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Empire, after all?
The advertised time frame for pulling out of Iraq is two years. I have a question: How will Iraq protect itself when (if) we go?
We've just decimated its army. Will we now rebuild it? Even if it is possible to do so within two years (and rebuild the country at the same time), it's hard to imagine that we would; it's too dangerous. Who could we trust to run it? How could we possibly be assured that it wouldn't be used by another would-be dictator to seize power? We couldn't be assured enough, I think — the political risks are too high. Just imagine if we had to go and reconquer (er, I mean, re-liberate) the country, this time fighting against a military built with our own money.
But we can't leave Iraq defenseless, either, can we? Even if, optimistically, we only leave a token force there, we will always have to leave something — without an army of its own, an American presence will be the only thing that could protect a democratic Iraq from its neighbors, and from terrorist groups based therein. Either we give them their own army, or we'll be there indefinitely, with all the costs that entails. (The most common refrain throughout the Arab world, of course, is that the test of America's intentions is whether it will leave.)
The alternative, of course, is the U.N.; it could maintain a force in Iraq without being seen as occupying it. But the Bush administration seems set on shutting the U.N. out of any genuinely influential role. Long-term peace and stability, it would then appear, simply are not the priority here; we're left with just one more reason to think that Iraq is just the beginning. In any case, one way or another, if the United States goes it alone in rebuilding Iraq, it's hard to see how it could possibly leave after two years.
April 14, 2003 12:46 PM
Indeed, Iraq is only one big step in a very long process of a democractic-liberal hegemony in the MidEast. We've been told this from the beginning, akin to the same efforts we enacted in the democractic-liberalisation of Western Europe. Big plans take big thinkers, and thinkers with big muscles. That ain't Britain, and it ain't Germany, and surely isn't France. Take centre stage: Concept-America. To change the world for the better takes moxie, not people who think and act in small gestures, with equally minor, fear-driven, failure-mentality goals. Indeed, America ain't no people, it's a concept and a way of conducting one's community. It's a concept to be shared and promoted, by positive people who believe big things can happen and good ways.
Maybe it's time to start leaving behind the cynics and the "negative-expectationers" to get on with collective national purpose of creating the New Jerusalem, of transforming chaos into order, of bringing one more bit of light into the world.
From the start of the Iraqi-American intiative i've been completely amused, and astounded, at the soft liberal press' questions that start off with the assumption that such efforts are beyond our capabilities. Small thinkers, again, plague America's bold efforts. Why, if we had let the timid talkers have their way before Germany would today be more East than West, more ruled by business and men than law (yes, a HUGE debate post-war world 2), and Japan wouldn't have a such a strong middle-class (but some continued morph of the feudal construct they had during the war). Listen, whether or not it goes against your assumptions and conclusions, these two nations are the economic and democratic power-houses they are today not despite American visionaries, but because of them. Because of them.
Today we see emerging a new realisation that America is NOT a tribe or nation, but a standard of community conduct. The fruits of our past labours is ample evidence of their intent and soundness. Truly, mistakes were made, but compare our track record with that of other nations (Britain, France, the Netherlands, Russia, and Japan) and America stands out in both results, and intentions.
But, then again, we were never supposed to be greeted by cheering crowds in Baghdad, just knives and suicide bombers. Hmm, maybe those without know better the lessons than those with way, way too much.
Liquidate the shopping malls, SUV's, mini-mansions, and wide screen TV's and send the cash to Iraqi schools.
Posted by rob adams on April 15, 2003 12:41 PM
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