Sunday, December 11, 2005


Why Isn't This Front Page News?

Reuters, from Sunni hotbed cities Falluja and Ramadi, reports that Saddam loyalists, who opposed Sunni participation in the January elections have done a 180 and are now urging fellow Sunni Arabs to vote and warning al Qaeda militants not to attack.

This news (which I think was on page 35 in my paper) is extraordinarily good and it devastates the Chicken Little Defeatocrats who say there already is a civil war in Iraq between Sunni and Shia. No, it appears that there is a viable and hopeful political process proceeding with growing strength against a backdrop of fading, desperate terrorism (which is increasingly having the opposite effect the terrorists want--except here in America).

First money quote:

In a move unthinkable in the bloody run-up to the last election, guerrillas in the western insurgent heartland of Anbar province say they are even prepared to protect voting stations from fighters loyal to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of al Qaeda in Iraq.

Second money quote:

But Saddam loyalists have turned against Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant whose fighters travel to Iraq from across the Arab world to blow themselves up in a bid to spark sectarian civil war.
"Zarqawi is an American, Israeli and Iranian agent who is trying to keep our country unstable so that the Sunnis will keep facing occupation," said a Baathist insurgent leader who would give his name only as Abu Abdullah.

OK that last part about Zarqawi being an agent for America, Israel and Iran is pure moon barking lunacy, but the other part is good news.

And to answer the question in the header about how little coverage this news is getting, the largely liberal main stream media does not prominently feature good news from Iraq because the overwhelming majority of workers in those media are also members of the less than loyal opposition who apparently want us to fail in Iraq and are doing what little they can to make that happen.

Was this front and center on Fox News?

The media, such as it is, is most concerbned w/ selling advertisements. Complaining about liberal bias diminishes the stature of the rest of what you write.

As for the Sunni 180, it would seem that Realpolitik set in. As soon as any or all Iraqis do something concrete about al Zarqaaiw and his gang of vermin, I will be more likely to view the situation w/ optimism.
"As soon as any or all Iraqis do something concrete about al Zarqaaiw and his gang of vermin, I will be more likely to view the situation w/ optimism."
"Any", of course already happens every day. What do you think the Iraqi army and police are doing? "All"? Well, this seems to be the standard the Democrats are demanding but just keep on waiting, Tony. If we needed the backing of folks like you nothing would have happened over the last three years. Nothing good, anyhow.

"Complaining about liberal bias diminishes the stature of the rest of what you write."

I didn't see any complaint about liberal bias. Funny that you should mention it.

I am encouraged by this, and glad you blogged it.

Tony - you whine a lot. Your comment makes me think "spherical" - circular in most directions and hollow in the center...

haven't heard a peep about this at Fox or anywhere else for that matter.
You've made the first step, Tony. Keep walking towards the light (it's on the right). Thanks for your support, 'big river' We've been winning this war city by city and sometimes door by door for about three years and the Iraqis have been integral for a long time now. It makes my point that smart guys like Tony seem only now to be waking up to the fact.
Anonymous, thanks for the support but I did bitch about the lack of press coverage and named the Democrats by kenning Less than loyal opposition. Finally, selectedpete, nice image but I haven't seen Fox today so I remain ignorant. Thanks again for the comments.

Truth is a pathless land. Accordingly, directions such as right, left and center are meaningless.

Yesterday, for the first time in a great while Mr. Bush said something w/ which I agree and which demonstrated an appreciation of history which he rarely shows. I refer to his comments about how American democracy was forged and the problems that we faced following the end of the Revolution through the Civil War, although certainly there have challenges since then.

I think we can agree that our form of government is still in a work in progress. We need only read divers commnents from all critics to appreciate the process.

Your last comments seems to suggest that there is a military solution to the war in Iraq. If there is an ultimate military solution, it will not be accomplished by our forces but by the Iraqis themselves, as you say, city by city, door by door.

