Daily Archives: January 18, 2004
I’ve been reading Healing Iraq and realize just how uninformed we are here in the USA by our press and media. It’s depressing to think that there may well be a civil war in Iraq after July 1 because of the competing power grabs by the presently strongest factions, the Shia and the Kurds, and the resentment of other groups at the current attempts to manipulate the CPA. The comment posted January 14 is revealing, at least to me, in that it shows how much many Sunnis were willing to turn over their country and did not resist the invasion because they too suffered under Saddam and wanted the dictator gone. Add to that our apparent inability to take advantage of the opportunity given by the lack of resistance to interact with tribal leaders and gain their cooperation, and our blunders in the dismissal of the Iraqi Army and all the government workers, and what we see now is a recipe for division and possible eventual civil war, not a stable, democratic example for the rest of the Middle East to follow. Depressing.
Another point of view on Al-Sistani, the Shiite ayatollah who has caused so much controversy lately in the entry of January 15 on Iraq At A Glance. Our press tends to look at such figures as monolithic in their influence over an entire region, but they only control the crowd of less well educated which capture the photo headlines.
For balance to blogs like Baghdad Burning , and Where’s Raed? have a look at Iraq & Iraqis . When you read these, you get an idea of the variety of opinion in Iraq itself which should give Americans particularly a better perspective on what is really happening. Don’t forget to look at as many pictures as possible. They, too, are instructive.
Great pictures and another point of view can be found at Mullings by Richard Galen. A different kind of balance by an American Republican who put himself in harm’s way (4 months beginning in November) for the US Government. He’s a bit too much of a cheerleader for military types, the CPA, and the present Administration for my taste, but the photos are interesting. It’s published by a group calling itself Campaign Solutions, so that should give you a clue.
Reality vs Ideology
Weisman notes the similarities between the occupations of Germany and Japan that were forced to adapt to changed circumstances and world events such as the threat of Communist takeovers and the Cold War from the original ideas of punishing the countries for the damages they had wrought on the world.
The original plan for Germany included an idea to make it a pastoral only country in order to prevent a resurgence of Nazism. The Cold War realities of conflict with the USSR forced the end of that idea. Japan was re-militarized after the beginning of the Korean War. In both cases practical considerations ended up changing the outcomes of the occupations.
The artlcle pretty much cuts the legs out from under the Democrats who’ve been whining about the lack of a plan for post war Iraq. They are still right to criticize the Administration for attacking a country that was no real threat to the US for either terrorism or weapons of mass destruction, and for making shaky intelligence appear to support their morally and legally unjustifiable but ideologically predetermined policy of preemptive war. But as far as I can tell, the Democrats have no plan for Iraq’s future, either, and it seems to me that in order to be credible they need to come up with better ideas than just to bug out. That would only compound the mistakes already made.
Sunday, January 18, 2004