Skip to comments.Time To Do Less Not More
Posted on 06/28/2014 3:16:16 PM PDT by Kaslin
The current situation in Iraq is a modern tragedy. But in more practical terms it is a very stark illustration of the folly of central planning and the limits of state power in the face of entrenched traditions and proven history. Although the parallels aren't perfect, the rapid dissolution of the puppet Iraqi state can offer some stark lessons to those who are optimistic about our current experiment in central bank dominated economic planning.
The modern state of Iraq was formed primarily by Franco-British decree after the defeat of the Ottoman Empire in the First World War. While the Age of Empire was clearly at an end, Britain and France nostalgically played the game in the Middle East by indiscriminately drawing lines on a map. Often this was done regardless of the cultural and religious differences or the feelings of the local people.
The boundaries of modern Iraq were simply drawn to support the interests of the colonial powers and their preferred local rulers. This was the first mistake of central planning. Following the brutal military regicide of the 23-year old King Faisal II and members of his family on July 14, 1958, a series of men, culminating in Saddam Hussein of the Ba'athist Party, ruled Iraq.
While no one much liked Hussein or his brutal government, the dictator was able to provide stability in a largely ungovernable situation, which in turn provided a bastion against the fundamentalist revival that swept through Iran in the 1970s. But then Saddam himself began believing too strongly in his own invincibility, and foolishly invaded neighboring Kuwait in the fall of 1990.
The Western response was decisive. President George H. W. Bush and Prime Minister Thatcher encouraged an impressive grouping of allies, including many Arab nations into providing a massive military force. The effective diplomacy was complemented by a sensible tactical plan that accomplished the coalition's aims without leaving chaos within Iraq itself. Most impressively, President Bush saw the wisdom, unpopular in many circles, of preserving Saddam Hussein in power as a stabilizing and anti-Iranian force.
In the ensuing years, rather than admit the obvious, that a tyrant like Saddam was the only means capable of holding together a fractious, poorly-designed country, many in our enlightened capitals began to believe that they had the ability to craft a better country through force of arms and power of persuasion. This is the second failure of central planning.
George W. Bush, perhaps inspired to rescue the family name, or to do something bold to remake the Middle East in the wake of the September 11 attacks, led an invasion of Iraq with the aim of regime change and nation building. Neither the younger Bush nor his close advisers had much idea of military combat or the realities of the modern Middle East. Like many government experts, they believed that sheer force could overcome these shortfalls. This fatal cocktail of ignorance, arrogance and incompetence resulted in a massive loss of blood and treasure. The cumulative results of these bad decisions may deliver an outcome that is the exact opposite of what the U.S. hoped to achieve.
Al Qaeda and its cohorts have three basic Middle Eastern aims: First the removal of Western influence, second, the overthrow of local monarchies and hereditary rulers, and third, to re-establish an expansionist caliphate, without defined boundaries. Those aims are much more clearly established now than before the U.S.-led invasion of 2003.
In 2006-08, the Western Allies had three main options for shaping the future of Iraq that avoided disintegration. First was to accept semi-autonomous Kurdish, Sunni and Shiite regions. Second was to adopt a federated system. Third was to establish a strong centralized democratic government seen by the main groupings to be both balanced and fair. The U.S. selected the third option.
Elected by the Shiite majority, President Maliki has clearly ruled in a manner that is biased in their favor. Effectively, he has also been a puppet of Shiite Iran. This inflamed the Kurds and the Sunni minority, setting the stage for the success of the ISIS/ISIL terrorist organization which threatens now the Maliki government and the integrity of Iraq. (Their success is also a function of the protracted civil war in Syria). To the acute embarrassment of the United States, her current enemy, President Assad, stands as a bulwark against the spread of ISIS/ISIL!
By disposing of Saddam Hussein, America unleashed a chaotic situation in the Middle East that threatens to fester. What should America do?
One golden rule of war and investment is not to double down on disaster as Hitler did at Stalingrad. However, rather than accept the disaster of Iraq, many well-meaning hawks are pressing President Obama to re-commit ground troops in clear opposition to the will of grass roots Americans. As such, they risk Republicans losing what once appeared to be a possible election landslide victory against an unpopular President.
