Saturday, February 07, 2004

UPDATE: Chaos in Iraq get's worse...

The NYT reports that assassinations are purging educated Iraqis:

" ...hundreds of intellectuals and midlevel administrators who Iraqi officials say have been assassinated since May in a widening campaign against Iraq's professional class."

The oldman previously wrote about the civil society of Iraq disintegrating in an earlier post. Here are some more oldman postings on Iraq. This is bad news folks ... without a civil society and educated discourse there is little to no hope for a peaceful and democratic Iraq. Even the Bush43 Administration is falling to pieces regarding what should be done (NYT) with no overall policy consensus on Iraq:

" But in recent days, it has been obvious in Washington that something has also gone awry in a White House that prides itself on never wavering from its message, especially when the subject is Iraq. At moments, Mr. Bush and his national security team — badgered for explanations about whether the country would have gone to war if it knew then what it knows now — have sounded as if these days, it is every warrior for himself."

It is a common misconception that the Vietnam War was a military failure. It was not. It was a political failure. Political decisions in Washington resulted in a corrupt and ineffective South Vietnamese government that was unable to prevent Communist takeover when the US troops withdrew. It is another common misperception that the US could have achieved military victory. Certainly the United States could have turned Vietnam "into glass" using nuclear weapons but this would have substantially weakened US interests worldwide and failed to achieve victory. Given that the United States was not willing to commit genocide and that the United States was committed to eventually withdrawing, the only hope of victory lay in establishing a strong and legitimate alternative government in the South. This political effort failed.

In a similar way, Americans are now replaying the past. Iraq will not be lost because of a military defeat by insurgents successfully throwing the US out, but American goals will fail because of the lack of a strong legitimate central government to secure law and order as well as democratically represent diverse ethnic interests.

As Amy Chua has documented, attempts to modernize third world countries with democracy and free markets often lead to ethnic conflict and civil war: " ...rapid switches to majoritarian rule and free-market democracy in many Third World countries benefit certain ethnic groups over others and lead to vicious sectarian strife". In Iraq the market-dominant minority are the Sunni Islamists. However, the oppressed Iraqi Shiite community is in the majority and attempting to seize control through direct elections. Meanwhile the northern Kurdish community agitates for autonomy which has regional countries with large Kurdish minorities seriously concerned.

If we Americans fail in Iraq it will be because of entirely foreseeable and avoidable problems that constitute a political failure to establish a civilian government to administrate Iraq. This has to be laid squarely at the door of Bush and co.!

For more insight into what happened in the Vietnam War read here at the CSM movie review about Moris's new film "The Fog of War" (Quicktime Movie Trailer) starring Robert McNamara (Flash 6 required) the SecDef during most of the Vietnam era.

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