You and I have have discussed privately why I am not optimistic about demnocracy's chances in the short term in Iraq.

B/f the Declaration of Independence, we as a people had inhabited this continent for > 150 years and forged a relationship among the colonies. Although, our loyalties to our separate states and to our central governement sometimes were in conflict, The United States was born and flourishes b/c our primary loyalties are to our institutions of governement as opposed to our families, our tribes, or our sects.

After the WW I, the great powers created Iraq in the same way that they created Yugoslavia. Iraq has no tradition of democracy and indeed has a history of despotism. Its disparate cultures who live there, such as the Kurds, identfy themselves as Kurds, or whomever, more than as Iraqis. I think this poses a problem for the institution of democarcy in Iraq.

Patrick Henry, in a speech b/f the First Continetal Congress in Philadelphia in 1774 stated: "I am not a Virginian, but an American."

For democarcy to succeed in Iraq, Iraqis will have to see themselves as Iraqis first and members of their families, tribes, and sects secondarily.

I do not believe they will accomplish this overnight. I am extrenmely concerned that b/f the Iraqis will accomplish this, the counry will self destruct.

As for Megapotamus, I ask you to consider that Abu Musad al Zaqawi is operating in Iraq w/ the implicit support of some Iraqis, otherwise he would be elsewhere or dead. I ask you to condsider the implication of this fact as you comment about the "standards of Democrats" and "If we needed the backing of folks like you" seem to indictae that you are neither a student of history nor one of political science.

I request that you consider the following very real possibilities. At some point after the redeployment of American and other allied forces, Iraq erupts into civil war or becomes an radical Islamic Republic or both. Certainly if it were to become a radical Islamic republic its borders would not be the same as they are now.

At that point, what good would we have accomplished? We would have merely traded one form of despotism for another.

This raises a number of fundamental issues which I have disussed w/ Roger form time to time which include the appropriateness of "first strike" warfare and whether a system of government which works well for us, in consideration of our history and our culture, can be successful imposed on peoples who do not share a similar history or culture.

Selectedpete, if you wish to make personal comments so be it. A sphere is not circular in most directions. If circular at all, a sphere is circular in all directions. In fact, a sphere is a geometric form all of whose points on the surface are equidistant from a fixed point. Of course not all spheres are hollow. I trust the rest of your thinking is superior to your use of metaphor.
As for Megapotamus, I ask you to consider that Abu Musad al Zaqawi is operating in Iraq w/ the implicit support of some Iraqis, otherwise he would be elsewhere or dead.

Yes, well you might be shocked to learn that there are terrorists operating in the U.S. with the implicit support of some Americans. As well as numerous criminals. QUAGMIRE! BRING THE TROOPS HOME...? The same is true for large swaths of Europe. You want Iraq to meet an impossible standard.

I request that you consider the following very real possibilities. At some point after the redeployment of American and other allied forces, Iraq erupts into civil war or becomes an radical Islamic Republic or both.

I request that you provide some evidence for your defeatist agitprop. We all know this is what you want to happen, so finally that damn GWB will learn his lesson and the evil American imperialists will be humiliated, but we'd like a little evidence.
Doh! that anonymous was me.
Thanks Tony and respondents. Patrick Henry, who signed the paperwork giving the Fraley's their farm on the Clinch River (still in the family), may well have said he was an American first in 1774 but by 1861, most of the leading men of Virginia (like Robert E. Lee) were thinking of themselves as Virginians first.
I'm not sure Zarqawi needs support from the general population to stay alive. Here is a scenario. He comes into a town or a section of a city, takes three hostages and says if the Americans come for me, these three die horribly first. No one turns him in.
150 years of intercolony actions kind of pales in comparison to 5 millenia of continued civilization. I find the arguments that no one can do democracy but us Westerers a little xenophobic (or worse). I hope I'm not hearing that from you. The Yugoslavs could not stick together after Tito died. But neither could the Czechslovakians although theirs was an amicable divorce. Not good evidence about what will happen in Iraq. Of course it could happen, Many things could happen. Other than seeing things through pessimism colored glasses (brown?), what have you got that leads you to believe that a horrible Lebanon type civil war will errupt? Tribal thinking and loyalty is not enough for me. Civil War as soon as we leave is your position. What have you seen that causes you to believe this? Big river says it's because you want Bush to fail. I know you well enough not to believe that, but give me a few of the trend lines we are seeing that lead to souch different futures. If you have the time. This posting, and Hugh Hewitt's link got us about 8,000 hits in two days but what I really like is the slow motion discussion in these comments. Thanks again all.

