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Sunday, November 30, 2003
I was reading an article where it quoted an Iraqi man who was glad when a couple of American soldiers were killed in his town. I can't remember where the article was but if anyone can find it let me know. The article really got me to thinking. This Iraqi man was earning 10 times the salary he was under Saddam and yet he still considered the Americans 'invaders' who didn't care about the Iraqi's themselves.
This article got me thinking because one of G.W.'s main reasons for going into Iraq was to begin the spread of democracy throughout the Middle East in the hope that this would provide the best means of achieving long term peace. Now I'm not opposed to imposing democracy by force of arms. Its been done before and more often than not things turn out for the best. But the more often I hear stories like I mentioned above, I begin to wonder what the likelihood of this strategy succeeding is.
Here is why I think this. First off, we assume that people will do what is in their best interests. It's clear though that the man in the article could care less what is in the best interests of himself or his children. Perhaps pride has got the better of him. Perhaps he was in some sort of position to benefit from Saddam's rule. Whatever.
Also we assume that democracy can be imposed on a nation or group of people. But I wonder what examples history provides us that this can be done. Many people use the example of Germany and Japan after WWII, and I've done this myself, but does it really apply in this case. These were not countries that were 'ripe' for democracy. These countries had been pounded into oblivion and the will of their peoples had been crushed. This has not happened in Iraq or other Arab countries that require 'transformation'.
Victor Davis Hanson goes into this several times in his writing in that in order to impose your will on a defeated adversary, the adversary much have been totally crushed and have no other alternative than to accept the terms given to them. History proves this out continuously.
So all this leaves us in a paradox. First we are to 'humane' to inflict sufficient suffering on our enemies to ensure their submission. In Iraq, the army and Saddam's henchmen melted away, simply because not in their right minds would they face off against a Western army (another of V.D.H.'s ideas). So they melt away into the population and slowly grind away against American forces.
But given open borders (globalization) and the fact that the hatred of the West in the Arab world will not cure itself, what does the future hold? Hatred's do not melt away. Ever. They must be fought and punished. But if terrorists and people who spread this hate are allowed to travel freely around the world how long will it be before small and large scale terrorist activities become commonplace in Western societies?
Does this imply that a large scale conflict between the Muslim world and the Western world is inevitable. Sadly I'm beginning to think this is so as each day goes by. Do I blame G.W. Bush for this? Absolutely not. This hatred has been growing for several decades, well before G.W. showed up on the scene, and it'll probably be here long after he is gone. In my mind the hatred will grow stronger and stronger and the attacks against the West will continue to increase in number. This can continue only for a certain period of time until Western societies get fed up and decide to decisively strike out.
Hopefully these ideas do not offend anyone but it all seems to me to be history marching once again. I know there are many Muslims and Arabs who have no problems with the Western or Christian world in particular. But hatreds grow and get out of control to the point where no one can pull back. Imagine many people in pre-Nazi Germany. They must have known where the Nazi's were going to lead them. But what could they do? How could they turn back after the wheels had been set in motion?