So ... supposing that the Iraqis are well led by their new democratic government, and supposing that new economic freedom allows Iraq to prosper as it should. In only a very few years, Iraq will be the economically and culturally strongest nation in the region. They will be the pride of the middle east.
Do you think they'll be our friends?
And the corrollary is, if Bush is still in power and neocons rule foreign policy, how do you think we will react if the answer to Card's question is "No." ? Therein lies the difference between neocons and neo-wilsonians that I've repeated many times - while both foreign policy philosophies share the goal of democratization, neocons want the end product to be a client state, straight from the Cold War playbook. Whereas neowilsonians (neowilsons for short) want teh end profduct to be an independent state.
Lets put it this way. Suppose Iraq turns out to be France.
This is why the argument that "liberation is sufficient" is so disingenious. In fact, you can be liberated but not achieve democracy (for example, the Taliban were welcomed into power as liberators). And you can achieve democracy but not actually be independent (as Turkey found out, it will cost you if you don't relinquish some sovereignity to the United States should we demand it). Any prospective Palestinian state that is eventually created will also be a good example of this.
The truth is that liberation is neither necessary nor sufficient a condition of going to war. Neither is democracy. But a liberated, independent democracy (definition: nation-building) is a necessary rationale. But still not sufficient.
What makes a rationale sufficient for going to war is our own self-interest. Some argue that the iraq war serves that self-interest - well, it's a gamble at best. There may yet be a theocracy phase in Iraq, and the harder our Coalition forces try to prevent its rise the more certain it will be. The example of World War II is the better example, because the self-interest was not a gamble but a hard reality.