I want to clarify something

Tuesday, November 21, 2006
In the last few posts done here about Iraq there is a been a discussion about Iraqiphobia,otherwise known as the rats deserting what they perceive as a sinking ship.

Or are they? Do they just want a change in Baghdad?

The vast majority of the Iraqi people do support their government, but will they support the head of state if he does not provide them with the security he promised? Or will they lose faith in him and replace him with another leader who is more interested in keeping his word than he is in sustaining his coalition? I think that perhaps what we are doing here is conflating Maliki with Arab democracy. In our own history our first attempt at self rule was a failure, because of the weakness of our central authority. However, since it was the influential men of the individual colonies who brought about the Revolution, the colonies were initially seen as distinct and seperate. When Thomas Jefferson opined about his country, he was talking about Virginia.

My Congressman is now Brad Ellsworth. I did not vote for him, but enough other people did and so he won. The system did not fail. The other guy just got more votes. And that is what has to happen in Iraq before we can know that representative government there will fail or succeed.

The point I am making here is that until and unless the Iraqi people are allowed to develop political parties that are based on something other than the ancient and traditional tribal and religious power structures we will see these kinds of weaknesses. And only failure of the old will bring about the new.

This is why I think we must stay. The only way to assure a peaceful transfer of power and the only way to make sure that a new election does and can take place is for the Coalition to stay there while the Iraqis learn from their mistakes.

I do not think Bush has gone wobbly in Iraq. I think the dire predictions about the Iraq Study Group are premature. I do think that certain political realities have to be ackowledged however, and that it might be necessary to make some changes in tactics to stem the violence in Baghdad. If we are to succeed we have to produce a policy that both parties can agree on. I don't have a lot of faith in the Democrats, especially the old guard leaders like Pelosi, but this fight is not just about Bush. It will go on long after he returns to Texas and if we hope to succeed in the long term we need to create a policy that both parties can agree to, at least in broad terms. I think that is the purpose of the Iraq Study Group. It might be nonsense, it might backfire, it might be a waste of time. But I think we are jumping the gun here, assuming that it is surrender or that it is a sign that Bush has gone wobbly.

Maybe he has, but it seems to me that Bush's nature is not the wobbly sort.

And it seems to me that Arab democracy, if it can be achieved at all will not be a quick fix, but a generational endeavor and time is not on our side.


Bostonian said...

I agree entirely.

There are those (left and right) who do not need to give the Iraqis any time, because they already "know" what the outcome will be. I say that is a most illiberal point of view.

And when the writers of our Constitution sat down to the job, they were not disinterested, benevolent folk. They were hammering out a real compromise among themselves. They wanted as much as they could get for their own states; it turns out that they found a way to share the power.

I don't see why that thought process should be the sole province of people with European backgrounds.

Knucklehead said...

I've made my lengthy comment below in the Iraqiphobia/Krauthammer thread.

I've mentioned many times before that I tend to vacilate between

- we must make the effort to help those poor souls trapped in the Islamic world break free and find some way to join the modern world. It may be futile but it is the right thing to do. There's no need to rush Armageddon because it is only a few hours away any time we wish to make it happen.

and the other extreme:

- saving them is impossible, Armageddon is inevitable, don't give the bastards the free first shot, nuke 'em now and get on with the cleanup.

When I am in the darkness of the "inevitable" extreme I look out and see things like the fact that no nation in the world is willing to help avoid Armegeddon. Americans were willing to make a brief effort but we're not willing to sustain the effort. We just don't have the attention span and patience. We want to move on, go shopping, pay the bills later.

We live in a democracy. Once a strong majority has decomitted we'll stop fighting the battle. At least temporarily. Once we stop nobody else will take it up. Pope Benedict arrived 10 years too late to manage to energize Europe in time.

We are going to disengage and pretend to remain disengaged until such time as the salafists force the issue.

Fresh Air said...

The Iraqi project is a noble undertaking. It's worth a try because the failure to do something about Islamofascism now only ensures that it will cause huge problems down the road.

Muslims will be nearly half the world's population by mid-century. They need to be part of democracies or at least led by benevolent, non-violent monarchs or the threat of state-based/sponsored terror will lead to an epoch conflagration.

Bush's approach is actually the sanest, most humane way to deal with the oncoming train. If it works he will be on a coin some day.

terrye said...

Well I read the other day that several Bush administration people went to Iraq and told Maliki to get it together. He said it would be political suicide if he tried to take on all the militias. They need to make him understand it is political suicide if he does not.

Meanwhile there are a lot of people over here who think they have all the answers and of course they don't. There is a lot we don't know. The latest bogey man is Baker and to be truthful I think the attacks on him are unfair. I know it is old fashioned of me, but I like to wait until I actually know what is going before I pass judgment. silly me.

Today Roger Simon said that Bush needed to get a clue about Syria and it pissed me off. No offence but who has spent more time in the last few years dealing with real life bad guys? Simon or Bush?

Syl said...

Does anybody else notice the striking parallel between Iraq and Lebanon?

Sunni and Christian minority, shia majority, interference from Syria and Iran in hopes of having major influence in the respective governments.

These two countries demonstrate the birthing pangs of two young democracies in the Arab world.

If America should give up on the Iraqi people, the Lebanese will have no hope, no chance. Right now Lebanon has only hope and the UN to hold it together.

Knucklehead said...


Right now Lebanon has only hope and the UN to hold it together.

And hope is the far stronger and more reliable of the two. The UN - the "international community" is useless. Worse than useless.

If the US doesn't do it nobody will. And I see little evidence that the US (My Fellow Citizens) has the stomach to do it.

truepeers said...

We need to remember that there is no such thing as a stable social order. All forms of society or culture are unstable. The ones that succeed in the long run are the ones that have a way of recycling the desire and resentment they create back into their system.

Islam has had its way of recycling its resentments. Big man government had meant a continual series of big men coming to power, being overthrown by fundamentalist idealists who soon devolve into big man government, and so on, with many excess male bodies churned under. And Islam has had global conquest as its other outlet for the resentment in generates internally.

But today Islam has trouble expanding because it is a hopeless force in the global economy and so the cycle of big man governments becomes ever more unstable and their tendency to entertain the craziest fundamentalists and apocalyptic visions for the rest of the world grows accordingly.

We will either inject some imperative to change in democratic directions into this cycle or it will blow up and take a lot with it. Whether or not Islam is compatible with democracy is not really the question. Today's Islam is not, by and large. The question is whether Islam has to be totally destroyed before democracy can come to the ME, or whether some elements of democracy can be introduced to erode Islam from within until we get to some new world where "Islam" is not what it used to be.