Sunday | April 06, 2003
A question for the pro-war crowd
Our pro-war friends keep saying the Iraqis will be given their democracy and we'll build a great society for them.
When has the US or any country done this before?
Before you say Germany and Japan, you have to remember both had the fundamentals of a democratic state before the Second World War. Tojo was Prime Minister, not dictator, for one thing and Hitler was Chancellor.
I don't think the sky is falling. I'm just extremely leery of happy predicitions of success in a place that the US understands so poorly.
I just want to know what you base your optimism on. Because I don't see it. I see a country filled with bitter grudges, endemic corruption and no civil institutions untainted by either politics of a very politicized religion. I see people who have far more to gain by putting bullets into American soldiers than accepting their aid. In fact, I see more people invested in US failure, like Iraq's neighbors, than in US success.
And the narrowcasting of the occupation, which belies the planning done by the Allies in Japan and Germany, which took years, seems to reek of the kind of business failures I've spent four years covering. Only people who agree with the plan are allowed to participate and that's always a bad sign in business. You need in-house skeptics, and the Occupation team for Iraq seems to lack them or any diplomats who have extensive dealings with Iraq.
The war is being waged on the cheap, and so is the occupation. How is the US going to provide services without the UN? Our civic affairs units have their limits. NGO's are leery of working under US command or control.
What the comparisons of WWII lack are the fact that the US spent years building up the infrastructure to run Europe and Asia. We trained thousands of soldiers in European languages, hired a range of experts to plan for peace while the war was ongoing. All of the government's departments participated in this.
I am just wondering why people believe the US can deliver a democratic state to Iraqis quickly and without any significant opposition from various ethnic groups and political factions?
Steve GilliardPosted April 06, 2003 11:33 AM | Comments (94)