magic moose wrote: !!! The conclusion I get is different. Not that "it worked", but that we might have saved lives and our reputation in Iraq by taking the current approach to undermining exploitative regimes .
The problem with mind-altering, historical earthquakes is that they rarely actually alter any minds. People find a way to spin the lessons in such a way to re-enforce the opinions they already hold. Reflection occurs much later, grudgingly.
I agree with your point that an Egypt-like revolt might have happened in Iraq if we left it alone. Then again, maybe not, different circumstances (especially that Egypt is more ethnically homogenous.) For sure, what happened in Egypt has a great advantage over the birth of democracy in Iraq, it carries more weight in the hearts of the people.
It is possible that the fledgling democracy in Iraq, along with Obama's speech in Cairo, encouraged people's hopes in Egypt. It's also an undeniably positive sign that the people in Iraq have evidently accepted that they already have democracy, they aren't joining other Arabs in the streets in demanding it.