Iraq’s multiple personality disorder
The Bush administration’s Iraq policies are doomed by the administration’s attempt to force an alien concept on the people of Iraq. No, not democracy; what’s foreign in this instance is the very concept of a nation called Iraq.
The Iraq we know is a relic of the British Empire, created as a political convenience at the end of World War I. The blueprint for the new “state” was drawn up by a civilian administrator, which may sound familiar to those following current events. It has no basis in history, culture or ethnicity. Britain even installed a non-Iraqi as king of the nation it created, in order to settle a dispute within the Saudi royal family.
The closest parallel to this situation is the former Yugoslavia. We all know what happened to Yugoslavia without Tito and his Communist Party to hold that artificial country together.
The artificiality called Iraq no longer has Saddam Hussein and the thuggish Baathists to hold it together. The centrifugal forces of conflicting religion, ethnicity and tribalism are reducing Iraq to its true status: three or four small nations.
It is our honorable tradition to fight and even die to liberate other people. It is not our tradition to fight and die to force other people to live in an artificial nation created for the convenience of others. Our lives and money are being spent in a futile attempt to put the “Humpty Dumpty” of Saddam’s Iraq back together again—the Bush administration is even talking about bringing Baathist party members back into positions of power!
It isn’t going to work. There is no Iraq to hand over to the U.S.-backed and handpicked government this June, or ever. Imagine the outrage—and the futility—if our troops had been sent to keep Yugoslavia whole. It’s the same thing in Iraq; and unless our policies reflect the reality that the Sunnis, Shiites, Kurds and various tribes don’t want to be in the same country, then we will fail.
We liberated Iraq. Now we must go all the way and support the will of its peoples to find their separate destinies. The alternative will be to find us in the midst of a civil war, with our troops the favorite target for all combatants.