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2006 November 26 Sunday
GOP Senator Chuck Hagel Says Leave Iraq

Writing a Washington Post Op-Ed Republican Senator for Nebraska Chuck Hagel advocates US withdrawal from Iraq with an essay entitled Leave Iraq, Honorably.

Iraq is not a prize to be won or lost. It is part of the ongoing global struggle against instability, brutality, intolerance, extremism and terrorism. There will be no military victory or military solution for Iraq. Former secretary of state Henry Kissinger made this point last weekend.

Peace with honor! Tricky Dick Nixon would have agreed with his old secretary of state.

Hagel thinks we can not impose democracy on other countries.

The time for more U.S. troops in Iraq has passed. We do not have more troops to send and, even if we did, they would not bring a resolution to Iraq. Militaries are built to fight and win wars, not bind together failing nations. We are once again learning a very hard lesson in foreign affairs: America cannot impose a democracy on any nation -- regardless of our noble purpose.

Now hold on a minute Chuck. Germany! Japan! Ask the war party. They'll tell you this is easy to do. Germany! Japan! We just invade a place and, presto, instant democracy. Never mind that we took over Haiti a few times and it keeps falling back into some pretty brutal rule. Never mind that we've occupied quite a few other countries with less than salubrious results (except we did get some pretty cool war movies out of Vietnam). Only the success stories are cited by those who think the US should radically reshape the world and those radicals never stop to listen to the arguments for why the highly industrial and organized Germans and Japanese are not like Lebanese, Somalis, and Haitians.

We've made mistakes every which way to Sunday.

We have misunderstood, misread, misplanned and mismanaged our honorable intentions in Iraq with an arrogant self-delusion reminiscent of Vietnam. Honorable intentions are not policies and plans. Iraq belongs to the 25 million Iraqis who live there. They will decide their fate and form of government.

Gotta agree on the "arrogant self-delusion" part. But where do these delusions come from? Why were neoconservative and liberal expectations about the Iraqis so far off from reality? Exactly what flawed assumptions about human nature and commonality of humans made these delusions possible? Chuck isn't going to touch that one with a ten foot poll. But might I suggest Islam, consanguineous (cousin) marriage, and IQ for starters?

Chuckie says we have wasted hundreds of billions in Iraq and that the war in Iraq has caused us to take our eyes off the ball over in Afghanistan where the real terrorists are hanging out. Though mostly those guys are in Pakistan and we've taken our eyes of the ball there too.

If you want to know some of the reasons why democracy isn't going to create freedom, fairness, and tolerance for opposing views in Iraq one place to start is my post Low Per Capita Income Countries Never Remain Democracies. Also see my post John Tierney On Cousin Marriage As Reform Obstacle In Iraq.

As for the argument heard in some quarters that we have had great success in creating democracies see my post History Of American Interventions Bodes Poorly For Democracy.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 November 26 01:56 PM  Mideast Iraq Exit Debate


Comments
John S Bolton said at November 26, 2006 10:56 PM:

A good number of failed interventions in support of democracy or freedom have been placed under the tranzis' omerta codes.
Liberia and Sierra Leone are success stories?
The Congo is in decent condition?
Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos just needed a jump start?
Mexico, Cuba and the Phillipines are mentioned in the link.
Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya were liberated, but with no indications of possibilities for democracy.
Nicaragua had numerous US interventions with no better record than if it had become a colony.
In Iraq, there were no Adenauers or Erhards, no De Gasperis, nor Japanese liberals.
There were only Chalabis or unprincipled opportunists and pious moslems.
At least Hagel realizes that the military is for fighting, not for nation-building police actions.
No organization can be established for that purpose; it is contrary to the basics of human existence, as impossible as a child-raising machine.


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