« How Much is Bush's War Worth to You? | Main | Is ENDA a bad idea? »

Beyond Naivete in the Middle East

from Andrew Sullivan:

"It is not hard to defeat Arab countries, but it is mostly useless. Violence can work to destroy dangerous weapons but not to induce desired changes in behavior," - Edward Luttwak, in one of his predictably stimulating essays.

Reading Luttwak, one is struck by the near-impossibility of getting "Iraq" to function as a normal society or country in any feasible time-frame. If we'd done it right, we'd still probably have needed 400,000 troops to keep order, and 20 years to build a real nation.

There's a truth here that is so big that the Little Man in the White House probably just doesn't get it. We went in and "defeated" the Iraqi army -- though I still say their vanishing act was pre-planned -- and we disposed of a dictator, but the result was certainly not victory. You might beat a man down for as long as you can keep your eye and your gun trained directly on him, but the minute you turn your back, he'll become your most bitter enemy.

The Iraqis didn't like Saddam, but what we've given them is much worse, and because we attempted to impose democracy at the point of a gun, all we've accomplished is to poison the minds of an entire nation against the concept of democracy and made the ravings of the mad mullahs a lot more attractive.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

  • Currently 3/5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rating: 3/5 (8 votes cast)


Comments (11)

Allen:

You're correct on that, as they have been fighting each others for many years, and our leaders aren't students of history, are they?

Also I see where Nancy's visit to Syria must have done some good as Condi is talking to them now. Do you think some puggies have egg on their face after calling the Speaker a traitor? If not, why aren't they calling Condi a traitor?

Just SPIN, that's all.

Heralder:

Allen:

Do you think some puggies have egg on their face after calling the Speaker a traitor?

No, read the Logan Act.

If not, why aren't they calling Condi a traitor?

Because she's the Secretary of State and carrying out the will and policy of the United States President.

Do you live in this country?

Peter F.:

...in any feasible time-frame.

What was "feasible time-frame" then for, say, German or Japan? Oh, about 60 years and counting. Naturually those first 10-20 were a real bitch because we had flatted German and nearly wiped Toyko off the map, but we did it. And now look at them.

I'm thoroughly convinced that the West in general suffers from ADHD and a need for near-instant gratification.

So if 20 years would work, why so quick to give up after just 4? Makes ZERO sense.

Um, Allen, meeting on the side of another meeting with a Syrian representative is a helluva LOT different than flying to Damascus and meeting face to face with an terrorist like Assad.

The Iraqis didn't like Saddam, but what we've given them is much worse...

The Kurds respectfully disagree with you.

to poison the minds of an entire nation against the concept of democracy...

What evidence have you of this? And please don't cite the pre-organized rally (one they couldn't have had under Saddam) in Najaf a few weeks ago. Show me the Iraqi poll that says "we hate democracy, we wish we never had it." Or one that wishes Saddam were still around.

I'll await your links to them patiently.

Heralder:

Paul, I'm coming to like your posts and your fairness. Here, however, we can end the thread with your headline and the first sentence:

Beyond Naivete in the Middle East from Andrew Sullivan:

Allen:

Heralder,
Yes, read the Logan Act. The speaker was briefed by the State Dept, had State Dept personnel with her all the time. The State Dept did not call her a traitor, just Cheney and Rove's people did that, and as a good SPIN master you are just following their lead.

And as the State Dept is part of the executive branch of the gov't, why then didn't the State Dept follow orders? Instead they helped her. Does make a person wonder.

Heralder:

The State Department and foreign embassies should brief any persons of the government traveling abroad.

Being that the only invocation of the Logan Act was in 1803, I doubt it would be a applied here or anywhere.

What she said was contrary to our policy...and you're telling me that our government chose her and not the Secretary of State to restructure our diplomatic relations with Syria?


Paul Hamilton:

Peter F said:
>>The Kurds respectfully disagree with you.

I'm sure you're right. The fact that the Kurds have gone their own way in the civil war is good evidence to me that the idea of "one Iraq" might be much too costly to achieve. Out of all Iraq, they are the one faction which has benefited, but their good news doesn't make what's happened in the rest of the country a success or even acceptable.

And if I might ask you a question I've asked of others before but never gotten an answer: How would you define "victory" in Iraq and how would you achieve it? What could we do in 20 years that we have not done in 4?

>>Show me the Iraqi poll that says "we hate democracy

I'll show you something more meaningful -- the fact that the Maliki government has virtually no support while those supporting the various warring factions has increased. Lawlessness has INCREASED as time has passed, not decreased. When things are so bad that the best solution we can come up with to the religious and political differences in Baghdad is to try to wall off one side from the other, it's pretty good evidence that the democratic process has utterly failed in favor of violence.

Paul Hamilton:

Thanks, Heralder. The compliments I value the most are the ones from those with whom I politically disagree. I really believe that if people would TALK to each other instead of yelling, we could make amazing progress in this country.

Peter F.:

I'll show you something more meaningful -- the fact that the Maliki government has virtually no support while those supporting the various warring factions has increased.

Site the news source(s) to support this statement; this sounds more like your opinion vs. fact. BTW, the gov't stood by Malaiki after the parliament a few weeks ago. It didn't fracture, and that's a very positive sign. Without backing how could he make his Reconciliation trips into the Anabar province and other Sunni sections off Baghdad without gov't support or those trips at least viewed positively by all 3 tribes represented in the Iraqi Parliament?

Lawlessness has INCREASED as time has passed, not decreased.

Are you trying to say lawlessness and sectarian violence are the same thing? They are decidedly not the same things. And per Gen. Patraeus, sectarian violence has dropped since the Baghdad Security Plan (aka: "the surge") went into affect just over 2 months ago. If, however, you're referring to general lawlessless (robbings, kidnappings, etc.) those have also dropped in Baghdad since the BSP; outside of Baghdad, where the likes of AIQ have scattered to, yes, general lawlessness (better word: terrorism) has increased.

I agree, it's not good to have walls between people; but the perception of both the Malaiki gov't, the Sunni and westerns was not to seal them off but to protect them Shiite militia attacks. (It's all a rather moot point anyway, now that the wall is being de-constructed.)

Peter F.:

Pardon, the wall IS going back up. Malaiki re-initiated the project after learning the benefits in saving lives the wall would have. Protests against the wall were organized by al Qaeda in Iraq, per military reports.

Paul Hamilton:

Peter F. asked:
>>Are you trying to say lawlessness and sectarian violence are the same thing?

I'm saying the two go hand in hand. Sectarian violence *is* lawlessness and other lawlessness is the direct result of the violence which has paralyzed the Baghdad government.

And that Baghdad wall is just as much a symbol of political failure as the one in Berlin was.


Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Advertisments

Categories

Archives

Technorati



Add to Technorati Favorites

Credits

Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

All original content copyright © 2007 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark. Wizbang Blue™ is a trademark of Wizbang®, LLC.

Powered by Movable Type 3.35

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.