October 07, 2005

A Dodged Bullet Or A Warning Shot

The project of helping Iraq evolve into a liberal democracy was always an ambitious one (glaring understatement) requiring a unique and fortuitous confluence of luck, military success, post-invasion management, enlightened indigenous leaders, favorable contextual conditions, skilled enablers found amongst the occupying forces, adroit and agile policy capable of instantaneous and far reaching flexibility, etc. The results so far have been mixed at best, with several red flags being raised as warnings of what might ensue in the near future.

While any nation building effort is problematic in the extreme, the particular characteristics of modern day Iraq present an even trickier model with which to work. There are bitter and historical grievances to settle on the one side of the ethnic/sectarian divide, and a loss of long held political power on the other - not to mention an ongoing and relentless campaign of violence that would be enough to unravel many an existing democracy, let alone forestall the creation of one ex nihilo. This violence and historical animosity makes it that much more difficult for moderate, conciliatory voices to win out over louder more confrontational ones - regardless of the faction. As I mentioned in a previous post, these factors negatively impacted the drafting of the constitution - which in the end fell short of being the inclusive document needed to attract enough Sunnis to make its codification the turning point hoped for by so many. At least so far.

The breakdown in that process is, unfortunately, symptomatic of larger problems endemic to nation building ventures: First, how do you help a population to form a democracy when there are so few democrats? Second, how can you invigorate a functional democracy without institutional undergirding supporting the fragile structure?

While there have been leaders in Iraq that have been more cooperative and helpful during the process (Sistani comes to mind as being a net positive so far), the issue remains whether even the most well intentioned Iraqis really grasp what "democracy entails." Yes, the concept of majoritarianism seems easy enough to get a hold of (especially for the Shiites who can now reap the benefits of their majority status), but democracy, at least a healthy functioning version, is so much more than the edict that the majority rules. There needs to be respect for minority rights and interests, respect for institutional integrity along horizontal and lateral lines, respect for the rule of law and the rules of the game, etc.

In terms of an institutional framework, democracies require several loci of power and influence - an elaborate web of checks and balances capable of withstanding strains and eccentricities pushing and pulling in certain directions. These include, but are not limited to, a powerful and independent judiciary, a robust and free press, an open and free economic system relatively unfettered by corruption enabling a middle class to emerge, a civic minded populace, quality educational systems and a free flow of ideas, etc. Absent this matrix, power tends to be concentrated at the top, with the ruling faction's influence constricting the mechanisms of democracy that lead to liberal rule. A glance to Putin's Russia is instructive on how progress can succumb to backslide.

In Iraq, these institutions either did not exist, or were only in rudimentary form prior to the invasion. This has made the transformation to democracy a daunting task, and one that requires more time and attention than might be permitted under the break-neck pace of constitution drafting.

Over the past week, the Iraqi "democrats" simultaneously fired a warning shot off the bow of the Iraqi democracy project and dodged the same volley when they realized they were in the cross-hairs. I am speaking of the 11th hour rule change for voting on the constitutional referendum, and then the 11th and a half hour reversal. First the change:

In their vote on Sunday, the Shiite and Kurdish members interpreted the law as follows: the constitution will pass if a majority of ballots are cast for it; it will fail if two-thirds of registered voters in three or more provinces vote against it. In other words, the lawmakers designated two different meanings for the word "voters" in one passage.

Then the reversal:

Iraq's Parliament voted today to cancel a last-minute rule change that would have made it almost impossible for Iraq's new constitution to fail in the upcoming national referendum.

Even though they got it right in the end (after considerable pressure from the UN and the Bush administration - strange bedfellows these days), the initial gesture is worrisome to say the least. The rule change, or "clarification," was both disingenuous (because the Kurds and Shiites knew that they were changing an established principle whose meaning was understood by all) and deeply un-democratic. It betrays a crude conception of democracy as some sort of majoritarian juggernaut, when in fact democracy must be built on a mutual agreement or pact to play by the rules and solve problems through the political process, one which acknowledges compromise and the sharing of power. I quote Publius from the blog Legal Fiction:

Voting is fundamental in that it's the source and guardian of all our other rights. It is therefore extremely important that officials in power respect the voting process (a broader concept that includes not just voting itself, but redistricting, registration processes, trustworthy ballot machines, trustworthy election officials, fundraising disclosures, etc.). This broader voting process should be as transparent and as free from official meddling as possible. It should also be governed by clear ex ante rules to ensure legitimacy and accountability.

