Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Sign in to follow this  


Recommended Posts

WASHINGTON -- The State Department has now confirmed in a deeply disturbing report what any of us with any experience in the Middle East instinctively and intellectually know -- that Iraq is the least likely country in the world to be "democratized."

Not only are economic and social problems there so intense as to undermine basic stability in the region for years, the report says, but even if some form of democratic government took form, the spoils would go to fundamentalist Islamists deeply hostile to the United States.


The thrust of the still-secret document, printed first in the Los Angeles Times, is that "political changes conducive to broader and enduring stability throughout the region will be difficult to achieve for a very long time. This idea that you are going to transform the Middle East and fundamentally alter its trajectory is not credible."


So on what is the very brink of an American war against Iraq, all the reasons for that war are dissolving, one after one, like drops of water in the Iraqi sands.


First we saw the administration's "great truth" that al-Qaida was actually sponsored by Iraq turn out to be totally false. No matter: They moved on.


Now it would be weapons of mass destruction. When none were found (but surely are there), the Bush zealots reverted to what has always been their primary goal: to "reconfigure" first Iraq and then the entire Middle East, with Israel as America's pro-consul in the region.


But if the State Department report, produced by its prestigious Bureau of Intelligence and Research and provocatively named "Iraq, the Middle East and Change: No Dominoes," is correct, this war is truly being fought for a series of dangerous and deliberately orchestrated delusions.


Actually, there is a vast literature and understanding of how peoples do democratize -- or at least how they form interim representative governments that have built-in structures for change. These come from scholars as different as Fareed Zakaria, the Pakistani political scientist, and Larry Diamond, the specialist on democratization and elections at Stanford University.


We have today what we did not have yesterday: a lineup of countries that are indeed "making it" with regard to economic reforms, evolutionary democracy and cultural gradualism. On the list are Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Tunisia, Oman, Bahrain and several Eastern European countries. But not one of these has developed through the "shock" therapy our great leaders foresee with such blithe (and ignorant) assurance for Iraq.


Instead, Iraq is a country riven since its inception in 1920-'21 with implacable political hatreds, with jealous tribal ties that make men partners in crime in addition to family, and with respect not for laws or constitutions, but for sheer, brute power.


If Americans try to impose a westernized federal system on such people, with their deep and abiding culture of suspicion and hatred for everything outside even their village, the little dictator that is inside virtually every Iraqi political male will soon result in one tribal or military strongman again taking over. And very likely now, he will be a radical Islamist to boot!


To give you some idea of the depth of understanding of President Bush's war party (Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, et al) on Iraq, these men depend intellectually upon the judgments of Princeton University professor emeritus Bernard Lewis. Yet at the many conferences that we have all attended here and heard professor Lewis speak, the only rationale he has given for believing in Iraqi democratization has been that he had some Iraqi graduate students who were very, very promising.


Meanwhile, on Sunday (March 16), The New York Times ran a front-page story titled "Anger on Iraq Seen as New Qaida Recruiting Tool." It painted an ominous picture of the American war on Iraq causing formerly ambivalent young Muslims across Europe and the Middle East to join al-Qaida in droves. Osama bin Laden had always told them the Americans were out to "colonialize" and "imperialize" the Middle East -- and now they can see it before their eyes.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Register for a 12ozProphet forum account or sign in to comment

You need to be a forum member in order to comment. Forum accounts are separate from shop accounts.

Create an account

Register to become a 12ozProphet forum member.

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this