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One must know the rules before one plays the game

Reader comment on item: In Iraq, Stay the Course - but Change It

Submitted by Rick (United States), Oct 24, 2006 at 15:25

The US is clueless when it comes to Arabs and Muslims. They shouldn't be but they unfortunately are. Being clueless seems to be a national trait. We learnt nothing from the defeat of the French in Vietnam in 1954 and went in with no idea what we were getting into. I suppose good ole' American "can-do" is the apparent solution for everything. That doesn't work in the Middle East in the long term.

First rule is the United States has no friends among any of the Arab nations and that includes our so called allies like Egypt or Jordan or Saudi Arabia. These allies only want one thing from us- money. Ideas, principles, human rights, democracy, etc. are meaningless concepts. And that is our allies point of view. All the others simply hate us - but still want out money.

Another rule is that the "people" of these nations are no better than their leaders and sometimes much worse. Islamic nations have priorities that are in direct contradiction to American values. We aren't going to change them. Better to understand that before you attempt a "dialogue".

A third rule and one that is critical is that one doesn't put an army in a police or patrol mode in any Arab nation. If you must send in an army you wage war, destroy the enemy and leave. The longer you stay the worse it will get. The US Army did a great job at first. We made mistakes like not punishing the pro-Saddam Sunnis immediately. The prison horrors - with photos - which did much to defame the US were all unneccessary because the US shouldn't have been in the prison business in the first place.

The ideas expressed in the article changing the course sound good but here is what will happen. The Iraqi army will come to view the US forces out there in the desert as the real enemy. There will be a popular "democractic" demand to go to the desert and drive the American occupiers out. The Iraqi forces we trained will attack us. Oh, another rule I forgot is that Arabs are an ungrateful people especially to Westerners. And that ingratitude will translate into a sort of new Iraqi "nationalism" which sees the Americans as the real problem. I could even write a speech for the Iraqis who want to fight the Americans - "They destroyed our cities and our culture and now are sitting in the desert stealing our oil which is the reason they came here in the first place. To be Irawqagain we must throw the Americnas out! Allah akbar!"

The solution? One doesn't need an army to dispatch killers. Next time send killers and not an army to remove killers. Terrorists do not deserve to face an American army. Terrorists should only face those like them or who at least understand the rules.

Submitting....

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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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