As pointed out, ex ante rules are of the utmost importance. They insure that the party or faction in power does not simply rig the system to ensure their maintenance of control. Without accepted rules, known beforehand by the population with an expectation that they are legitimate, there is nothing to ensure that political factions will remain committed to a process that they see as fair, just and capable of delivering their needs. That is not to say that such rules can and should never be changed, but such a last minute change, and for so obvious an ulterior purpose as was undertaken by the Shiite/Kurd alliance, was profoundly misguided. There was absolutely no respect for the process.

It was also the worst possible message to be sending the Sunnis. The constitution itself did little to assuage fears of what the new Iraq has in store for the Sunni population now bereft of influence, power and clout. But what this move told them was not only were they going to be held out of power, but even if there was a slight possibility that they could affect outcomes at the ballot box, that modest opening could and would be taken away from them by an overbearing majority bloc - on a whim. If we are trying to bring certain Sunnis into the fold and cause a splintering in the insurgencies, this is about the worst way to go about it (in the political realm). And if we want Iraq to serve as the catalyst for widespread democratic change in the region, we better hope that the Iraqis can forge a democracy that will be worth replicating and one that will garner envy amongst its neighbors.

It was important that the Shiite/Kurdish faction reversed themselves, but it does not bode well for the future of Iraqi democracy. There will not always be such a proximate and potent US influence. When we are gone, it will be up to the Iraqis to figure out the importance of playing by the rules. The record thus far, is not encouraging.

Posted by at October 7, 2005 03:06 PM | TrackBack (1)
Comments

As an Egyptian friend of mine once said, "For Arabs, democracy means my tribe gets everything now". It will be very hard to shift that kind of thinking. On the plus side, Arab society includes power-brokering among alliances and a strong tradition of consensus building. One hopes this was a case of brinksmanship and not a portent of things to come. I remain optimistic.

Posted by: Kenneth at October 7, 2005 03:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

While I am pleased the Shia stepped back, I think this needs to be put in context. The 3 province veto rule was never accepted by the Shiites in the first place, but was imposed by the UN and the Coalition, IIUC. You could call this crude majoritarianism, or a reasonable desire to prevent a previously tyrannical minority from exercising a veto (What would the ANC in South Africa have thought of a veto by the Nationalist dominated Western Cape?) They seem to be engaging in Chicago machine style tricks to maximize power - NOT in the kind of things normally done in the region, like assasinating your opponents (see Lebanon, for example) While they have a long way to go, Im not sure that their inclinations are as powerfully illiberal as the discussion above implies.

I am more concerned about the illiberalism of the current Interior Minister, but Im not sure that the non-SCIRI elements of the UIA are particulalry supportive of him.

I continue to think the UIA coalition was artificial, and that its break up would be the best thing for Iraq, and ultimately for its Shiites.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 7, 2005 03:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Look, Eric, the MSM simply omits what they don't want you to know. They select the "truths" they wish to transmit to suit their agenda, and I believe that agenda is almost always "anti-war" as reporters don't want to hold their consciences responsible for the millions dead in Southeast Asia after the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam in 1975.

A current example of such omission is here.

Posted by: Solomon2 at October 7, 2005 04:05 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

like most wingnuts when it comes to the war, you make the same fatal error --- equating democracy with "free markets" and the "emergence of a middle class". Democracy isn't about laissez faire economics, and the creations of Levittowns and McMansion communities. Its about political self-determination.

The failure of the Iraq adventure can be traced to the attempted imposition of a white suburban American Christian conception of democracy simultaneously with an economic system that looks to the far-right for inspiration. Both concepts are completely alien to Iraqi culture, and the result has been an atrocious mutation that combines the worst of all the systems, and is doomed to failure.

The reality is that, in Iraq at least, there was no need to create a democratic system ex nihilo. Iraq had a perfectly workable constitutional framework already established that (with some critical amendment) would have served the purpose quite well. And Iraq had functioning democratic institutions on the local level --- institutions that the Bush regime trashed, because it was afraid of the results that would come out of those local elections. Instead, Bushco installed former Iraqi expatriates loyal to the American neo-con cause in all the key "Iraqi" positions --- virtually eliminating the creation of an indigenous political leadership class in Iraq, and ceding "popular" authority to the clerical establishment.

