Iraq bad news keeps getting worse—but the outlines of the badness have been clear for a long time
(See also this post, which complements the points made here.)
Randall Parker, always on the job on the Iraq disaster, has a lengthy post in which he quotes, inter alia, the Los Angeles Times:
Privately, U.S. officers say Shiite militias—some affiliated with Iraqi government security forces—are responsible for most of the attacks against U.S. troops as well as on Sunni civilians. But commanders on the ground often find themselves stymied when going after Shiite militias, especially those affiliated with anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose political bloc controls 30 seats in parliament.Parker comments:
We are fighting for a government formed by parties which have militias fighting against us. Is that crazy or what?Unfortunately, the craziness Parker speaks of is not new. What about a year ago when, in order to bring the Sunnis into participation in the elections, we ok’d an agreement that said it was ok for the Sunnis to kill U.S. troops? As I wrote in December 2005:
As VFR readers will remember (see this and this and this, and, in fact, see the entire VFR postings for the week of November 20), the reconciliation agreement last month among representatives of the three main Iraqi groups, which was also signed by the country’s president, that famous communiqué that led to the Sunnis’ participation in the election, made it clear that killing Americans was legitimate resistance. The very thing that got the Sunnis to vote was an official agreement by all the major factions in Iraq that killing Americans was ok.What is the principle to which I am pointing in the above passage? To democratize a Muslim country requires that we persuade the Muslims to agree with democracy. To win the Muslims’ agreement we must to a large extent accede to their wishes. But their wishes include sharia, war against infidels, death to apostates, and much more that precludes anything we might consider a meaningful, pro-Western democracy. Thus our unstinting effort to win Muslims to our democratic ideals (the effort must be unstinting because we’ve convinced ourselves that democratizing Muslims is the ONLY way we can defeat terrorism) means that we end up betraying our democratic ideals and acceding to Islamic ideals.
There is no escape from this reality, for the simple reason that Islam is incompatible with democracy—a fundamental truth we have never acknowledged. Therefore the only way Muslims could actually adopt democracy is by giving up Islam—another fundamental truth we have never acknowledged. But the Muslims are of course unwilling to give up Islam. Therefore all our attempts to get them to sign on to democracy can only put us in an endless negotiation process which must result in our giving up democracy.
This is why our purpose should not be to spread Western democracy to Muslims, but to protect Western democracy from Muslims.