Means to an end
David Warren draws a relevant comparison:
Mr Bush's commitment to spreading democracy was like Lincoln's commitment to extinguishing slavery -- not the key point, but necessary to the key point of recovering order. If Lincoln could have preserved the union, and it meant keeping slavery, he would have done that.
Ditto, if Mr Bush thought he could restore the status quo ante of a Middle East that was no threat to the West, without pushing democracy down anyone's throat, he would do that.
My time in Iraq proved to me the validity of Mark Steyn's words:
When history comes a-calling, you never have a choice between good or bad options. They're only between bad and much, much worse options.
Democracy and Islam my not be compatible, but until someone shows me a better, more realistic option I'll cast my lot with the Bush Doctrine.