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Friday, August 25, 2006

Iraq's Clock Is Ticking

In a depressing, pessimistic and, I fear, utterly realitic assessment, Ralph Peters explains how Arab nations are unable to have democracies. That is not to denigrate individual Arabs who are "just as American as any other citizens- because their families escaped the Middle East".

Peters sees Iraq as the Arabic "Last Chance". Otherwise, the place should have been carved up into 3 smaller countries (as its borders were artificially created almost a century ago) and left at that.

Writes Peters:

This is a homemade failure. Through their own choices, cherished beliefs, values and norms, Arabs have condemned themselves to strategic incompetence. No society that oppresses women, denies advancement on merit even to men, indulges in fantastic hypocrisy, wallows in corruption, undervalues secular learning, reduces its god to a nasty disciplinarian and comforts itself with conspiracy theories will ever compete with us.

Some one advised me early in the Iraq War that the focus should have been to oust Saddam and leave Iraq to figure it out. I think there is a massive downside at not trying to help it develop into what Lebanon should have been, a real democracy. But we need to remember that democracy goes well beyond mere voting rights. And while the USA had nothing close to the terrorism that Iraqis have faced during its infancy, we still did not fully tune the governmental structure here until 1789. While Western America had its version of suicide bombers, the Indians, Madison, Hamilton and Company could develop government in the big cities in the East. Iraqi statesmen have no such quiet.

It still deserves more time.

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