February 12, 2004

We're holding the good cards...

I started to write a comment to this post by Alan Sullivan, but it kinda got out of control, so I'll just post it myself...

Thought-provoking, but I really can't go along with you here. You're painting a world where the good guys drift along in confusion while the bad guys are cunning and active. Maybe, but I don't buy it.

WE'VE abandoned diplomacy in Iraq and started rearranging things at gun-point. The other countries are scrambling to find some way to appease us before we decide to abandon diplomacy with them. They need to appease us and at the same time they are willing to anger us to prevent a democratic Iraq, which really scares them. THEY are the ones caught between a rock and a hard place. THEY need exit-strategies.

And maybe the Iraqis will be cowed and disrupted by bombings. But that will be a big change from the recent past, where they've been murderous and capable of absorbing huge losses in war. And freedom is a Ent-draught that can call forth new reserves of energy and toughness. I'm thinking that having foreigners killing hundreds out of a population of millions is a good way to produced a lot of really pissed-off bloody-minded Iraqis. And since we are building up their police and army and militia as fast as we can....

And maybe the Iraqis don't want to live together in a single state, but, apart from the Kurds, I don't see much evidence of that. I don't hear any Iraqis complaining that Iraq is bogus. Or proposing partitions. Or saying that visiting Basra is like going to another country. There are probably only a handful of Iraqis still alive who remember any other name or shape for their country. If I were an Iraqi I'd probably think that one of the world's greatest river valleys was the natural center for a great nation, and the only thing bogus is that some pieces of MY country were given to Syria and Iran and Kuwait.

And our goal here is not to please the Turks. It's to have a free and prosperous Iraq as a huge object lesson to the whole Middle East. We want people in Iran or Egypt or Arabia to be thinking: "Wow, those Iraqis just voted in a new government. And people are getting rich there, and everybody has DSL. And the kids are setting the new styles, and getting real educations instead of this religious stuff. And their efficient western-style army has to turn away recruits. And it scares the hell out of our so-called leaders..."

And sure that's high-stakes poker, and we could fail in a variety of ways. But if we win, we win big, and we're holding good cards. We've finally got men running things instead of boys, and our government is stable�the chances of Kerry getting elected are slim to nim. Now is not the time to talk about exit strategies, it's the time to ratchet-up the pressure.

Posted by John Weidner at February 12, 2004 10:12 AM
Weblog by John Weidner