Monday, October 23, 2006

What not to do in Iraq

Jed Babbin explains why partitioning Iraq would be a bad idea:

Partitioning Iraq is an approach that could earn an A+ in a graduate course at the Kennedy School of Government, but will get an immediate F in the real world. An independent Kurdistan -- the presumed northern section -- would violate the agreement President Bush made with Turkey before the invasion. The Turks would invade because they believe (with much justification) that an independent Kurdistan would seek to expand into northeastern Turkey. Shia southern Iraq would be swallowed by Iran, and the middle -- Sunni Iraq -- would become part of Syria or a Syrian satellite terrorist state like Lebanon. Even if Iraq's neighbors wouldn't invade or interfere (an assumption that would be hilarious if it weren't so dangerous), only Kurdistan could possibly survive as an independent state. The other two would lack either the economic resources necessary to survive or the political unity to function, or both.

It's hard to argue with that. If Iraq existed in a vacuum partitioning would be the best possible answer. People who hate one another and do not wish to live together should not be forced to do so. However Iraq does not exist in a vacuum. It occupies a place in one of the most dangerous and volatile regions of the earth. Destabilizing Turkey would serve no one save Osama bin Laden and Babbin's analysis of where the Shia and Sunni states would wind up rings true as well.

Trying to bring democracy to Iraq was an experiment which always had a better than even chance of failure. But it absolutely had to be tried. We needed to know (the kind of knowing that only can come from experience) if an Islamic country could be successfully brought into the civilized community of 21st Century nations.

If the current crisis in Iraq is not the last push of the "insurgency" throwing all their resources into an all-or-nothing bid to influence the US elections and get the Surrender Party elected. If it is truly a sign that nothing like a secular democratic state can coexist with the Islamic faith then we need to know this.

We need to know it because it means that we will need to reorganize our entire society around the principle of total war. Just as we did in the two World Wars of the 20th Century. There are 1 billion Muslims in the world and if they can't make peace with the modern world then the modern world will have to crush them. Since the US is the only free nation left on the globe with the both the means to fight a real war and the ability to summon the national will to fight a real war the burden will fall on us.