2006 November 28 Tuesday
US To Exit Iraq By Blaming Iraqis

How will US leaders rationalize a US withdrawal from Iraq? By coming to a consensus that the Iraqis have shown themselves unworthy of our assistance.

From troops on the ground to members of Congress, Americans increasingly blame the continuing violence and destruction in Iraq on the people most affected by it: the Iraqis.

Even Democrats who have criticized the Bush administration's conduct of the occupation say the people and government of Iraq are not doing enough to rebuild their society. The White House is putting pressure on the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, and members of the bipartisan Iraq Study Group have debated how much to blame Iraqis for not performing civic duties.

This marks a shift in tone from earlier debate about the responsibility of the United States to restore order after the 2003 invasion, and it seemed to gain currency in October, when sectarian violence surged. Some see the talk of blame as the beginning of the end of U.S. involvement.

Imagine, if you will, a group getting together to blame blind people for not becoming great painters. Or imagine a group blaming deaf people for not composing great music. Blaming Iraqis is akin to such foolishness.

The Iraqis do not have the qualities needed to make Iraq over in a style close to that of Western democracies. The real failures are to be found in those who thought the Iraqis ever did possess the right stuff for Western style government. But those people do not want to get the blame. Plus, far too many of them do not want to reexamine their assumptions about human nature even though what we see in Iraq every day argues against both neoconservative and liberal views of human nature.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 November 28 11:23 PM  Mideast Iraq Exit Debate

John S Bolton said at November 29, 2006 12:29 AM:

The strategy being conceived by smart people who pride themselves on their internationalism and lack of insensitivity, is to be shielded from blame.
The smarter someone is, the more likely he is to believe that a population, no matter how hostile, can be revolutionized.
Killing such hopes is a sin of the kind Charles Murray spoke of.
To say that we can't just unpack a theory derived from introspection onto any random hostile nation, and make new westerners out of them, sins against the hope cherished more fiercely, the higher up the IQ scale one goes, of an other-worldy transformative power of mind.
The left is especially vulnerable to such hopes, as shown in the communist outrages.
But how could the moderate right have ever become so unrealistic, if they did actually believe?

Stephen said at November 29, 2006 2:57 AM:

John, you are really on an uphill battle to pretend that this cock-up is owned by anybody except the right winger anti-intellectuals. The Iraq clusterfuck will go down in history as an example to the world that belief comes a poor second to intellect. The right-wing prefers belief over science, it prefers the good'ole boy to the intellectual, it prefers ignorance over knowledge.

PS: The right winger anti-intellectuals voted for George.

PPS: Twice, because they recoil from facts and analysis, in preference for belief in some divine destiny.

PPPS: Sorry, I can't resist saying it again, "TWICE". They're the people you're defending!!

No-PC-wars said at November 29, 2006 11:23 AM:

Randall Parker:
"Imagine, if you will, a group getting together to blame blind people for not becoming great painters. Or imagine a group blaming deaf people for not composing great music. Blaming Iraqis is akin to such foolishness."

Iraqis are not blind or deaf. They are not children. There are many countries out there that are poorer, have fewer resources and lower IQ and still manage to have some resemblance of law and order and normal life.

Iraqis have free will and they have choosen to follow their death-cult religion to the T. The fact that whole enterprise was designed by delusional ideologues and mis-executed by Jorge The Moron does not excuse Iraqis.

Ned said at November 29, 2006 1:31 PM:

Stephen -

If by right-wing anti-intellectuals, you mean the neocons, I agree with you. They are the one who sold this preposterous war to the American people. Whether the neocons are truly conservative is debatable - they seem more like a fusion of Leon Trotsky and Woodrow Wilson to me - and neither of those worthies was particularly conservative, to say the least. But while we're bashing the Right about this fiasco, please remember that 29 of 50 Senate Democrats voted for the resolution authorizing the war (including Kerry, Clinton, Reid and Edwards). Also 81 Democratic members of the House.

RobertHume said at November 29, 2006 1:58 PM:

Corresponding to the disaster which this point of view has led us to in Iraq is the disaster of unlimited immigration. This is thought to be OK because all people are of equal IQ and will swiftly assimilate to our culture.

Exactly to the degree that this was untrue in Iraq, it is untrue with respect to immigration and we will have a corresponding disaster. Only this time, we will not be able to withdraw from the problem.

tommy said at November 29, 2006 2:29 PM:

I agree with No-PC-Wars. This war was a mistake, no doubt. On the other hand, we didn't create the sectarian and tribal hatreds that are ripping Iraq apart. In fact, the rift between Sunni and Shia is older than the United States is. Islam is a truculent doctrine, pure and simple.

Randall Parker said at November 29, 2006 5:29 PM:


But the neocons are intellectuals. Also, they had many liberal allies. Go read The New Republic. From her position on the New York Times news staff Judith Miller helped make the war possible. Is she a neocon or a liberal?

The idea of converting Iraqis to democracy was made credible because the Left has done such a great job of stigmatizing and marginalizing realists about human nature.

I'm still waiting for the Leftists and liberals to state that democracy can't last in low IQ countries.

You willing to state that genetic factors contribute to the lack of democracy in the Middle East?

Randall Parker said at November 29, 2006 5:41 PM:


I've never argued that low average IQs are Iraqi's only problem. I've repeatedly argued that consanguineous marriage and Islam are big problems. Likely other genetic factors that influence cognition in other ways as well as cultural factors are at work as well.

But low IQ countries are low per capita GDP countries and democracy always fails in such countries. See my post Low Per Capita Income Countries Never Remain Democracies.

BTW, anyone else trying to figure out if Lebanon is about to have a civil war? Anyone want to give odds?

tommy said at November 29, 2006 6:33 PM:

"BTW, anyone else trying to figure out if Lebanon is about to have a civil war? Anyone want to give odds?"

Much greater than 50/50. If there are more assassinations and Hezbollah and Syria get what they have been after then the non-Shiites in Lebanon will feel cheated. If they either don't engage in further assassinations or future assassinations are unsuccessful, Hezbollah will likely try and topple the government forcibly. Walid Phares, one of MSBNC's analysts, predicted this exact outcome as soon as the Israelis withdrew from south Lebanon and he has been pretty much on the mark on these sort of things. He is originally from Lebanon, incidentally.

Tony said at November 30, 2006 3:39 AM:

Re Lebanon and civil war. One factor not taken into consideration is that Christians are leaving Lebanon IN DROVES. they see that, given the dempgraphics, they have no future there. They might think it's not worth fighting for. What is certain is that the Hizbollah/Isreali war will erupt again in due course

Bob Badour said at November 30, 2006 3:55 PM:
BTW, anyone else trying to figure out if Lebanon is about to have a civil war? Anyone want to give odds?

Sadly, I don't care one way or the other. Lebanon has no chance as a united polity without massive oppression and/or ethnic cleansing. Lebanon cannot maintain anything even remotely resembling a monopoly on violence.

No matter what happens, good people--some of whom I know and like--are going to suffer greatly.

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