October 7, 2006

Tough love...

Glenn Reynolds posted an e-mail from a reader. An excerpt...

We're not losing momentum in Iraq. The Pentagon strategy is a very deliberate form of tough love that is forcing the Iraqis to defend their own country.

Arabs are culturally the most passive, fence-sitting people on the planet. By their own admission they follow the strongest leader out there. If we had sent 500,000 troops to Iraq and fought a Soviet-style counterinsurgency, the end result would have been an Iraq with no incentive to do the very hard work of creating viable fighting forces from scratch. We would've been their new masters in perpetuity....

That's what I've been saying for a long time, but not expressing it as well. When we talk of bringing democracy to the Arab world, we are really talking about forcing them to grow up. And there's no way for people to do that except by trying things and making mistakes. Your children won't grow up if you map out their lives and protect them from having to make choices or face difficulties. Same with countries.

One of the lefty lines I've encountered goes something like: "Shi'ite death squads are killing people in Iraq. Look what a horrible evil we Americans have created." This is stupid on the face of it, since there was no possibility that Shi'ites would not take some revenge for generations of oppression and murder and torture by Sunni's. (Of course leftists are especially upset because they wanted Saddam to keep killing Shi'ites and Kurds by the hundreds-of-thousands. That's called "peace," folks, and is a blessed thing.)

But it is stupid on another level, because this is a problem that the Iraqis themselves must confront and solve. Or fail to solve. If there were some way we could have squelched all Shi'te militia activity, it would, I suspect, have been a bad thing.

Posted by John Weidner at October 7, 2006 11:06 AM
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