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Offlinewingnutx
Registered: 09/25/00
Posts: 2,268
Last seen: 6 years, 3 months
Put the Iraqis in Charge
    #1862514 - 08/29/03 01:40 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Put the Iraqis in Charge
Why Iraq is proving much tougher than Afghanistan.

BY BERNARD LEWIS
Friday, August 29, 2003 12:01 a.m.

At first sight one would have expected that Afghanistan would be difficult, Iraq easy. In the one country, we ousted a religious regime, which had the prestige of having liberated the country from the plague of warlordism; in the other, we overthrew a universally detested Fascist-type tyranny. Afghanistan is a remote, mountainous country, with poor and difficult communications; Iraq consists largely of flat river valleys with quick and easy communication. Afghanistan has a strong tradition of regional independence and limited experience of central control; Iraq has known millennia of centralized government, run by a sophisticated and ramified bureaucracy. For these and other reasons, one might have expected that running Afghanistan would be difficult, running Iraq comparatively easy. In fact, the reverse has occurred. In Afghanistan, at first, things did indeed go badly, and there are still problems, both in the country and in the government, but they are manageable. Today with minimal help from the U.S., a central government is gradually extending its political and financial control to the rest of the country and dealing more and more effectively with the problem of the maintenance of order; in Iraq, after an easy and almost unresisted conquest, the situation seems to grow worse from day to day. While the Afghans are building a new infrastructure, Iraqis--or others acting in their name--are busy destroying theirs.
Why this contrast? America's enemies are the same in both places, with the same objectives. The main difference is that in Afghanistan there is an Afghan government, while in Iraq there is an American administration, and the cry of "American imperialism" is being repeated on many sides. Even the most cursory examination will reveal that this charge is ludicrously inept. America has neither the desire nor the skill nor--perhaps most important--the need to play an imperial role in Iraq. But the accusation--and its resonant echoes in the Western and even in the American media--serve a very useful purpose for those whose complaints and purposes against America are in reality quite different.





These anti-American forces fall basically into two groups. The first, and in the long run the more important, come from the camp of al Qaeda and related religious movements. For them, America is now the leader of Christendom, the ultimate enemy in the millennial struggle which they hope to bring, in their own time, to a victorious conclusion. In the writings and speeches of Osama bin Laden and of his allies and disciples, hatred of America is less significant than contempt--the perception that America is a "paper tiger," that its people have become soft and pampered--"hit them and they will run." This perception was bolstered by frequent references to Vietnam, Beirut and Somalia, as well as to the feeble response to subsequent terrorist attacks in the 1990s, notably on the USS Cole and on the embassies in East Africa. It was this perception which undoubtedly underlay the events of Sept. 11, clearly intended to be the opening barrage of a new war against the Americans on their home ground.

The response to this attack, and notably the operations in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, brought a rude awakening, and that is surely why there have been no subsequent attacks on U.S. soil. But the perception has not entirely disappeared, and has been revived by a number of subsequent developments and utterances. Compunction--unwillingness to inflict as well as to suffer casualties--is meaningless to those who have no hesitation in slaughtering hundreds, even thousands, of their own people, in order to kill a few enemies. Open debate is obviously meaningless to those whose only experience of government is ruthless autocracy. What they think they see is division and fear--and these encourage a return to their earlier perception of American degeneracy. Such a return could have dangerous consequences, including a renewal and extension of terrorist attacks in America. By terrorist attacks, they believe, they will encourage those whose response is to say, "Let's get out of here"--perhaps even procure the election of a new administration dedicated to this policy.

The other factor of anti-Americanism has quite a different origin, though there are areas of overlap. During the last few months the fear has often been expressed in Europe and America that democracy cannot succeed in Iraq. There is another, greater, and more urgent fear in the region--that it will succeed in Iraq, and this could become a mortal threat to the tyrants who rule most of the Middle East. An open and democratic regime in Iraq, inevitably with a Shiite majority, could arouse new hopes among the oppressed peoples of the region, and offer a corresponding threat to their oppressors. One of these regimes, that of Iran, purports to be Islamic, and was indeed so in its origins, though it has become yet another corrupt tyranny.

