President Bush seemed awfully optimistic last night about success in Iraq. I wish I could share that optimism. I think Iraqis are not up to the challenge of keeping militant Islam from dragging their country back into the stone age.
I kept waiting for the President to use the term "Iraqi-ization" to describe the future strategy in the war. Everyone older than me probably remembers how well "Vietnam-ization" worked back in the 1970's. And that is where I see the one parallel between this war and that one--the people we are fighting for really couldn't care less what form of government they have. The fight for democracy is always honorable--but to waste that sacrifice on people who don't want it (and aren't willing to fight for it themselves) is a shame. There was no real call for a democratic government in Iraq before the war--and I don't see huge rallies in the street from people calling upon their elected government to get something done. Of course we don't see that very often here in the US either--like when state lawmakers disregard their budget deadline and then don't even meet to fix it--but i digress.
I doubt Iraqis would make the cultural changes necessary to make democracy work. Will they guarantee women the same rights as men? Will they allow free speech in all forms--even if it offends their Muslim beliefs? Will they really fight to keep extremists from taking over the government. The Middle East has a very poor record on these points. Ask a Saudi woman if she is an equal to her husband, try reading the "satanic verses" in tehran, and explain to me how Hamas is elected to run the Palestinian authority. Why are Iraqis so much more enlightened than the rest of the Muslim world when it come to running a free and open government?
I hope that my gut feeling on this is wrong on this. Where the loss of vietnam to the communists turned out to be relatively inconsequential--as socialism was about to enter its death throes anyway--the loss of Iraq to extremism will just fuel further expansion of terrorism throughout the world. So go ahead Iraqis--prove me wrong.