So what happens if the United States sets up democratic institutions in Iraq and the Iraqi people elect somebody we really don't like — let's just say Muqtada al-Sadr (search)?
Do we say, "Hey, welcome to democracy. That's the guy you elected. We’ll buy your oil, we'll help you out, we'll press Mr. Sadr for constitutional protections of minorities his majority doesn't like... but there ya go, Mr. Sadr. Iraq is yours."
Or do we say, "No, we're not going to let you do that. You can't elect someone who won't protect minorities — in this case Kurds (search) and Sunnis (search) — who will maintain hostile relations with the United States, and maybe give protection and facilities to terrorists who would reach out to strike us."
What would we do?
Would we interfere with the good democracy that produced a bad result, Mr. Sadr?
Or would we say, "We accept the result as long as the process was clean?
This is going to be the big deal decision we're going to have to make down the road.
Ultimately, we won't be fighting in Iraq and the Iraqis are going to be voting.
The question is going to be... what are we going to do when a virulently anti-American Islamic mullah is properly and legitimately elected head of country we spent billions of dollars and hundreds of lives to save from the last oppressive dictator?
Huh? What are we going to do?
That's My Word.
What do you think? We'd like to hear from you, so send us your comments at email@example.com. Some of your e-mails will be featured on the air or on our site.
• Looking for previous My Word columns?