The two operant words in Dr. Fukuyama’s dissembling overview on the situation in Mesopotamia are “Iraq” and “Vietnam”. In the long sweep of world history these aren’t the two countries which would jump off the pages of history books when one was researching world superpowers.The fact that our last two solo major mud wrestling matches have been against Division III schools says more about our scheduling practices than our military might.
Behind all the conjecturing and theorizing about the situation in Iraq is the false premise that we can control events there. The major difference between Iraq and Vietnam, from an American perspective, lay not in the relative virtues of those respective peoples but in the inherent moral nature of our society. In Vietnam middle and upper class Anericans were at least sent a draft notice and asked to participate in that ill-fated expedition. Irrespective of how one feels about the military draft, the ramifications were significant. The draft was the catalyzing force behind the growth and scope of the war protests. It signalled the beginning of the neoconservative movement in america. Many of the leaders of that movement formed the New Left of the 1960’s. Senator Norm Coleman protested the Vietnam War. Wolfowitz, Perle, Cheney et al avoided the war. Decades later they would usher in a new era of military aggression no more successful than the one they watched from the Ivory Towers. If Academe truly mirrored America Leo Strauss would go down in history with Jackie Collins and Sidney Sheldon. Unfortunately, his audience was a bit thinner.
We have no military draft now and the elites just send Justiin and Bittany to those mediocre isntitutions of “higher learning” which riddle the American landscape. When it comes to producing diplomas, not even the Chinese rival us.Presidents Johnson and Nixon faced massive protests. I would argue that in the virtual absence of war protests, President Bush face something far worse – apathy and indifference to a war that 98% of Americans have little interest or no stake in.
Avoiding very negative consequences depends on the viability of a national Iraqi Army, as you point out. However, data and good information on the army, much of it being classified, is frustratingly hard to come by. Filling this information gap is the single most important thing a journalist or academic could do to inform the public about the worth of continuing America’s presence in Iraq. Perhaps you, or someone like you, could mount serious research on the subject of forming a national army in multi-ethnic society.
Second, if a multi-ethnic military isn’t likely to work in Iraq, is the second-best option of a mostly Shiite-Kurdish national military that bad of a solution? Often called the 80-% solution, this option might be brutal and morally questionable, but it might be the best hope for medium term stability in Iraq. It seems to be very possible to achieve and couldn’t it dramatically reduce violence (after an initial period of much more severe violence). Could not a strong Shiite army essentially quash the sunni insurgents, thus ending a civil war?
I think that he is right. But I think too that we can succeed, the new estrategy is brilliant, but it will be too much expensive and, at the best, dissapointing.
From my point of view there is no civil war, just a bloody struggle between political factions. The common people everywhere don’t buy radical ideas.
In my view from the beginning it was clear that the USA could not leave in power a cruel, sworn ennemy of the USA, with the potential of building up a threatening military power, and active in providing subsidies to families of palestinian terrorists after suicide attacks on Israel.
Now the USA should concentrate on controlling possible military power buildups in the islamic world and should let the establishment of law and order to the inhabitants of Iraq and Afghanistan.
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Well Francis; YOU wanted It,You got It. Now get YOUR Ass in Uniform and Go Fix It.
‘Those who have Never Been, Will Never Know’
RVN ’70/1 and currently hangimg out in Sai gon on my 6th return to the RVN.