October 16, 2003


Time for Iraqis to run Iraq (Daniel Pipes, 10/16/03, Asia Times)

What to do?

It's simple, actually: Turn power over to the Iraqis. Let them form a government. Reduce the scope of presidential envoy L Paul Bremer's role. [...]

So major a change in direction has unpleasant implications for Washington. It raises questions about American staying power; forfeits much of the credibility that came from the successful war against Saddam; risks throwing away a chance of victory; and permits Arab, European and Democratic critics to crow. Worse, it will be noted that sustained violence against US troops works, perhaps inviting further attacks on US forces elsewhere.

These are valid reasons not to pull out - but they lose their pertinence if one expects, as I do, that the mission in Iraq will end in failure. I predict that unhappy outcome, not due to shortcomings on the American side, but by calculating the US motivation for being there versus the Iraqi motivation to remove them. The latter strikes me as more formidable. It reflects the intense hostility commonly felt by Muslims against those non-Muslims who would rule them. For examples, note the violence undertaken by (among others) Palestinians, Chechens, Kashmiris and Moros.

From this pattern, I draw a rule of thumb: unless a non-Muslim ruler has compelling reasons to control a Muslim population, it will eventually be worn down by the violence directed against it and give up. Note that the US government has already given up twice in recent years, in Lebanon and Somalia.

And no one in the West ever has a compelling enough reason to dominate another sovereign people.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 16, 2003 8:37 AM

I'm not sure I get Dr. Pipes here. Isn't it almost a blanket assumption that around summer of 2004, a significant draw-down will be underway, almost regardless of events?

We just are NOT going to slug this out at 100,000 plus troops for years. Not gonna happen, why even discuss it. We'd like maybe a Korea lke presence, focused in a couple areas while Iraqis live their lives. If that is not acceptable to them, like in the Philipines, well, so be it.

We are in there NOW to stabilize and give a new, better regime a chance. It really is up to Iraqis, not us. Pipes drawback is not just inevitable, but I've always assumed to be the basic plan.

Posted by: Andrew X at October 16, 2003 9:43 AM

Uh huh. If we'd wanted an infriendly, dangerous and antiamerican regime in Iraq, we already had one. Could have saved ourselves a lot of trouble by taking the French approach.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 16, 2003 3:42 PM

The US does have a VERY good reason to stay the course in Iraq, the very same reason we went to begin with, in '90. Oil. Black Gold.
Not Iraq's, mind you, but the entire region's.

Of course, for the same amount of money that we've spent, and committed to spending, for this war, we could have commercialized one or more alternative energy sources; But Man is nothing, if not a Fool.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 17, 2003 1:12 AM


Why? What are they going to do with it but sell it to us? That's why we should have let Saddam have Kuwait and Arabia.

Posted by: oj at October 17, 2003 9:49 AM

Which alternative fuel would you put the money on, Michael?

Posted by: Harry Eagar at October 17, 2003 3:49 PM


But, at what price ?
Wasn't the reason that we went in '90, to prevent Saddam from consolidating half of the world's oil reserves ?


Solar, wind, and hydrogen. As you no doubt know, the prices of energy production for solar and wind sources have dropped considerably, even without $200 billion dollars in research grants. Once we have commercially viable renewable electricity production, we use said capacity to process hydrogen from water. As you've commented before, one of the problems with natural energy production is the inherent variability of production, due to weather. Hydrogen production is an efficient and high value way to store the energy production when working, and there's no inconvenience when production is slowed or halted.

Further, I don't propose to fully replace our current petroleum economy; Merely to supplement it enough that domestic production of oil is sufficient for our needs.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 18, 2003 6:01 PM

He wanted to get richer--big deal. How does it help us that the Kuwaitis get richer instead?

Posted by: oj at October 18, 2003 6:21 PM

The Kuwaitis didn't get FAR richer, as, if you recall, there was a worldwide oil glut for many years after Desert Storm.

If the oil, and control of it, is irrelevant, what exactly are we doing in Iraq ? This isn't the most efficient way to fight terror and roll back the Muslim hordes.

Posted by: Michael Herdegen at October 19, 2003 12:32 AM


Finishing the war we never should have fought.

Posted by: oj at October 19, 2003 5:39 AM