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Lessons not learned

Reader comment on item: Limping away from a Shattered Iraq

Submitted by Barry Goldberg (United States), Jul 9, 2009 at 11:14

With great sadness, we see eye to eye. The lessons learned in Vietnam and Afghanistan (vis-a-vis the Taliban and Russians) have long been forgotten. Institutional memory is only as long as those who were around at the beginning or in the early stages, and remain in a position to learn, teach, and insure that we do not fail in the same way(s) more than once. As Karl Marx is reported to have said, "Those who do not remember history are condemned to repeat it: the first time as tragedy, the second as farce." Of course, it wll always be a tragedy for the victims, living and dead. If history has taught us anything it is this:

* It is impossible to win a political war.
* Democracy cannot be forced upon an unwilling people.
* Democracy cannot be magically instituted where there is no political, cultural, and/or economic infrastructure to support it.
* In the world of Realpolitiks, as cynical as it may sound, we are better off with a friendly dictatorship than with a splintered and hostile democracy.

Warmly,
Barry Goldberg

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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