2007 June 02 Saturday
Iraqis Prepare For All Out War Once US Withdraws

Edward Wong, a New York Times reporter who has been covering Iraq, says the Iraqis see their war with each other in terms of absolute defeat or victory and are in no mood to compromise with each other and share power.

PERHAPS no fact is more revealing about Iraq’s history than this: The Iraqis have a word that means to utterly defeat and humiliate someone by dragging his corpse through the streets.

The word is “sahel,” and it helps explain much of what I have seen in three and a half years of covering the war.

It is a word unique to Iraq, my friend Razzaq explained over tea one afternoon on my final tour. Throughout Iraq’s history, he said, power has changed hands only through extreme violence, when a leader was vanquished absolutely, and his destruction was put on display for all to see.

This is why democracy can't work in Iraq. The Iraqis are not egalitarian. They understand submission and dominance, not equality. What is amazing about Wong's article is that it is published in the New York Times, the epitome of high church liberalism. Do the editors appreciate the underlying message of this article? Do the editors understand that the Iraqis are a massive advertisement against leftie multiculturalism and that the Gray Lady is basically running that advert in their reports from Iraq?

The Iraqis do not think with our values. They are very different from us. We should make decisions on Iraq based on this basic fact: The different cultures of the world really are different from each other.

The Iraqis are not weary of war. They hunger for absolute dominance over each other.

But in this war, the moment of sahel has been elusive. No faction — not the Shiite Arabs or Sunni Arabs or Kurds — has been able to secure absolute power, and that has only sharpened the hunger for it.

Listen to Iraqis engaged in the fight, and you realize they are far from exhausted by the war. Many say this is only the beginning.

President Bush, on the other hand, has escalated the American military involvement here on the assumption that the Iraqi factions have tired of armed conflict and are ready to reach a grand accord. Certainly there are Iraqis who have grown weary. But they are not the ones at the country’s helm; many are among some two million who have fled, helping leave the way open for extremists to take control of their homeland.

Read the whole article.

The United States should pull out of Iraq and leave it to the groups there to fight it out and for a victor to emerge. We could help the Kurds secede if we want to have friends in the area once we are gone. But what matters most is that we should leave. The Iraqis are going to fight it out once we are gone. If we leave tomorrow or next year or 5 years from now or 10 years from now they will still fight it out in a war where the factions see only total defeat or total victory as possible outcomes.

What should Americans learn from this war? That not all the peoples of the world are Jeffersonian democrats or liberals. That some peoples despise the idea of equality and prefer dominance and total defeat of other groups. That Western ideals are not Muslim ideals. That Arab Muslims are not compatible with Western democracy and freedom. Americans should learn that we need to keep Muslims out of the West as our best means to protect ourselves from their thoroughly illiberal religion.

We need to tell our elected representatives that we should leave Iraq. George W. Bush is beyond reason. Only Congress can get us out. Also see my post US Soldiers In Iraq See The War As Pointless.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 June 02 11:14 PM  Mideast Iraq Democracy Failure

Tano said at June 3, 2007 12:31 AM:

I dont understand your comments about the NYT and multiculturalism.

Obviously an attitude that one faction must destroy others, and drag them through the street, is the opposite of a "multiculturalist" attitude. Why do you imagine that the NYT wouldnt understand that?

Why do you imagine they would have any problem pointing out that the Iraqis are not adherents of "multiculturalism"? Are you under some illusion that they have been arguing that the Iraqis WERE multiculturalists? I dont see your point.

Randall Parker said at June 3, 2007 7:53 AM:


I'm sure the NYT understands it. But at the same time I can understand why they wouldn't want to draw attention to widespread views among Iraqis. If views which are problematic from a liberal perspective are widespread then that means that the illiberal nature of a society does not come from small elites but rather from the masses.

People who aren't tolerant of other cultures and religions and ethnic groups would tend not to make good immigrants.

Look, democracy and open borders are both based on the idea that the masses are wise and tolerant. Knock away the latter and at least one of the former becomes undesirable.

Alex said at June 3, 2007 10:43 PM:

Proponents of multiculturalism seem to define it as a state where, by definition, different cultures remain distinct but also get along...and it's at least emplied that they are equal in all politically important ways. But in practice multicultralism is basically separate tribes retaining their culture within a single polity or other system (like a university). In a robust political society such as ours, and one that still has a farly dominat culture (in our case, our western-english inheritance), the problems are relatively tolerable, though it seems that the situtation is not sustainable (ie, we're deteriorating). But in much of the world, such as Iraq, no such great system is there.

Kenelm Digby said at June 4, 2007 4:10 AM:

Perhaps this is the most hateful thing for any so-called 'libers' to hear, but I inherited most of my aatitudes and feelings on 'race' and 'ethnicity' from my father.
He was of the generation that fought in World War 2, and was posted in North Africa - from whence he returned with profoundly negative impressions of the character and behavior of the indigenous population.
The characteristics of Arabs that you describe today, my father told me of at least thirty years' ago.

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