October 10, 2004

Arab Humiliation

One of the biggest problems in the ideologically poisonous brew of the arab world is the problem of arab humiliation. The arabs feel, rightly, that they were on top of the world and now are eating everyone else's dust. This feeling has been accumulating for literally hundreds of years and has become embedded into their culture.

Any serious effort to remake the arab world without addressing their humiliation is doomed to failure yet no temporary band aid will do the trick. The only solution is to foster arab victories, to set the stage for healthy wins on their part but not to win for them. And when they fall down (as will inevitably happen some of the time) we must immediately pick them back up and send them back into battle to win again.

Looking through this prism, our current situation in Iraq takes on a very different character. Pouring enough troops into Iraq so that we can win the war there merely sets up another self-doubting, weak arab state, another in a long series of castles built on sand. If we pull out, no matter who wins there, they still will live with the knowledge that they are only a play government in a play country that can be destroyed at whim by the giant to the west. Either course leads to an Iraqi government that has a giant chip on its shoulder, a huge number of petro-dollars, and a burning sense of secret shame that must be erased somehow.

So the best chance we have is the middle course that we've picked. We act to keep the fight fair and create victory after victory for a free iraqi people to be able to honestly lay claim to their own country. This makes talking about what we're doing in Iraq very tricky. It's an alien culture we don't understand very well. It's a shame culture with a lot of humiliation piled on over the years. We want them to win. We're helping them to win. But can we lay things out in that fashion and not add to their feelings of inferiority? Is it better to just sit down and shut up and do the work without crowing about it? The Bush administration seems to have come down on that side of the argument. It handicaps them electorally but they apparently feel strongly that it's good policy.

Whether Kerry would cut and run or reinforce our troops in Iraq, he is not going to do anything for the sense of humiliation and lack of control over their own destiny that plague Iraq as it plagues the rest of the arab world. I wish it were different.

Posted by TMLutas at October 10, 2004 02:14 AM