Iraq Strategy

This Iraqi is intent on looking for conspiracy theories as to what America is "really up to" in Iraq. How difficult is it to understand? There were numerous reasons for toppling Saddam. There wasn't just one reason. The most important reason was as stated - an opportunity to question the Iraqi WMD people in an environment where they didn't have to risk having their wives being raped and killed for saying the wrong thing. But AFTER the decision has been made to topple it, the strategy was to create a secular capitalist liberal democracy, just like any other western country. It was always strange that there were no Arab countries like that, and as good scientists, we sought to determine if there was something genetically different about Arabs such that democracy couldn't work for them. So, it's quite straightforward. You give Iraq the best chance of having democracy work.

You first of all go in with a light force, not enough to conquer the country and assert control. That way you can find out what Iraqis really want to do if they have no-one controlling them via rule of law. What we learnt from that is that they were more interested in stealing things than attacking infidels. That was a great start! Far less bloodshed than the worst-case scenarios. Basically the Iraqis were materialistic animals like the rest of us. Capitalism should work.

Then the institutions were set up. New police and new army, that aren't tainted by the sins of the old security forces. Yes, there was a bit of chaos because of this. The military is capable of dealing with that, eventually. You must understand that this is a long-term project. If there's a bit of short-term chaos, so be it. Ok, so new laws protecting the rights of minorities, new security forces to enforce those laws. New government ministries where corruption is not allowed. Then transition from a US administration to SELECTED Iraqis, so that everyone can see an example of Iraqis running a modern liberal democracy themselves. Then transition from a SELECTED government to an ELECTED government, and hope that the Iraqi people will be smart enough to vote for honorable Iraqis who will not be corrupt. Preferably by electing Allawi. Ok, so the Iraqis didn't elect Allawi, but nevermind. The people that they did elect don't appear to be tearing down the institutions that were built up.

Why was there a "rush" to war? First of all, 12 years is not technically a "rush". Secondly, we were convinced that in the long term, that democracy in Iraq would work. The security forces would be trained up and the war would be won. The longer it goes on, the better the result (ie more reconstruction, more security forces). So the more time between the start of the war, and the next US presidential elections, the more likely it was that we could point to success in Iraq, and not jeapordize the long-term campaign.

Why was only the oil ministry secured? Because it was the only thing that factored in to the neocon nation-building strategy. It was important that Iraq had a source of income so that it could afford a large number of security forces without relying on external aid. This was one of that factors that made us think that democracy in Iraq would be successful. Another factor was that Iraq had few Islamic radicals. Yet another factor was that the bulk of the country, ie the Shiites and the Kurds, should welcome a change that ended their status as second-class citizens, and there would be lots of people willing to volunteer for the new security services.

On the economic front, heaps of US taxpayer money was poured in to kickstart a robust economy. Oil money also now being spent on the people instead of Saddam's palaces. Theoretically, it should all work, unless as some (usually racist left-wing westerners) postulated, that Arabs are incapable of democracy. Abu is spending all his time deriding the short-term chaos, caused primarily by his country having a higher percentage of nutcases than was originally hoped, instead of concentrating on the long-term benefit of transferring from what was arguably the worst tyrant of the 20th century (not even the Nazis raped women and fed them to lions and dobermans) to a modern democracy.

If Abu wants to do something useful, I'd suggest joining the security forces where he will be empowered to help end the chaos, instead of just whinging from the sidelines. Or perhaps spend his time talking to all these allegedly sceptical Iraqis he knows of, explaining to them the long-term benefits of not having a government that can abduct your daughter at gunpoint, rape her, feed her to animals, and you can't report the crime to the police, because it ISN'T ILLEGAL. Abu also seems to have a problem with freedom of speech. He deletes all my comments from his website, as he'd rather believe something sinister about America than hear the in-your-face truth.

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