October 4, 2002
WELCOME TO THE RUMP STATE OF BAGHDADISTAN:Curse of T.E. Lawrence's Promise: The Phony Nation of Iraq (Jack Wheeler, Oct. 2, 2002, NewsMax)
The bottom line to this saga is that Iraq is not a real country--like, say, Persia (Iran), which has existed for 2,500 years. It is an artificial construct and can only be held together by force.
Iraq and its people have no history of nor familiarity with democratic institutions. The three former vilayets of which it is composed still have no mutual cohesiveness. Mosul in the north is Kurdish, Basra in the south is Shiite Arab, Baghdad in the middle is Sunni Arab. The Kurds, Shiites, and Sunnis all hate each other. It takes a Saddam to hold the place together.
And that's why Saddam has been kept in place, and allowed to ignore all those U.N. resolutions. A disintegrated Iraq could easily mean an independent Kurdistan, which the millions of Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iran would clamor to join, splitting apart those three countries. It could mean an independent Basra, or just an inchoate anarchy, another Somalia. [...]
America's and the world's security must no longer be held hostage to a promise made by a junior British officer to a bunch of camel-herders wandering around a lost desert 86 years ago--a promise made important by an ambitious journalist’s romantic froth of promotional puffery, resulting in incalculably tragic consequences as the Curse of Lawrence of Arabia.
Presumably everyone's seen Larence of Arabia, but there's an interesting semi-sequel, A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia, with Ralph Fiennes as Lawrence at the post-WWI Paris peace conference, trying to win Arab independence. It's hard to believe the Middle East would be in any worse shape if we'd just bowed out then and let them fight out their own future. Posted by Orrin Judd at October 4, 2002 9:50 AM