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Is a modern day Ataturk necessary for Iraq?

Reader comment on item: Islam's Future [Can Be Modern]

Submitted by Phil Stebbings (United States), Aug 21, 2002 at 15:16

In response to V. Mizrahi, I agree that the likelihood of a 21st century Ataturk immediately coming to the forefront in the region is unlikely. However, if the conditions are right in a post Saddam Iraq, democracy, free elections, a wide based economic rebirth coupled with the removal of whatever Militant Islamic elements remain in that country can be facilitated by the presumed occupiers and carried out by an enlightened and friendly (to the West as well as the Iraqi people and its neighbors) government. A vision for modern Iraq that includes the delicate transition to Western political values and the defeat of Militant Islam could not only be a wonderful model for the region (Turkey perhaps being the first) but could also lead to perhaps greater and longer term changes in the region.

It seems that for all of its incendiary rhetoric (or at least, incendiary talking points) the presentation given to the Defense Policy Board by the Rand Corp. analyst Laurent Murawiec on July 10, 2002 did include some interesting notions, including the observation that Iraq is the tactical pivot and Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot of the Middle East. Solve for these pivot points, and the ‘significant tensions' in Turkey brought about militant Islam and that rightfully concern V. Mizrahi are eliminated. The United States has the wherewithal and moral leadership to lead the world through this global crisis. It may take another and perhaps greater catastrophe than 9/11 to convince some in the U.S. and abroad of this fact, but I for one do not need any additional convincing.

To those who are in a position to do so: Plan well, execute flawlessly, expect significant casualties and follow through until Militant Islam and those who practice it are relegated to the dustbin of history.
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