You are currently viewing archive for August 2007
In response to Farmer's post and comment on Bush's legacy being Iraq, MM made the following comment.

I didn't mean to hijack your post, Farmer, but I'll go ahead and answer your question, with another question, of course. Salvageable for whom? For Bush? No. It's not going to happen in time for him to get credit. It falls to Bush to have the legacy of getting us into the mess of Iraq, not for fixing it.

The more important question, when it comes right down to it, is "Is Iraq salvageable for the Iraqis?" I'm torn on this one. Part of me wants to say no, for many reasons. One of these is that the concept of an "Iraqi" is only 60 years old, which may not be enough of a history to draw upon in an effort to reunite, especially in a region united by tribe and religion before political idealogy or "national" sentiments as the West views them. Another reason is that the US screwed up the country beyond repair. I'm not going to get into the initial invasion, but just say that our conduct of the occupation since then has been atrocious. We have spent far too much time, money, political capital, and American and Iraqi lives on first "shock and awe" and then "boots on the ground". We should have had the primary focus of maintaining Iraq as a nation-state, with functioning infrastructure and a viable economy. A third reason would be the exodus of the very Iraqis most likely to salvage Iraq. The number of Iraqi professionals - doctors, engineers, lawyers, diplomats - who have fled the violence of Baghdad for the security of cities from Damascus to Detroit has drained the nation of too many skilled workers. The repair of the country, if it happens, will be done by outsiders, or, maybe, by returned Iraqis. But not soon.

So the side of me that wants to say yes does so very reluctantly. I said that it might be salvageable for the Iraqis, but we could still go about this in a couple of different ways. If the interests of the US are held paramount, than we should stay, investing far more than we are now. We would have to maintain our current troop levels, and double our spending, ensuring that all of the additional spending goes to restructuring Iraq, rather than to security. Encourage the return of Iraqis, promote the rule of law, implement piecemeal market reforms (gently...), repair means of oil production, ensure distribution of wealth. Done by us. It might work. Maybe.

Or, we could leave. This might be the best for individual Iraqi citizens, just not for the nation. It's hard to worry about repairing your country's legal system when you're worried about your neighbor killing you. I'm not saying that if we left, the killing would stop. It would probably continue for quite some time, and Iraq would never look the same. I think it would gradually partition, much like India and Pakistan, along religious lines. Whether they were officially separate countries or not, Shiite would cease to mix with Sunni, and the Kurdish independence movement would continue to slog ahead. The Shiite south might become an Iranian satellite, ruled by JAM. The Sunni Triangle+ might be harshly ruled by AQI. US interests would suffer, to say the least - our enemies would have gained new territory, our oil would be cut off (or left in the ground), and we'd risk losing what few allies we have in the region. But the average Iraqi citizen? He might go back to his plow, shop, or practice, since he could leave his family at home, surrounded by neighbors who think like him, protected by dangerous men who are also connected to him.
Instapundit links to this post that should be must reading for any of us trying to understand radical Islam.

The article quoted in the linked post is here in its entirety.
I missed the anniversary August 14 of the Martyrs of Otranto: 800 men of the Italian city who refused to convert to Islam after its capture by Muslims in 1480 and were beheaded for their choice. Gaypatriot has the story.

The Long War continues. May our courage not falter.
As posted before, I consider India to be a natural ally of the United States. We share a common wariness toward China, attacks by Islamic terrorists, and the shared values of democratic government. Evidently officials in Washington think the same way as evidenced by recent increases in military cooperation with India. Story here from The Times of India.
Gateway Pundit has this picture. I had overlooked the cross on Putin's bare chest. (Guess I didn't look closely enough.) Putin had already openly embraced the Russian Orthodox church.

Putin's, and the Russian government's, relationship to the Russian Orthodox Church have been the subject of various speculations. See

Here , here , and this quote from The Atlantic:

Over the years, Atlantic correspondent Paul Starobin has researched Putin's history and background and spoken both with those who know him personally and with political analysts who have studied his behavior. In "The Accidental Autocrat" (March Atlantic), Starobin portrays Russia's leader as a complex mixture of seemingly incongruous parts. There is Putin the fighter—a man who describes himself as having a "pugilistic nature," and who has long held a black belt in judo. There is Putin the canny former KGB operative—rigorously trained to calculate his every move and to dispense information sparingly. And then there is Putin the believer—a man of faith, who as a child absorbed his mother's strong Orthodox Russian beliefs and continues to practice devoutly.

Putin's faith will not necessarily put him on the road to democracy or friendship with the U.S. Like a good Czar he wants Russia to be a Great Power and is most comfortable with centralized authority. Won't it be ironic if Lenin turns out to have been painting over the Russian mosaic with watercolors, and now it's raining.
See this site.
From Jihadwatch, this post on life for Christians in Pakistan. Excerpt:

Christians make up only 1.5% of the 167 million Pakistanis. According to Father Asi, they are often treated as second-class citizens, denied basic human rights and victimized by social discrimination and political oppression.
Now baby bibs having lead. Story here. Another week, another dangerous Chinese import. Previous post here.

Odd, in a way. When I was young, "Made in Japan" meant "junk." But, over the last three or so decades the Japanese have turned out such quality that "Made in Japan" means well-made. Korea and Taiwan have had similar quality improvements. Why is China making no progress in quality, perhaps even regressing? The Chinese people are hard working still. Is it corrupt management?

It's not just an expansion problem During American industrial expansion in the late-nineteenth century, we sold the cheapest steel in the world that also was the highest quality in the world. Thank you Andrew Carnegie.

(I hope the Chinese military is having similar quality-control problems.)
As asserted and reasserted on this blog, radical Islam is radical ISLAM. Its most fundamental root cause comes from within Islam itself, not from politics or economics. Radical Islam is a religious phenomenon.

Here is a summary and response to the NYPD report on the homegrown terrorist threat. While the report did not go far enough, it did annoy the usual suspects.

Killing terrorists is like slapping mosquitoes. The swamp needs drained. We shall see what comes of the Bush attempt to remake the Middle East, but at least he recognized that radical change is needed. The shortcomings of the plan may be that it does not go far enough. The Administration is attempting to change the political/economic situation in Iraq, while ignoring the religious situation.