So far as the color of glasses is concerned, one man's brown is another man's clear.

You'll have to tell me about the farm sometime.

I agree that by 1861 the leading men of Viginia considerd themselves Virginians rather than Americans hence the secession and the Civil War. I recall Michael Shaara's description in the Killer Angels of the officers' last dinner together b/f the Virginians returned to Virginia.

I am uncertain why you do not believe that Yugoslavia is a valid paradigm of Iraq. 5000 years of continuous civilization is not equivalent to 5000 years of continuous mutual interest.

Why don't you buy that tribal loyalty and sectarianism in general isn't the impediment to the successful democraticization of Iraq? One of us will be proved wrong. I hope it's me but I think it will be you.

Initially, answer the question whether Iraqis, individually, will be loyal to their family, tribe, and sect, or to some larger (in size) institution which for these individuals is new and foreign (in the sense of being unfamiliar and in the sense of being a non native institution.) I believe such a challenge is one that will take generations to accomplish.

Given the more rapid flow of information today than 375 years ago, it will probably occur faster now than it it did then, however, the question is whether Iraq will be able maintain a stable democratic government during the generations necessary for loyalty to shift and I do not believe that will happen.

I think you will agree that corruption on the local level is the bane of any society. The recent events in the PRC serving as a prime example. In many parts of Iraq, it is common for people to marry their cousins and so cement family ties. This cultural phenomenon has and will continue to render Iraqi local governmemntal institutions vulnerable to nepotism.

I wonder if an argument may be made that all functioning democracies are either western or built on western models? As we have previously discussed, Singapore is a democracy but did it arise sua sponte in the same way that we are attempting to institute democracy in Iraq? I think not.

I have been thinking about South Africa over the past few days. I am not a student of South African history but I do know that the British established the Union of South African in 1910 and elections were held that year.

At that jucture, the Union had British tradition as a model. South Africa became a republic in 1961 and multiracial elections were held in 1994. The institution of Apartheid was dismantled in 1994 and 1994. I think that South Africa may be the most sucessful democracy on the continent of Africa. Most of its population are non white. It seems to me, however, that the counry as it is today assumed a western model, like Singapore, and like Israel which although in Asia, was founded largely by Europeans who brought w/ them western models of government.

Iraq has no indigenous model. Parts of its civilization may be 5000 years old but the country, itself dates only from 1920 I think. Arguably, one could describe it as a constitutional monarchy from 1920 to 1958 but it has been ruled by the the military, more or less, since then w/ Saddam Hussein assuming power from Hasan al-Bakr in 1979. I think we can agree that since 1958, Iraq has not been a democarcy whatever elections may have been held.

I do not believe that this history and the peoples who inhabit Iraq possess traditions that will allow democracy to flourish in the short term. As I stated above, I think it will require several generations of stability and security for democracy to root firmly and I do not believe that conditions in Iraq--"the entire country is an arsenal"--will foster that stability and security.

I understand that you disagree, but I would like you to amplify your position on the issue of why democracy will flourish in Iraq.


Wow Tony - Thanks for the novel, and setting me right on the definitions. There may be some solid spheres out there, but that doesn't mean yours is ;)

Happy blogging,
Selected Pete
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