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When We Lost the Battle of Iraq

Reader comment on item: Tempering Ambitions [in Iraq]

Submitted by Douglas Boggs (United States), Nov 13, 2006 at 22:02

We achieved a limited victory when we overthrew Saddam, of course. But the current unrealistic goal of a democratic governent in Iraq was lost when we failed to insist on a constitutional religious protection for minorities and separation of mosque and state. Democracy, as the Palestinians have found, does not function simply by majority rule, but must be accompanied by constitutional protections--a rule of law. Since we are at war with Islamists, it was obvious a couple of years ago that the constitution of Iraq would set the stage for a disaster. There was no groundwork to insure against the rise of Islamism.

There is another factor at play here. They are Arabs. Recall the scene in Lawrence of Arabis when the combined British and Arabic forces took Damascus. The British officers withdrew to their quarters while the Arabs, perhaps a couple hundred of them, conferenced about running the city's utilities and other essentials. They had no engineers nor people competent in such matters among them. It was a chaotic scene of rancor and high-pitched yelling at each other. Then the British officers. watching out their window, observed the Arabs leaving the city, nothing resolved, leaving the British alone.

I realize it may be a stretch to generalize about Arabs, having lived in the casbah of Tangier, Morocco in 1962 while neighboring Algeria was still unsettled from the effects of her war, and today's Iraqis, but my opinion of Arabs from that experience leaves me little or no confidence that they can run much of anything that requires compromise, including a democracy.

Douglas Boggs, Kansas City

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