Bushco of course exacerbated the problem by insisting that elections could not be held without a census, and that a census could not be completed until the nation was secure, and then failing to deploy sufficient forces to provide security for the Iraqi people. When elections finally were held (using the "Oil For Food" ID cards as proof of voter eligibility---a method which had been advocated by Bush administration critics from the start, but which had been rejected by Bushco) they turned into a farce --- a photo op for American audiences that had nothing to do with providing the average Iraqi with democratic rights.

"Nation building" may never be easy, but its virtually impossible to achieve when you start out by trashing the local authority structures, and impose a system based on concepts that are complete alien to the indigenous populations. That's what Bushco did, and it has been a dismal failure --- and it can't be fixed.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 7, 2005 04:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Er...um...Mr. Lukasiak, that is the first time anyone has ever called me a wingnut. I'm actually to the left of center on most things, and was opposed to the invasion of Iraq from the outset. I don't suppose my spot at Liberals Against Terrorism would be any type of indication.

My reference to economic conditions was a realistic appraisal that democratic institutions and the emergence of liberal governance often coincide with and are aided by a powerful and large middle class. My reference to free markets was not some ultra-right evocation of zero regulation and oversight, but rather an acknowledgement that free markets tend to create those conditions. In that sense, I am an FDR and Teddy Roosevelt capitalist.

As for the Bush administration's handling of the process thus far, I have been a frequent critic. You are wrong if you think me some apologist.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 7, 2005 05:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

LiberalHawk,

The three province rule was not imposed by the UN and/or the CPA but was mandated by the Kurds who wanted to have an out if the finished product was not to their liking. The Shiites never liked the three province rule, and now that the Kurds approve of the constitution, they were willing to let this protection go in the interest of getting 'er done.

As for the assassinations, I would say not yet, but I would be awfully surprised (overwhelmingly pleasantly) if we do not see such acts on the horizon.

I should add, that there is already some pretty intense internecine feuding that has probably led to some deaths and will be the spring from which further violence between same-sect factions if and when that occurs.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 7, 2005 05:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Come to think of it Lukasiak, FWIW I never even mentioned "Free Markets" what I said was "a free and open economic system."

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 7, 2005 05:12 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric and I have gone round the track already on this subject, his point having been expressed as in the post here and mine being that "illiberal tendencies" among people under persistent attack from their historic oppressors has certain justifications.

That said I have never approved of the Bush administration's extravagant rhetoric about spreading democracy in the Middle East, precisely because I am dubious that Arabs can sustain a system of government so demanding of civic virtue -- and also, of course, because the great expenditure of American lives and resources there makes us less able to attend to other parts of the world more vital to us. In perfect fairness I have to say that the conduct of many Iraqis, Sistani and Talabani prominent among them, gives some reason for hope that a humane if not entirely democratic political system can be established if many things go right.

Posted by: JEB at October 7, 2005 06:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

EM - yes I forgot the Kurdish insistence - though i think that was then mediated by the CPA, and ISTR that it was seen as useful to the sunni arabs as well. It was clearly aimed against the Shia, who were not happy with it, and accepted it only grudgingly.

So again, from the Shia POV, theyre trying to cleverly nullify a limit on majoritarianism they never considered legitimate. Not good, but not so bad, esp as they gave up.

Internecine violence - yes, some signs of that, esp in Kirikuk, and Sunnis who go missing in Baghdad. But ISTM thats dwarfed by other intergroup political violence (the insurgency vs the state, aside) Im thinking of Sunni tribes vs the Insurgency, Badr brigades vs Mahdi army at various points, etc. Not to mention the crime. Iraq remains a violent place. Which isnt good, but doesnt necessarily mean that intergroup tensions will doom democracy.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 7, 2005 06:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Come to think of it Lukasiak, FWIW I never even mentioned "Free Markets" what I said was "a free and open economic system."

Would you care to create a distinction between the two that constitutes a significant difference?

and while we're on the subject of "corrections", I called you a "wingnut when it comes to the war". And your insistence upon the proposition "democratic institutions and the emergence of liberal governance often coincide with and are aided by a powerful and large middle class" as if it has any relevance to Iraq puts you in that class.

