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Once Again, False Advertising

Reader comment on item: A Strongman for Iraq?

Submitted by Mark (United States), May 1, 2003 at 00:14

...As it turned out, the victory was not nearly as painless as the neoconservatives advertised. However, it was also not as horrible as some who opposed the war feared it could be (we can all be thankful for that). Most who opposed the war realized the obvious. The Iraqi military was no match for the US military. We were going to eventually win. The questions were what would be the cost of the war (human costs as well as financial), was a preemptive attack policy wise or moral, is the diplomatic cost of the war worth it, and what would we do with it once we conquered it? In particular, the neoconservatives promised a far rosier picture than the one Dr. Pipes now admits is the reality. I remember all too well how the neoconservatives berated anyone who suggested the road might be difficult or that it could well take over twenty years to develop a true democracy in Iraq. Former CIA chief Mr. Woolsey (under President Clinton, but now a member of the neocon clicque) even stated that those who questioned the ability to easily establish a democracy in Iraq were "bigots". Well, look where we are today.

No easy democracy in Iraq. I am at least glad that some like Mr. Pipes have finally admitted reality. Unfortunately, his new solution is the establishment of a democracy loving strongman (otherwise known as a temporary dictator). There are not too many examples of this kind in history. Very few strongmen will ever give up their power. True it has happened, but it is a poor gamble to hope against the odds that it would happen in this case. Mr. Pipes gave the examples of Ataturk and Chiang Kai-shek. These are not good examples. Both Ataturk and Chiang Kai-shek were indigenous nationalists. They were not thrust onto the scene by an occupying force. Anyone that is installed by an occupying force will always be seen as a puppet by the occupied. Especially if the occupying military remains in the country (even if they are kept from view as Mr. Pipes suggests).

The best example of nation building our country engaged in was West Germany and Japan after WWII. However, there are many important differences between those times and circumstances and where we are today. Just a few of the differencesare as follows: Japan attacked us, Germany first declared war on us, the costs of the war were enormous and demanded a real change and firm commitment, Germany and Japan were long established societies with essentially homogeneous societies (the country of Iraq was created by Britian in the early 1900s), Germany was a Western country, Japan was an Asian country with western ways. None of these apply to Iraq today.

The bad examples of recent nation building (and there are many of them) are Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, and Afghanistan. All of them remain hell holes. While I believe the war in Afghanistan was necessary, the promised fluorishing crime free democracy has not happened. Due to these experiences, many (including myself) opposed the wisdom of fighting this war (along with some of the other reasons mentioned earlier). However, here we are today. Stuck with yet another faulty project compliments of false advertising. Unfortunately, it just keeps on working.

In the end, President Bush will be forced to bring the UN into Iraq. This is the only way to water down the criticism that Iraq has become an American Colony. Do I like this solution? Absolutely not! The UN has done a lousy job with some of the previous examples I provided. Yet, there really will be no choice at some point. Don't blame me, I was against this mess. I am also concerned about future messes if the neoconservatives get their way. .. The neoconservatives have publically called for rolling over Syria and Iran as well. For that matter, different members of the neoconservatives have also made public calls for armed conflict against Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Libya, Pakistan, North Korea, and others as well. That does not include all those who they want us to punish (by one would hope non-violent means) like France, Germany, and Russia. Please forgive me, it is getting hard to remember all the countries on their lists.

Fortunately, President Bush appears to be backing off of a military solution to Syria at the present time. Between this and his proposed "road map" for peace between Israel and the Palestinians, the neoconservatives must be having fits. Good! Maybe that means we will end up with less of these advertised "cake walks".

A Real Conservative
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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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