May 8, 2003
To give you an idea of Bush's reverence for democracy in Iraq's neighborhood, consider the case of Turkey.
During the lead up to the Iraq War, remember, the United States was putting all kinds of pressure on the newly elected Turkish government to let the United States use Turkey as a staging area.
But there was one little problem. The people of Turkey didn't want the U.S. to use their land to open up a northern front against Iraq. About 90 percent of the Turkish population opposed the plan.
And so, the Turkish parliament narrowly voted down the request. The Bush Administration was apoplectic.
How dare those impertinent legislators defy us?
Using ham-handed diplomacy, Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, gave a thinly veiled hint that he'd go over the heads of the Turkish parliament and straight to the Turkish military, which has an unsavory history of overthrowing democratically elected governments.
But the Turkish military, to the surprise of Washington, sided with the parliament and stood down.
Wolfowitz is still pissed about this.
On May 6, Wolfowitz told CNN-Turk that the Turkish military "did not play the strong leadership role that we would have expected."
Leadership role in squashing democracy?
Wolfowitz also demanded that Turkey apologize for not going along with the war, and told the Turks to "figure out how [to] be as helpful as possible to the Americans."
This is from the man who says the invasion of Iraq will have a demonstration effect on the whole region.
But what Wolfowitz has been demonstrating is utter contempt for any democracy that doesn't do exactly what he wants it to do.