July 1, 2005

"This time next year..."

Alan wrote, concerning Bush's speech:

...In particular he had nothing to say about the Shiite versus Sunni conflict within Islam, into which the US has now blundered with little sense of strategic purpose. From sectarian strife in Pakistan to political murders in Lebanon, Sunni terrorism has one common denominator: its financial and ideological impetus comes from the Wahhabi sect that rules Saudi Arabia.

The car-bombers of Iraq are not just 'foreigners' as the President dubbed them. This is another evasive euphemism, like 'terrorists.' The suicide killers are Sunni foreigners. Shiite Iranians are not murdering Iraqi civilians....

I happened to read that just before I read this, from the Mark Steyn interview:

...There’ll be other changes with the Iraqis in the driving seat, rather than a Bush Administration that has to keep one eye out on whether Dick Durbin’s going to blubber all over the Senate floor again. Baghdad is likely to be far less squeamish about its enemies than Washington is. I don't just mean in the sense of that TV show they have over there, the one where they broadcast the interrogations of captured insurgents, which is the only reality TV show I enjoy watching. I'm also thinking of the Syrian border, where Iraqi troops are much more likely to exercise their right of hot pursuit than the Americans are. This time next year, it could be Iraq destabilizing Syria rather than the other way around...

Ooooh, let it be so!

Tough talk is pleasing, but what are we doing? What's Bush doing? Well, smack in the heart of the mostly-Sunni Arab world, we are creating, what? A Shi'ite democracy, with great economic and human potential, with huge oil reserves, with, if our training succeeds, the first real army in a modern Arab nation. We're creating Iraq, and we're training Iraq. If I were a cynical person [delicate souls should stop reading here] I'd say the reason our troops are in Iraq is to attract terrorists. Not only to kill them, but also to teach Iraqis to hate them.

We are, I think, (hope, suspect) creating new allies. Iraq, Lebanon, Afghanistan...especially Iraq. "This time next year." Maybe. Maybe the Saudi border too. Alan's Shi'ites are passive, are people who get killed. But there's no reason it has to stay that way. Building the Iraqi Army has been painfully slow, but it seems to be happening.

* Update: Iraqi blogger Shirko (link thanks to Michael Totten) demands regime change in Syria. Iraqis have lots of good reasons. As do lots of Syrians. Advice to President Bush. The best way to learn something is to teach it. A good confidence-building exercise for the Iraqis: Destabilize Syria, then teach them how to hold elections and how to try and hang former tyrants.

Posted by John Weidner at July 1, 2005 12:21 AM
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