ANTI-DEMOCRATIC TRANSFORMATION. Following on Doctor Robert's post, while I agree with Rob's statement that "the strategy of allying with Sunni tribes amounts to a renunciation of U.S. state-building aims in Iraq," I'd also add that recent developments in President Bush's Middle East policy, most notably the $65 billion in arms going to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, amount to a renunciation of Bush's entire program of democratic transformation in the region, and a reversion to "realist" policies of the past. Bush is now primarily concerned with mitigating the terrible consequences of his own bad judgment and incompetence in Iraq, so freedom will have to wait. Bush will no doubt continue to talk about Arab democratic reform, just as he will talk about a united Iraq, while implementing policies that undermine both.

--Matthew Duss