My collegue Conservative Wanderer is perfectly correct: it will be interesting to see how the Left reacts to all this; they must hate it like poison. I’m not sure they have anybody sufficiently well connected to geopolitics to understand it’s also entirely futile, in addition to being anathema to One Worldism. The part I find astonishing is Team O apparently still thinks it is possible for Iraq to govern itself democratically. Iraq is not a nation as I understand the term. There is no sense of national unity, no common purpose or identity. Iraq is more like a contiguous piece of territory serving as a prison for a large collection of mutually antagonistic tribes than anything meriting the term “nation.” It is possible to rule a united Iraq in a unified manner, if you don’t mind offing the heads of anybody who disagrees with you, or having the Geheimestaatspolizei torture women and children and so forth. Saddam managed that; it is not an accident he was modern Iraq’s most successful ruler. I do not believe Iraq will ever know peace, or be peacefully ruled, while it retains its current borders; or not before the Second Coming, anyway, when the Lion lies down with the Lamb. Really, the people living there would be much happier if they balkanized themselves into 3-5 smaller nations and joined their kith and kin presently outside the borders of Iraq. This would not lessen the violence much, but then it would be cross border raids and so on, not car bombs at day care centers planted by your neighbors.
As for small-d democracy, pffffft. Before you can build something you have to have materials to build it out of, and builders who know how and are willing to do the work. Iraq has neither. They are a tribal culture and are not interested in cooperation; each faction wants to rule, not compromise. Iraq could not form an inclusive government if the President held an F/A-18 Super Hornet to their heads– which he is, by the way– and if they could, such a government could not govern Iraq. You think our Congress is gridlocked? Wait until you see the Parliament of a Iraqi Unification Government. One of the largest, probably the most politically cohesive, and definitely the least bloody-minded group among them– that would be the Kurds, not that they’re above the occasional war crime when it looks appropriate– flatly refuses to participate anyway. So much for unified government.
Democracy? Please! They have no common belief in the rule of law, no impartial judges, no moderately honest police force, no freedom of speech, or the press, or of assembly, or of religious expression. There’s no sense among them their neighbor’s vote should weigh evenly with their own. Most of all, they have no separation of Church and State. How is democracy possible if the religious leaders can trump the legislature just by writing an Op-Ed? There is no real possibility of a democratic government there because there’s no there there to build it from. The only functional democracy in the whole of the Middle East is Israel, which is entirely secular; and Lebanon has an occasionally functional one because they are host to more than 50 religions with no one of them big enough to be entirely dominant.
The bottom line on all this is plain to see: what the President is trying to do– fix it so he doesn’t have to worry about it, and all without killing anybody– is simply not possible in the real world; and his preferred tactic– getting a unified Iraqi government capable of running the joint, also without being Saddam-like brutal in ruling– is laughable. The US has exactly three choices in Iraq: We can occupy the joint, at huge cost in blood and treasure and, like the Romans, crucify anybody who objects to prevent it from blowing up in our faces; we can designate and place on the throne a pro-US sock-puppet Shah, and pay the huge cost– more treasure, less American blood– of having him rule with Saddam-like brutality; or we can channel our inner isolationist, retreat behind our borders and wait for the Caliphate to get WWIII started. While we wait, we can either furiously build up our military so we can deal with the catastrophe when it comes, or we can join hands and sing kumbaya and let it catch us by “surprise.”
Self evidently none of the above are good choices. But then, I didn’t deal the cards, I just have to play the cards I’m dealt. Lefties are free to play the Blame Boosh™ game if they have nothing better to do than whine and wring their hands, but my take is simpler: how we got here is meaningless because here is where we are.