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Matthew Maly
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Saturday, October 30, 2004

IRAQI FUBAR:
The Road to God Knows Where

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We have made a desert and called it “peace” – or, at least, “Iraqi democracy.”

Whatever Americans may choose to believe about whether they are really better off with Saddam Hussein gone, it is by now evident that, nineteen months after the US invasion of Iraq, most ordinary Iraqis feel much less secure, much less well-off, and more anti-American than ever before. 

Indeed, the country appears to be spiraling out of control. Nor is it clear that even a sharp post-US election crackdown by Coalition Forces, with all the attendant Iraqi casualties that it is likely to produce, will be able to turn this trend around.
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So far, neither leading US Presidential candidate appears to have fully come to grips with this deteriorating situation in Iraq,  or the fundamental strategic blunders that underlie it. At least they are not saying so in public.   
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A rather undistinguished, pig-headed,  President continues to defend his faith-based initiative for “democratizing” the Middle East. 

A rather undistinguished junior Senator from Massachusetts -– who has spent much of his life trying to be on all sides of recent US wars -- continues to argue that the key problems with the Iraq War have been tactical – too few troops and equipment,  too little Allied support, too few trained Iraqis, careless handling of high explosives, and so forth.
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Neither of these positions is realistic.

Indeed, as we will argue below, regardless of who is elected US President on November 2, the facts on the ground in Iraq are now pointing relentlessly toward one seemingly counter-intuitive conclusion:

The US will only be able to stabilize Iraq, preserve that country's national unity, win more support for the interim government,  undermine the role of “foreign terrorists” in the country, and secure a modicum of domestic and international support for “democratization” if and when it links the calendar for Iraqi democratization and constitutional reform to a firm, near-term timetable for the withdrawal of all US forces (though not necessarily all Coalition forces) from the country. 


October 30, 2004 at 06:29 PM | Permalink

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The Road to God Knows Where
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I think your website is groovy. How can I become an iconoclast economist too?

Posted by: andrew hellman at Jan 5, 2005 3:13:06 PM

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