as possible to help restore order and share in helping to rebuild Iraq. Then we must leave as quickly as we came. That won't take away from our victory, but enhance it.
We scored a spectacular success in Iraq, but real security will depend on what comes next. If we want to take down the barricades and metal detectors and stop undressing at the airport, we must rebuild our traditional alliances and convince the Arab world they have no reason to hate us.
Getting out of Iraq may be as important to our long-term security as going in was.