Sunday, May 08, 2005

What Happens Now?

Read Mr. Friedman’s May 4, 2005, column Reaping What It Sowed on a subject I had written about some time ago. I used a similar biblical reference for a title.

Although against this war from the very beginning, we are stuck now. We can’t just quit and walk away. We would be in a worst position than if we had never invaded. We don’t need any pictures of people climbing into helicopters on the roof of some last stand.

After a series of selective intelligence that lead up to the invasion, a successful invasion and takeover, a disastrous post war administration, and very successful election, who gets the credit and who gets the blame? I believe the army gets credit for the second and forth item and the Necons and Bushies gets the blame for the first and third, but I don’t know who will get the credit or blame for what going to happen next. Based on Bush’s past performance, he will take credit for anything good and pass the buck for anything bad. But what happens next?

The previous election and hopefully the upcoming election will be the event that justifies the whole invasion mess. The election seems to have reverberated through out the Middle East. Tied in with the election and reformation of the Palestinians and the exodus of Syrians from Lebanon, there seems to be a refreshing democracy spring in the Middle East. Even after the Americans leave Iraq and it falls into civil war with the breaking up of the country, the rise of the mullahs and a theocracy or a take over by a strong man using the army we are currently building, the seed of the idea of democracy has been planted.

The turn out for the Iraqi elections proves that even though a people who have been tightly suppressed with little or no freedom understand the basics of what a democracy is. The basic human understanding also applies to the teaching of hate and killing. As Mr. Friedman said, the praise and teaching of hate and suicide bombing is coming home to roost. Many in the Middle East knew this was an unwise policy but they allowed it to happen and now they are paying the price. Just as in the U.S., when this country formed there were many -- even in the South -- who knew slavery was wrong but they did not exclude it from this county, and the price for this neglect was paid dearly 100 years later and is still being paid today, so too the Middle East may pay dearly for their support and institutionalization of the teaching of hate.

Part of our problem in dealing with Islamic terrorist is the almost total lack of intelligence. We cannot get good agents because to spy for the U.S. is seen as an act against faith, religious order, and ultimately against Allah. We need to separate the terrorist from its religious justification and base. During the Cold War, we got good Russian spies because people recognized that Communism as it was being practiced in Russia was a failure and was in drastic need of change. They were in their own minds acting as patriots to a greater cause. If we could get Muslims to see that spying on terrorist as an act of faith, we might have a chance to get meaningful intelligence on the likes of Bin Laden and Zarqawi. If we can get Muslims to see that their worse enemies are amongst them, we may have a chance of ending this current phase of terrorism and Islam can move into the modern era.

Even if the future governments in Iraq or any Middle Eastern country are not friendly with the U.S., we all are better off if some form of democracy is in place. Any movement toward a democracy is a good move, and hopefully, it is unavoidable and cannot be stopped. Only war or the threat of war impedes progression toward a democratic world.
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