Iraq theories flawed

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Alan Schorr made some good points in his Aug. 19 letter and may eventually be proven right that in removing Saddam from power we've done nothing more than unleash a civil war in Iraq. The Bush people's predictions of the populace welcoming their deliverance was indeed naive, oversimplifying a scene of immense complexity and pent-up dynamism. Mr. Schorr is also correct in his description of "the insurgency" as being made up of Baathists and Islamo-fascists propagating mayhem in what we call "the war in Iraq." His conclusions from that point are different than mine.

The mantra of how democracy cannot be introduced into a society that has no tradition of it is widely accepted but wrong. Germany and Japan, especially the latter, had no tradition of democracy whatever until it was imposed upon them following World War II. It could be argued that only abject defeat allowed this, but it is nonetheless true. It is also undeniable that 7 million Iraqis cast ballots last spring in a process that, however flawed, demonstrated their individual wills roughly in proportion with our own. That they did so in spite of deadly threat only underscores the point.

Let's look at the longer term. I believe that Iraq was so debilitated through Saddam's plundering and repression that civil war, if not complete chaos, was inevitable in any case and very well could have resulted in a far worse scenario than there is now. The various United Nations programs formulated to deal with Saddam were either failing, corrupted or incompetent by any reasonable definition.

The "no blood for oil" people need to grow up too. The leadership of this country, be it Democrat or Republican, is bound by oath to be custodian to our strategic interests. Like it our not, right now access to world petroleum sources is primary among these, as it is for every other developed or developing country. Iraq is obviously central to the subject, so get used to it. That doesn't mean we have a right to profligate consumption of the stuff; it means that modern society depends on it like you and I depend on our next breath.

Having said that, I'd add that after three decades of politicians blathering about "freeing us from dependency on foreign oil" it is really time to do something about it.

Rick Kaufman


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