Sunday, December 10, 2006

Let God Sort 'Em Out

I don't know if what I'm about to say is right or not. I'm not advocating it as a thought-out plan that I can defend rationally. This is an emotional response to Iraq, though I'd be interested in hearing what a political/historical/rational rebuttal would be.

David Brooks' Sunday column in the New York Times (free here) looks back from some unspecified day in the future to assess the damage done by a U.S. pullout from Iraq circa next year. As you might expect, the Middle East has fallen apart...from its, um, y'know, terrific current state.

I've opposed the Iraq War from the start. Call me nuts, but as a New Yorker, I was kind of interested in finishing the fucking job in Afghanistan/Pakistan. That said, once we went in to Iraq and fucked the place up, in a weird kind of way, the U.S. failure there made me, in essence, pro-war. Meaning, in Powell's phrase, I bought the idea that "we broke it, we bought it." I thought we had a moral obligation to protect the Iraqis from the chaotic forces we had unleashed. Now, it seems pretty clear, the Iraqis want us out.

And I'm a lot less sure these days that they, or the rest of the Middle East, deserve having American blood spilled to preserve their stability. And the reason for that is the rise of the militias. I'm sure there are lots, maybe millions, of Iraqis who embody the ideal Iraqi we were told about: The secular, free-market, tolerant, modernist Iraqi. There just aren't enough of them willing to fight for that kind of society.

So, to David Brooks, I'm inclined to say, basically, bring it on. Let the Middle East go. If they want to kill each other over which descendant of Mohammed is Allah's real best buddy, well, then--what's the phrase?--fuck 'em. Are we really worried about what these messed up morons would do if they got a nation-state of their own?


At least we'd know where to find them. And I wouldn't mind giving Osama bin Laden the added burden of having to keep the potholes filled in whatever backwater state would have him as boss. What Bush has wrong about Iraq is that democracy is not a cure-all. The founding fathers knew you need more than just democracy. You need things like freedom of the press and religion. You need education.

Without those things, democracy can yield leaders like Hezbollah and Muqtada al-Sadr. The founding fathers also said you get the leaders you deserve. Maybe it's time to give radical, fundamentalist Islam a shot at the big time. If that's the way Iraq wants to go, or any other country, maybe we should allow the world to see how it fares. Not like Iran -- where the zealots inherited a western-style infrastructure in toto -- but starting fresh.

I think radical, fundamentalist Islam is incompatible with a successful nation-state. I don't think Iran's going to make it for the long haul in its current state.

And if such a state were successful, then what? Fight us? Fight Europe? Good. Any bets on how long that conflict would last?

I don't know, maybe all this makes me a conservative, or even a neo-con, but I do think to some extent the people of a society are responsible for the leadership they tolerate. If the Iraqis don't want us there, and don't have the collective will to support secular institutions, well, shit, what are we doing there?

I'm not saying we shouldn't have some kind of mechanism for helping or extricating modernist Iraqis if their fellow countrymen want to turn their country into a war of rival religious factions, but to keep propping up a TYPE of society that so few of them seem committed to (and voter turnout is not, as President Bush would suggest, endorsement of a TYPE of democracy, just of their willingness to choose) for such ill-defined goals seems criminal at this point.

Islamic fundamentalism wants a chance to run countries. Lots of Arab Muslims want to live in such a country.

Osama bin Laden was a bigger threat to us than Afghanistan was. As we saw, it's a lot easier to fight the Taliban. Maybe if we had more Talibans, we'd have fewer bin Ladens.

At least we'd know where to drop the bombs. If anyone wants to talk me off the ledge, I'm open to it.


Anonymous said...

it would be nice it we could go throughout the entire world and rid ourselves of terrorists, but that will never happen. so should we just give up and wait for the next attack?

Atheist said...

"as a new yorker" you wanted to KILL KILL KILL the people that the terrorists told you were responsible for 911.

"as a new yorker you wanted to finish the job in Afganistan and Pakistan."

YOU KNOW GODDAMN WELL THAT THE GovMint of the USA attacked new york on 911.

Anonymous said...

you got to understand really was what we experienced during 9/11 and where we are today. A war was brought to us on U.S. soil in an event that could have been a terrorist scare tactic or WAR brought on who knows by what (it happened) and in the military's eye we are giving back what was brought to us ten fold. Fact is the true identity of the perpetraitor hasn't presented itself yet, (facts are not accurate) but we attack anyway, if we leave the battle ground now of a fight that we might have well started do you think it will go away?
We have opened the next door to the religous war. How many other religions have been braught into this WAR? CATHOLICS; JEWS; MUSLIMS we are talkin an inter world war we will be fighting against our brothers and our brothers brothers.
If we pull out now where will we stand? and to tell you the truth the military that i have talked with. They have trained them selves for only WAR; DEFEND; LIVE. Society has brought all our children to the same reality some futuristic defense of what it means to live.
WE have WAR in our streets everyday we have the same bombings every other country have.Whats it going to take our military isn't here to protect our own streets. Its time to fight the fight we took on. If we don't, the fight is coming HERE someday in someway. Push on my mighty soldiers Protect the Idea that you love pushing pat what they have told us the Idea our fore fathers is in you that We created, and not what society has gave us. WE are the UNITED STATES of AMERICA. we are not what they think.

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