Some of these regimes are officially classified as our friends and allies, and dealing with them presents a number of problems. There are no such problems in dealing with Iran, an avowed enemy, and undoubtedly a major force behind the troubles in Iraq, in Palestine and elsewhere. Some have argued that the remedy is to "build bridges" to the present regime in Iran. Even if successful, the best that such a diplomacy could accomplish would be to establish the same kind of friendship with Iran as we have with Saudi Arabia--hardly model. More realistically, such overtures could certainly achieve two immediate results--to earn the contempt of the government and the mistrust of the people. The calculation of the present regime in Iran is well known, and dates back to the first Gulf War. If Saddam Hussein had possessed nuclear weapons, the Americans would have left him alone, and he would have kept Kuwait and probably other places too. It was then that the mullahs decided that they must have these weapons, which would enable them to enjoy the same kind of immunity as North Korea. They are working desperately to that end, and the Middle East situation will take a significant turn for the worse if they are given the time to achieve it. Opinions may differ on how to handle them, but surely the worst of all options is the line of submissiveness, which can only strengthen the perception of American weakness.





What then should we do in Iraq? Clearly the imperial role is impossible, blocked equally by moral and psychological constraints, and by international and more especially domestic political calculations. An inept, indecisive imperialism is the worst of all options, with the possible exception of subjecting Iraq to the tangled but ferocious politics of the U.N. The best course surely is the one that is working in Afghanistan--to hand over, as soon as possible, to a genuine Iraqi government. In Iraq as in Afghanistan, a period of discreet support would be necessary, but the task would probably be easier in Iraq. Here again care must be taken. Premature democratization--holding elections and transferring power, in a country which has had no experience of such things for decades, can only lead to disaster, as in Algeria. Democracy is the best and therefore the most difficult of all forms of government. The Iraqis certainly have the capacity to develop democratic institutions, but they must do so in their own way, at their own pace. This can only be done by an Iraqi government.
Fortunately, the nucleus of such a government is already available, in the Iraqi National Congress, headed by Ahmad Chalabi. In the northern free zone during the '90s they played a constructive role, and might at that time even have achieved the liberation of Iraq had we not failed at crucial moments to support them. Despite a continuing lack of support amounting at times to sabotage, they continue to acquit themselves well in Iraq, and there can be no reasonable doubt that of all the possible Iraqi candidates they are the best in terms alike of experience, reliability, and good will. It took years, not months, to create democracies in the former Axis countries, and this was achieved in the final analysis not by Americans but by people in those countries, with American encouragement, help and support. Ahmad Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress deserve no less.

Mr. Lewis, professor emeritus of Near Eastern studies at Princeton, is the author, most recently, of "What Went Wrong? Western Impact and Middle Eastern Response" (Oxford, 2002).


http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature.html?id=110003937


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Offlineshakta
Infidel
Registered: 06/03/03
Posts: 2,633
Last seen: 13 years, 5 months
Re: Put the Iraqis in Charge [Re: wingnutx]
    #1862642 - 08/29/03 02:26 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Nice article. I agree with him, and I think creating an Iraqi interim authority is a very good idea.


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Put the Iraqis in Charge [Re: wingnutx]
    #1862821 - 08/29/03 03:15 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Who is this joker?

The situation in Afghanistan is anarchy and chaos with the "government" only in charge of Kabul. The moment the americans pull out the puppet regime is doomed and the savage warlords will be back to civil war.


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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Offlinewingnutx
Registered: 09/25/00
Posts: 2,268
Last seen: 6 years, 3 months
Re: Put the Iraqis in Charge [Re: Xlea321]
    #1862904 - 08/29/03 03:46 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

That's why we aren't pulling out yet.

Your dad should have, though.

;P


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Offlineshakta
Infidel
Registered: 06/03/03
Posts: 2,633
Last seen: 13 years, 5 months
Re: Put the Iraqis in Charge [Re: Xlea321]
    #1862912 - 08/29/03 03:48 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

It is getting better all the time in Afghanistan. An inernational force is now helping get the place together.


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Invisibleluvdemshrooms
Two inch dick..but it spins!?


Registered: 11/29/01
Posts: 34,234
Loc: Lost In Space
Re: Put the Iraqis in Charge [Re: wingnutx]
    #1862919 - 08/29/03 03:50 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

Quote:

Your dad should have, though.



Sweet!


--------------------
You cannot legislate the poor into prosperity by legislating the wealthy out of prosperity. What one person receives without working for another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for that my dear friend is the beginning of the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it. ~ Adrian Rogers


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Offlinewingnutx
Registered: 09/25/00
Posts: 2,268
Last seen: 6 years, 3 months
Re: Put the Iraqis in Charge [Re: Xlea321]
    #1862929 - 08/29/03 03:54 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

I apologize for that, but I just couldn't waste such a good setup.


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InvisibleXlea321
Stranger
Registered: 02/26/01
Posts: 9,134
Re: Put the Iraqis in Charge [Re: wingnutx]
    #1863027 - 08/29/03 04:30 PM (14 years, 1 month ago)

How cheeky of you wing!  :laugh:


--------------------
Don't worry, B. Caapi


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