By committing some 300 special forces 'advisors' to Iraq, President Obama risks further loss of American blood, greater damage to national prestige and even an escalation of U.S. force levels. A cynic might argue that by appearing to be forced into an Iraqi re-engagement, President Obama may be able to replace his war-like stance over Syria and divert attention away from his escalating domestic failures.
Regardless, an American return to Iraq will compound a disaster. Worse, it could lead to an extension of the conflict and have a disturbing effect on financial markets. It would be just one more example of the arrogance of top government officials who have little or no idea of history or of the real situation on the ground. Without a clear chance of winning, it may be best for America to do nothing.
After all, a desire 'to do something' can often backfire. This is certainly the case with respect to the Federal Reserve's response to the financial collapse of 2008. Although that crisis was in itself the result of previous policy errors, the Fed's willingness to unleash shock and awe in the form of massive monetary stimulus, has led us into a cul-de-sac with few good options.
Central planning and control is the essence of socialism. Throughout modern history, it has resulted in economic decline with abject poverty shared by all save the governing elite. What is needed now is for governments to do less, not more.
Iraq was never a real country with a cohesive ethnic population - it is a conglomeration of a bunch of sometimes mutually hostile tribes, with two major branches of Islam, each bidding to be designated as the “True Voice of Islam”. At one time, there were communities of practicing Jewish people, and Christians from the time of the Crusades and before, and various other smaller religious Islamic communities that were not formally affiliated with Islamic jihad militancy.
And then there were the Kurds. An ethnic minority within Iraq, they have a transnational dispersion that spreads into all the immediately surrounding countries, but no recognized national identity. Nominally Muslim, they are a fierce folk, unruly and quick to resist suppression, but not for the spread of glorious Islam - they are probably more nearly highly socialistic.
In a realistic foreign engagement, the Kurds would have the tacit support from the US and others to form their own nation from which they were totally able to defend their beliefs and identity. It would probably not take too much persuasion for Turkey, Syria, Iran and any other provinces to be allowed to let these troublemakers break away and join the Iraqi contingent. They would be a potent buffer state.
Even against Chechnya.
I say let the Iranian Shi’ites and the Sunni army of ISIL-ISIS face off against each other and let them run their own meat grinder. The Levantine Caliphate, should it ever get established, can spend the next thousand years bucking up against the Islamic Republic of Iran.
But of course, the Current Regime is so paralyzed they cannot think of any such practical application of “hands off”.
“Like many government experts, they believed that sheer force could overcome these shortfalls. This fatal cocktail of ignorance, arrogance and incompetence resulted in a massive loss of blood and treasure. The cumulative results of these bad decisions may deliver an outcome that is the exact opposite of what the U.S. hoped to achieve.”
This guy seems to have the war as a disaster before bozo was even elected.
The msm has every reason to believe that this spin will take but I don’t believe it will: The clock is ticking down on bozo the clown and the stink of his total, broadband failure is becoming too obvious to too many.
No one can predict what might have happened had Obozo not retreated from, well, everything. We had troops and assets in Iraq and Afghanistan, with Iran between them. Many America-hating jihadists raced to these places, instead of to America’s shores. Soon the growing Caliphate will be a wealthy terrorist training camp, and just where will the ‘trainees’ go to practice their ‘trade’?
This is a shallow and addled analysis.
The statement” George W. Bush, perhaps inspired to rescue the family name, or to do something bold to remake the Middle East in the wake of the September 11 attacks, led an invasion of Iraq ” is false and unfair. Bush Two merely resumed Desert Storm under the conditions the world community had agreed upon, over and over AGREED UPON.
Every day for years after Desert Storm Saddam violated the CEASE FIRE ! (shouting intended) and SIXTEEN United Nations RESOLUTIONS that said comply OR ELSE!!!
9/11 came later and was only one of a crowd of motivations for the already planned Desert Storm Part Two.
Saddam signed the Cease Fire in order to not be deposed. He led the WMD inspectors on a merry game of fox-and-hound to hide the WMDs we now have proof he had.
Some of us are men with memories-intact in a nation of pot-damaged amnesiacs.