August 27, 2003

Iraq's coming around II

Salam Pax writes "Maybe we Iraqis did expect too much from the American invasion, we did hope there is going to be an easy way. Get rid of Saddam and have the Americans help us rebuild. I don't think like that anymore. I am starting to believe that the chaos we will go thru the next 5 or 10 years is part of the price we will *have* to pay to have our freedom. This Beirut-ification is the way to learn how we should live as a free country and respect each other; it is just too painful to admit. It is too painful to have to admit that the [burn it down to build it up] process is what we will have to go thru."

It could be true that I'm "not the sharpest crayon in the shed" but it does seem to me that there were unrealistic expectations that the US would come in and build up Iraq without the Iraqis having to bother to sacrifice, even bleed, for their own liberty tree. Those expectations are obviously evaporating if not already long gone.

One valid question is whether the US is going slow on purpose. I don't think it is. I think that what's coming into play is a very unusual set of cultural assumptions. Of course the Iraqis have to pitch in on their own liberation. Of course they'll spontaneously organize into something that is more fitting for the long haul than anything the US could have figured out for them. Of course such a situation will lead to a long-term favorable situation for the US both in Iraq and the world at large.

The idea of rushing in and doing it all for them simply isn't on the radar screen because, for americans, especially conservatives, doing that is self-evidently dumb. We tried that with the Great Society welfare reforms. It took us 30 years of incalculable social destruction before we were able to start the repair process. Don't expect the US to do that again anytime soon.

In the end, if we stay the course, Iraq's going to have a shot at actually being a non-resentful member of the 1st world. Wouldn't that be a welcome breath of fresh air.

Posted by TMLutas at August 27, 2003 11:31 AM