Washington Libertarian Review

Political commentary from the State of Washington with a libertarian perspective.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq

The Washington Post reports U.S. Lowers Sights On What Can Be Achieved in Iraq.

Yep. Now thoughts are turning to an exit strategy. "We've said we won't leave a day before it's necessary. But necessary is the key word -- necessary for them or for us? When we finally depart, it will probably be for us," a U.S. official said.

Setting aside my fundamental problem with the reasons for the invasion--wrongheaded preemptive strike foreign policy, no WMD after all, etc.--I have never understood the arrogance of the Bush administration, thinking it could impose a Western style democracy on a culture that has thousands of years of older, richer traditions. Several other tyrants, Khan, Alexander, Napoleon, the British, the Russians, have tried and failed.

The article reports that even basic elements of infrastructure--i.e., water and electricity--are in shorter supply than when Saddam was in power. And instead of a withering insurgency, it continues to grow. Barbers are getting murdered for shaving men contrary to religious custom.

And by far most important in my view, the rule of law simply has not taken hold. The very concept of a written constitution has provoked death threats. Meanwhile, administration officials scratch their heads and lower their ambitions.

"Under pressure to get a constitution done, they've lowered their own ambitions in terms of getting a document that is going to be very far-reaching and democratic. We also don't have the time to go through the process we envisioned when we wrote the interim constitution -- to build a democratic culture and consensus through debate over a permanent constitution," said Larry Diamond, a Stanford University democracy expert who worked with the U.S. occupation government and wrote the book "Squandered Victory: The American Occupation and the Bungled Effort to Bring Democracy to Iraq."

The goal now is to ensure a constitution that can be easily amended later so Iraq can grow into a democracy, U.S. officials say.

Hmmm. An easily amendable constitution? What's the point? As soon as we have left (We ARE leaving, sometime, aren't we?) one of two things will happen--one faction or another will amend it to favor itself or it will be thrown out altogether.

Mortimer Adler once said, "America doesn't fix it's problems. It leaves them behind."

Just as Nixon's "peace with honor" exit strategy for Vietnam failed, here is one more mess for us to be embarrassed about.


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