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Some challenges to Dr Pipes' ideas

Reader comment on item: Tempering Ambitions [in Iraq]

Submitted by Stuart Fagin (United States), Nov 12, 2006 at 09:43

I appreciate the arguments Dr. Pipes make but would present these challenges to them;

(1) Therefore: Iraq needs - and I write these words with some trepidation - a democratically-minded Iraqi strongman. This may sound like a contradiction, but it has happened elsewhere, for example by Atatürk in Turkey and Chiang Kai-shek in Taiwan. (April 28, 2003 - A Strongman for Iraq)

Our presence in post-Saddam Iraq could only be understandable to (and supportable by) the American people as a project to establish democracy in Iraq. Had we adopted Dr. Pipes' plan of selecting a reasonably popular Iraqi as strongman head of state (albeit as a longer term transition to democracy) we would have been judged as installing our own dictator to replace Sadam; in essence a Quisling. The elections are the only possible basis for our assertion that we are not an occupying force; that our military presence is by the consent of the host country population; just as it is in Germany, Japan and South Korea. Absent such an argument the American people would not support a military presence in Iraq and through its representatives would cut off funding for such. Think back on how little legitimacy the Alawi government was thought to have

(2) Transfer some seed money and station coalition forces in the deserts with a clearly defined mandate—defend Iraq's international borders, ensure the security of oil and gas exports, search for Saddam Hussein and his henchmen, prevent large-scale atrocities.

I had also thought this should be our plan ; that our military should be sequestered into safe strong points with the limited mission of preventing invasion or foreign-inspired coup. I believe otherwise now. Without our military presence in-country the murderous Sunni and Shia militias would greatly intensify the current carnage. Ultimately the Irani supported militias would prevail. Iraqi Shia leaders resisting the Irani-backed militias would be murdered. Other Shia leaders would soon arrive at an accommodation. Do not the actions of Maliki in protecting the al-Sadr militias from the coalition military portend this result? Although an al-Sadr led government might not be an Irani puppet, it would almost certainly evolve into a full-fledged terrorist-supporting state and we would be told to leave the country. If all this comes to pass it would seem the Iraqi enterprise had accomplished little.

(3) Talk of a "free and prosperous" Iraq serving as a regional model foisted ambitions on Iraqis that they—just emerging from a thirty-year totalitarian nightmare, saddled with extremist ideologies, deep ethnic divisions and predatory neighbors—could not fulfill

Dr. Pipes stresses the factors intrinsic to Iraqi culture as the basis for the present unrest. Do not factors extrinsic to Iraq, namely the Iranian and Syrian wholesale support of insurgent militias, provide a more important basis? How would the insurgency fare if such support did not exist? Also, can we infer from the fact that those Iraqi political parties whose policy was to insist on the immediate evacuation of coalition troops fared so poorly in the elections? Or that polls regularly indicate widespread Iraqi support for democracy? Perhaps the Iraqi cultural repulsion towards democracy is not so dominant. Finally, why is there so little public outrage directed at Iran and Syria for their undermining of a nascent democracy through their arming, funding and promotion of the insurgencies?


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Reader comments (46) on this item

Title Commenter Date Thread
Success in Iraq [161 words]stranchanMay 26, 2012 02:38195842
Iraq in 10 years from now [95 words]sevillaMay 11, 2012 04:30195551
Iraq after withdrawal [66 words]KeralaApr 19, 2012 00:40195188
Question for Dr. Pipes regarding Green zone in Baghdad [227 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
American MuslimDec 3, 2006 00:5868093
Militarily we already won.. but politically? [260 words]AndrewNov 15, 2006 20:4766260
Two Postscripts [95 words]Susan WalkerNov 14, 2006 06:2966070
Kurds and Sunnis [48 words]JayNov 13, 2006 23:2466050
In War: Resolution [263 words]JackdawNov 13, 2006 22:4466047
When We Lost the Battle of Iraq [266 words]Douglas BoggsNov 13, 2006 22:0266043
Goals according to Bush + BEWARE OF SPIN! [193 words]MelMNov 13, 2006 18:4866035
Correct Strategy for Iraq [176 words]Chris ChrismanNov 13, 2006 13:0065999
It Is What It Is [65 words]Jeffrey BradleyNov 12, 2006 23:0065958
Pulling out. [143 words]John RNov 12, 2006 22:3065957
I respectfully disagree. [116 words]John PhilipsNov 12, 2006 22:0465955
National Schizophrenia & Political Paralysis [500 words]AbijahNov 12, 2006 18:2465946
A Caveat [49 words]Richard WittrupNov 12, 2006 17:5665942
Am I the Only Bush Defender? [90 words]lindaNov 15, 2006 17:0265942
You're not alone. [194 words]Kevin MNov 16, 2006 11:5565942
Dare to Be Different [239 words]lindaNov 16, 2006 19:3765942
America's successes or failures in Iraq [276 words]Maurice PicowNov 12, 2006 14:3665926
Iraq [168 words]A. MaranoNov 12, 2006 22:2365926
WOW! [224 words]BlackspeareNov 12, 2006 10:0765912
Some challenges to Dr Pipes' ideas [549 words]Stuart FaginNov 12, 2006 09:4365910
Hold the Fort [489 words]K.H. AhmedNov 12, 2006 08:3665907
ratchet down [133 words]Yuval Brandstetter MDNov 12, 2006 07:4965904
Our Understanding of Iraq [314 words]Leonard MarkowitzNov 12, 2006 05:5865901
West point has not, but Israel certainly had [237 words]
w/response from Daniel Pipes
Yuval Brandstetter MDNov 14, 2006 07:4665901
The Failure of the Bush Doctrine [455 words]Prof. Paul EidelbergNov 12, 2006 01:5865892
Purple Hearts & Defense of Rumsfeld [605 words]lindaNov 11, 2006 22:3965880
Success in Iraq [177 words]Peter NamtvedtNov 11, 2006 21:1065863
We Tried, We Failed [1188 words]J.A. MorrisNov 11, 2006 20:5965861
"We swear we will not rest from our jihad... before blowing up the filthiest house, dubbed the White House," [544 words]FreemanNov 11, 2006 20:5565860
Is this Victory? and Tempering Ambitions [101 words]John LothNov 11, 2006 20:5065858
VICTORY AT ALL COSTS [472 words]JackdawNov 11, 2006 17:5565844
response to your comments [141 words]TinaNov 11, 2006 20:4865844
You are 100000 % correct ! US must crush these Islamist Terrorists ruthlessly [130 words]MahatmaNov 11, 2006 21:1565844
Cultural transfiguration [244 words]David W. LincolnNov 11, 2006 17:0665840
comment on your comment [128 words]TinaNov 11, 2006 20:3765840
All the seven accused in July 11 Terror Attacks are Muslims [151 words]RamanNov 11, 2006 21:3565840
Evaluating societies [158 words]David W. LincolnNov 12, 2006 17:0865840
Point of Clarification [194 words]David W. LincolnNov 12, 2006 17:2065840
Don't give up [162 words]Octavio JohansonNov 11, 2006 16:4065837
you're not up on the news [104 words]TinaNov 11, 2006 20:2965837
Bajaur madrassa trained suicide bombers: Musharraf ( An honest confession of an Islamist ) [301 words]LeaderNov 11, 2006 21:2065837
A perfect exit stategy, unlike Vietnam: Jacobs Ladder comes of age [53 words]Mark-Alan WhittleNov 11, 2006 15:2965831
depressing [261 words]TinaNov 11, 2006 15:1265830

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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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