Simply put, the whole "democracies emerge because of a strong middle class" thing is little more that White Suburban America's projection of its own image upon the world. In reality, in the third world the middle class is often an impediment to democracy (see India) and are often the backbone of support for anti-democratic military coups (see Chile, and the recent efforts to overthrow the elected government of Venezuela.) And it is the USA, with its huge middle class, that has fought hardest to undermine emerging democracies in the third world whenever they threaten to make their nations hostile to American economic imperialism.


Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 7, 2005 06:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm not an economist, but are you seriously saying there can be no meaningful distinction between a free and open economic system and free markets?

Is it possible to have some level of protectionism, organized labor and government regulation in a "free and open economic system"?

My instinct says yes. In America for example. Or Scandanavia. Or France. Or Canada. Or Japan. Heck, even China is tilting that way in a serious way. All free and open economic systems, that "free market" adherents would take issue with along various lines of attack. In fact, many libertarians and conservatives would argue these are not free markets at all, but rather "mixed economies" or some other disparaging categorization.

Further, one of the goals of the CPA, especially Bremer, was to create a paradigm of "free markets" in Iraq post invasion. In attempting this folly, he instituted many policies that we don't have in the US (nor would the voters tolerate), which would suggest there is a difference. No?

Otherwise, let me get this straight, I am a "wingnut when it comes to the war" even though I opposed (strenuously) the invasion of Iraq merely because I suggested that there is some relationship between a strong middle class and insistence on democratic governance?

Lukasiak, if all wingnuts were as wingnutty as me when it comes to the war, there would be no war. Maybe shoot second, ask questions first.

And for the record, the whole "democracies emerge because of a strong middle class" was never something I said. I said that a strong middle class often aids the emergence of democratic institutions.

It is not an absolutism, so pointing to examples where a strong middle class didn't lead to democratic evolution is not a refutation of my point. It is an attack on a straw man. It is also possible, as in Egypt, for an authoritarian state to manipulate and keep the middle class tied to the State's fortunes. Chile too.

There are more examples than just America where the opposite holds true though. Not to mention the fact that progressive voices, and agents of change, tend to come from said middle class.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 7, 2005 07:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak,

First you start praising democracy in Saddam's Iraq, next you start referring to Venezuelan thug Chavez as a democrat, and railing on about "American economic imperialism". Such boiler plate leftist nonsense is not taken seriously by anyone anywhere.

BTW, I didn't realize "White Suburban" was a now a term of abuse for Western liberal democracy. I just thought it was OJ's getaway car.

Posted by: Kenneth at October 7, 2005 07:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

LH,

You are right about the Shiite point of view, but what I think was the real disingenuous move was that on the part of the Kurds (I lumped them together perhaps as an unfair shorthand). The Kurds knew what that provision meant because it was their child, and then they feigned ignorance.

Also, it was a question of timing. Like I said in the post, there was a time and place to make such changes, but less than two weeks before the vote? In apparent response to a potential Sunni "no" vote? They should have pushed for the change before the constitution was drafted if they wanted it to look like an arm's length, good faith alteration.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 7, 2005 07:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

yeah, the kurds position flip is less justifiable than the Shias. I doubt that the real threat to Iraqi democracy comes from the Kurds though, even when theyre not acting in good faith. Call me a bleeding heart.

And again, i dont think this was good faith - it clearly wasnt - but it was still an attempt to stay within the letter of the law.

Now you may think theyre staying within the letter of the law cause there are 138000 US troops, and when that drops to say, 90,000 US troops the gloves are off.


Im not sure that we have that much more leverage with our current overstretched force. I certainly continue to be surprised that there isnt more Kurdish on Sunni violence, given the continued anti-Kurdish violence by the insurgency, and ditto for the Shia. How much more possibility for reconciliation, when the insurgency actually becomes weaker.

What do you make of the apparent Kurdish tiff with Jaafari? Surely the Kurds arent expecting to make a post December coalition with the Sunni Arabs? Are they expecting the UIA to break up?

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 7, 2005 07:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I might be overly bland in my reading of the situation, but I saw it as just one more example of Kurdish brinkmanship in order to secure a tighter hold on Kirkuk. Lean on the Shiite crowd a bit. Thus far, they have been masterful in playing the political game to get what they want at every turn.

