Monday, August 15, 2005

Lowered expectations for Iraq - surprise, surprise!

Looks like the U.S. government is finally admitting that Iraq isn't going to magically become a happy home of gleeful American democracy with peace, lots of oil production, and immense brotherly love for the U.S.

No shit, Sherlock.

From the article:
"We set out to establish a democracy, but we're slowly realizing we will have some form of Islamic republic," said another U.S. official familiar with policymaking from the beginning, who like some others interviewed would speak candidly only on the condition of anonymity. "That process is being repeated all over."

Imperative words here are "slowly realizing" - and by slowly they really mean "with the speed of the motion of tectonic plates."

And how were we supposed to establish a Western democracy in an Islamic country where Saddam had been the epitomy of evil, no doubt, but as a secular pan-Arabist leader? Suddenly they have freedom of religion (read: freedom to fight to the death over their particular branch of Islam). Pan-Arabism is passe - religious states are the in-thing - especially in response to U.S. attempts to force its so-called secular democracy (really founded on Christian values) on the Middle East.

Also from the article:
"We didn't calculate the depths of feeling in both the Kurdish and Shiite communities for a winner-take-all attitude," said Judith S. Yaphe, a former CIA Iraq analyst at the National Defense University.

This is actually a key point. Beyond all of the failures of the administration, trust Prof. Yaphe to come to the crux of the issue (I had her for a class on regional security issues in the Middle East - she is a wonderful, intelligent, well-informed expert on the Middle East). We didn't have sufficiently good intelligence on the ground (relying on such figures as Chalabi - not the most reputable of all sources) to understand the mentality and the actual workings of the various sub-groups in Iraq. This isn't entirely the current administration's fault - Clinton's efforts to cut down on hum-int during the 1990s had long term repercussions on our intelligence gathering capabilities.

Yaphe goes on to say:
"There has been a realistic reassessment of what it is possible to achieve in the short term and fashion a partial exit strategy," Yaphe said. "This change is dictated not just by events on the ground but by unrealistic expectations at the start."


Finally, from the article again:
On security, the administration originally expected the U.S.-led coalition to be welcomed with rice and rosewater, traditional Arab greetings, with only a limited reaction from loyalists of ousted Iraqi president Saddam Hussein.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha....rice...and...rosewater....ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...*deep breath*...ha ha ha ha ha ha ha...


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