The Bush Doctrine’s Next Test
On March 14, at about the same time Western antiwar groups were organizing their annual spring demonstrations against American efforts in the Middle East, nearly a million Lebanese, including Sunni Muslims, Druze, and Christians, took to the streets of Beirut. Unlike the unhappy and despairing Westerners marching in the large cities of Europe and the United States over the last three years, the cheerful and idealistic Lebanese were not bearing placards of George W. Bush made to look like Adolph Hitler. Nor did they shout condemnations of the “Zionist entity.”
Instead, at some risk to themselves, the demonstrators in Beirut demanded the withdrawal of Syrian troops and the creation of a legitimate government in an independent Lebanon. In this brave effort, they were following in the footsteps of an earlier, spontaneous Lebanese protest over the February 14 assassination, almost certainly at the order of Damascus, of Rafik al-Hariri, the country’s former prime minister. In sheer numbers, their March 14 outpouring dwarfed not only that February demonstration but a much publicized, Syrian-sponsored turnout by supporters of Hizballah just a week before.
About the Author
Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His “Re-rethinking Iraq: Nothing Succeeds Like Success” appeared in the April COMMENTARY.