That being said, it is quite possible that they are expecting the UIA to break up. Mookie and the gang have been steadily carving out their own niche, while painting the UIA bigs as stooges of the coalition forces/Iran. A showdown could be brewing. And underneath it all, I think DAWA and SCIRI both want it all, not a share of it all. If UIA disintegrates, there might emerge some loose coalition of secular and moderate Kurds and Shiites - even some Sunnis - which could make a push for control. Allawi would figure into the mix. This would likely be greeted as a positive development by the Bush team, but, as usual, the real power player will be Sistani. Rumor has it, he isn't overly thrilled with the UIA's performance thus far, but would he really back a bunch of secularists? My bet is no, but stranger things have happened.

Of course, the Kurds could just be positioning themselves for a secession from the whole stinkin mess (as they would characterize it) - one beset by corruption on all sides and overbearing Iranian influence. This isn't necessarily exclusive of option #1 above.


Short answer: (shrugs shoulders with palms outstretched)

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 7, 2005 08:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

thanks

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 7, 2005 08:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

One thing that guides Sistani's strategy through this period is the understanding of how thoroughly political Shiite Islam has been discredited in Iran by the corrupt mullahs there. He is determined to avoid that fate for clerics in Iraq by keeping them out of direct involvement in politics. He will support politicians, and influence them from the sidelines, but he doesn't want to get to close to the action. For that reason, I think it is possible he will support secular parties if it leads to his desired goals.

Posted by: Kenneth at October 7, 2005 08:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

In fact, many libertarians and conservatives would argue these are not free markets at all, but rather "mixed economies" or some other disparaging categorization.

and those same "libertarians and conservatives" argue that the US is not really a "free and open economic system".

Further, one of the goals of the CPA, especially Bremer, was to create a paradigm of "free markets" in Iraq post invasion. In attempting this folly, he instituted many policies that we don't have in the US (nor would the voters tolerate), which would suggest there is a difference. No?

of course. that is one of the points I've already made. Bushco tried to turn Iraq into a wetdream for the voodoo economics crowd --- and sell Iraq's natural assets to the highest bidder (whom would inevitably be a multinational corporation....)

And for the record, the whole "democracies emerge because of a strong middle class" was never something I said. I said that a strong middle class often aids the emergence of democratic institutions.

and it just as often impedes the emergence of those institutions, especially when there is a massive disparity in the distribution of the wealth of a given nation. There was no reason to suspect that a "strong middle class" would, in the particular instance of Iraq, lead to "strong democratic institutions." Indeed, prior to the first US-Iraq war, Iraq had a strong middle class, and was lead by a despot by the name of Saddam Hussein.

The point being that your views of Iraq are unfortunately tainted by a need to project your own value system on the Iraqi people in ways that mirror the failed approach taken by Bushco. You still think there is a way we can "fix" things in Iraq, and your vision of a "fixed" Iraq is the Arab equivalent of white suburban America. But the fact is that Iraq cannot be fixed as long as Bush is in the White House, and any "solution" that takes reality into consideration is going to be at odds with your preconceived notions about "democracy" as it functions in non-western civilizations.

The bottom line is that we must withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible, because there is no solution as long as Bush is running things, and the longer we stay in Iraq without a solution, the worse the situation becomes. Perhaps if you were running things, it would be different --- the international community might be willing to work with a "Martin administration" in solving Iraq because you aren't George W. Bush. But that is a fantasy world, and we are dealing with reality in which the lives of thousands of Americans, and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, are at risk and that risk will only increase the longer people like you blather on about what we should be doing in Iraq.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 7, 2005 10:03 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

First you start praising democracy in Saddam's Iraq, next you start referring to Venezuelan thug Chavez as a democrat...

I never praised democracy in Saddam's Iraq --- I cited the fact that there was a pre-existing constitutional framework that was (with significant but not extensive amendment) perfectly suited to establishing democracy in that country, and that there were local democratic institutions that were simply trashed by the Bush regime.

Nor did I refer to Chavez at all --- I did cite that the government of Venezuela had been democratically elected (and it was) and that the middle class (with considerable assistance of the Bush regime) backed an abortive military coup against that democratically elected government.

