Wednesday, October 25, 2006


Daniel Pipes Offers Solution to Iraq Mess

While President Bush continues to insist that it is vitally important for America that Iraq succeeds in fullfilling his vision for the country and its role in the region, Daniel Pipes argues that internal security in Iraq isn't a major strategic interest of the United States:
The situation in Iraq has become a source of deep domestic antagonism in the coalition countries, especially the United States and Great Britain, but it can be finessed by noting that the stakes there are actually quite minor, then adjusting means and goals on this basis. Do you, dear non-Iraqi reader, have strong feelings about the future of Iraq? I strongly suspect not.

Iraqis want possession of their country; and peoples in countries providing troops serving in Iraq have wearied of the hopeless effort to transform it into something better than it is. Both aspirations can be satisfied by redeploying coalition troops to the desert, where they can focus on the essential tasks of maintaining Iraq's territorial integrity, keeping the fossil fuels flowing, and preventing humanitarian disasters.

The idea has developed since World War II that when the United States protects its interests by invading a country, it then has a moral obligation to rehabilitate it. This "mouse that roared" or "Pottery Barn rule" assumption is wrong and needs to be re-evaluated. Yes, there are times and places where rehabilitation is appropriate, but this needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis, keeping feasibility and American interests strictly in mind. Iraq – an endemically violent country – fails on both counts.
Let's stop wasting lives, treasure and morale trying to make Iraq the peaceful, prosperous for all and democratic society its Arab inhabitants don't seem particularly interested in (Iraqi Kurds have essentially gone their own way already). Then we can put that money into developing alternative sources of energy, securing out borders and ports against terrorist infiltration and keeping weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of third world despots. Read all of Pipes sensible suggestions.

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