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What a Mess

Reader comment on item: Islamic Law Rules In Iraq

Submitted by Peter J. Herz (Taiwan), Mar 2, 2004 at 18:31

This, perhaps, is one reason why intervention in the Islamic world was politically dangerous. One the one hand, we have an American elite culture that simply does not know how to be civil to people who take a traditional religion seriously; on the other, a universal tendency to look at the Other and say, "Well, they're just like that"; and on a third hand, an Islamic world that has a deep-seated phobia about the West.

Further, the importance of militant Islamicist ideology among anti-Saddam Iraqis is understandable, if highly regrettable. The one thing that harsh, totalitarian regimes are good at is ensuring that only those who are also stubborn and hard-nosed are going to be able to organize some kind of alternative. Unhappily for the world, the Islamic world's phobias about the West made it open to totalitarian models long ago.
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