Such boiler plate leftist nonsense is not taken seriously by anyone anywhere.

gee, that explains why Chavez is so much more popular throughout Latin America than is GWB.....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 7, 2005 10:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Luka is still waiting for the other imperialist shoe to drop in Iraq; somebody please throw him a bone. Privatization, anyone? Well the ex-Soviet Union never became the West's capitalist playground, we have no evidence so far that this will happen in the emerging Iraq. We shall see, however.

What we do know is that it was never "the plan" to just put another guy with a moustache in charge in Iraq. A consensual government is the only way forward; no matter how imperfect and corrupt it may turn out to be. The Sunnis hopefully now know that participation is the only way forward. Zarquawi was doomed as soon as he started attacking Shiites. As Secretary Rice pithily put it, "the terrorists are doomed to fail because they have nothing to offer."

Posted by: Chuck Betz at October 8, 2005 03:18 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


When you get through staking out your initial and continuing skepticism about Iraqi independence, you ought to glance over and notice that this "nation building" right now looks like it has a fighting chance of success. With a federal republic, hundreds of thousands of troops and billions of dollars, why not? Certainly the information age has come to the entire Middle East, especially Baghdad, and its new wind is blowing. The large numbers of Iraqis who stand up for freedom is impressive; they seem to want an independent and free Iraq, if many Americans seem more interested in accurately forecasting doomsday.

Whatever happens, though, you ought to acknowledge we were obliged to do something different at the point when we invaded Iraq. Fifty or sixty years of bribing everybody in sight had merely lead to a new crescendo of violence, highlighted by the emergency of child suicide bombers. As John McCain said at the last GOP convention, "The status quo was not an option." The no-fly-zone was costing us a fortune and our men were being shot at with little help from the Europeans, France and Germany being uniquely worthless.

We have lost close to 2,000 troops, with maybe 5,000 more seriously wounded, and all were volunteers. That compares with 7,000 who died in the construction of the Panama Canal... Our gamble in Iraq currently has the potential of being a very, very good one, which could redound to the credit of the U.S. for centuries to come. The risk/reward ratio is fantastically good. And, if in the end, Iraq indeed becomes a police state such as sit has always been, we may find we have freed only Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and a few other places. Why in the hell be pessimists?

Posted by: exguru at October 9, 2005 05:32 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

We have lost close to 2,000 troops, with maybe 5,000 more seriously wounded, and all were volunteers. That compares with 7,000 who died in the construction of the Panama Canal... Our gamble in Iraq currently has the potential of being a very, very good one, which could redound to the credit of the U.S. for centuries to come. The risk/reward ratio is fantastically good. And, if in the end, Iraq indeed becomes a police state such as sit has always been, we may find we have freed only Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and a few other places. Why in the hell be pessimists?

Have we entered a time warp here? Last time I checked, we had "lost" over 9000 troops, with tens of thousands seriously wounded.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 9, 2005 03:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Posted by: Chuck Betz at :

"What we do know is that it was never "the plan" to just put another guy with a moustache in charge in Iraq. A consensual government is the only way forward; no matter how imperfect and corrupt it may turn out to be. "

Well, after the 'install Chalabi and a small militia' plan failed, maybe.

"The Sunnis hopefully now know that participation is the only way forward. "

Hopefully,yes. In reality, well, the war seems to be going strong.


"Zarquawi was doomed as soon as he started attacking Shiites. "

I won't hold my breath waiting for him to meet that doom.

"As Secretary Rice pithily put it, "the terrorists are doomed to fail because they have nothing to offer.""


Ah, yes, Secretary of State and also the person in charge of the occupation of Iraq for the past year or two, although that title doesn't get mentioned much by her.

Posted by: Barry at October 10, 2005 09:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
Reviews of Belgravia Dispatch
"Awake"
--New York Times
"Must-read list"
--Washington Times
"Pompous Ass"
--an anonymous blogospheric commenter
Recent Entries
Search
English Language Media
Foreign Affairs Commentariat
Non-English Language Press
U.S. Blogs
Columnists
Think Tanks
Law & Finance
Security
Books
The City
Western Europe
France
United Kingdom
Germany
Italy
Netherlands
Spain
Central and Eastern Europe
CIS/FSU
Russia
Armenia
East Asia
China
Japan
South Korea
Middle East
Egypt
Israel
Lebanon
Syria
B.D. In the Press
Archives
Categories
Syndicate this site:
XML RSS RDF

G2E

Powered by