George Will, a prominent conservative columnist, declared Thursday that the "axis of evil" that President Bush coined in 2002 -- Iran, Iraq and North Korea -- is more dangerous than they were when President Bush first uttered the phrase.
"Almost three years after the invasion, it is still not certain whether, or in what sense, Iraq is a nation," Will writes. "And after two elections and a referendum on the constitution, Iraq barely has a government. A defining attribute of a government is that it has a monopoly on the legitimate exercise of violence. That attribute is incompatible with the existence of private militias of the sort that maraud in Iraq."
"Today, with all three components of the "axis of evil'' -- Iraq, Iran, North Korea -- more dangerous than they were when that phrase was coined in 2002, the country would welcome, and Iraq's political class needs to hear, as a glimpse into the abyss, presidential words as realistic as those Britain heard on June 4, 1940."
"After Iraqis voted in December for sectarian politics, an observer said Iraq had conducted not an election but a census," Will adds. "Now America's heroic ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, one of two indispensable men in Iraq, has warned the Iraqi political class that unless the defense and interior ministries are nonsectarian, meaning not run as instruments of the Shiites, the U.S. will have to reconsider its support for Iraq's military and police. But that threat is not credible: U.S. strategy in Iraq by now involves little more than making the Iraqi military and police competent. As the president said last week: "Our strategy in Iraq is as the Iraqis stand up, we'll stand down.''