A new solution for Iraq?
Shall we one day hear a president of the United States say on television:
“My fellow Americans: All moms and dads throughout the world, whatever their differences of race or color or creed, share one dream in their hearts: to live in physical safety, to see their children grow up without being blown up by bombs. What people want is order. Therefore, to drain the swamps of hatred and extremism and terrorism that have been fed by Mideast democracy, we must spread dictatorship throughout the region. “Such a scenario is not only possible, suggests a New York academic, but desirable. The Telegraph reports:
After hundreds of British and American troops died trying to restore democracy to Iraq, a new lobby in the United States has concluded the country must go back to dictatorship.This is not exactly a new idea. From the start, a small contingent of anti-democracy neocons including Daniel Pipes and Barbara Lerner have said that the best option for Iraq would be a relatively benign, Western-oriented strong man. My understanding is that before the invasion a number of neocons saw Ahmed Chalabi in that role, but somehow, in some internal ideological struggle I’ve never understood and that I’ve never seen explained, that idea was pushed aside by the idea of democracy. At VFR since 2003, I and various commenters have repeatedly returned to the strongman solution. I have written that instead of disbanding the whole army, we should have just gotten rid of the top Ba’athists and looked for promising leaders in the middle ranks. Of course, it’s too late for any of that now, if it could have ever worked, since anyone backed by the U.S. would be opposed as a U.S. puppet. But if that’s the case, how can Oppenheimer’s idea possibly succeed? If anyone backed by the Americans will be rejected, then we cannot influence the outcome there, period. What then is Plan B? It is Plan A without the strongman. We withdraw our forces from the populated parts of Iraq, let the Iraqis fight it out, and only intervene for strategic purposes such as to protect the oil fields or to prevent Iran from intervening or to destroy al Qaeda if it takes power. Anyone have a better idea?
(Folks, do you realize that we’ve now been having this same conversation about how to end the violence of post-invasion Iraq for a period of time several months longer than our country was involved in World War II? Don’t you love Bush? Isn’t he a fun president?)