Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Monday, November 10, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.

Humiliation In Iraq?

Thomas Friedman says:

The only way we'll foster a decent government in Iraq is if every day we turn a little more power over to Iraqis and create the economic conditions where Iraqis can be successful. The more we empower Iraqis, the less humiliated they will feel, the more time we will have to help them and the less they will need our help.

I guess that's consistent with what he wrote last week, although the way he abuses metaphor, it's hard to be sure:

We need an Iraqi leader (or a leadership council) elected as a result of an Iraqi constitutional or political process.
I repeat, yet again, Lawrence Summers dictum: "In the history of the world, no one has ever washed a rented car." Too many Iraqis still feel that they are renting their country, first from Saddam and now from us, so they aren't really washing yet. We cannot just toss the keys to anyone, as France suggests. But we can insist — much more vigorously — that they begin the constitutional process that will produce a legitimate body of Iraqis to accept the keys and eventually drive off on their own.

But I think trouble is brewing at Friedman Rent-a-car:

Iraq's interim foreign minister, Hoshyar Zubari, said Sunday that a further deterioration in the security situation in Iraq might prevent the U.S.-appointed Governing Council from meeting timetables it will set for writing a constitution and holding elections, despite American pressure for action toward both goals.

I say let's just give them the keys. Face it, a Western-style democracy has never been in the cards, and if something resembling one does get established, it's going to require us to pump billions of dollars into it just like we do with Israel to prop it up.

What's more, as another WaPo article observes, the Iraqis are much better at doing things for Iraqis the Iraqi way than we are. Let's get out of their way and let them rebuild their country as they see fit. What could be more humiliating than having an occupier dictate your future, and badly at that?

If we truly believe that we have "liberated" Iraq, it's time to let them be liberated. Freedom is not just about being out from under the thumb of a dictator, it's about being able to choose your own destiny. We humiliated these people by not allowing them that fundamental freedom by invading in the first place, and we continue to deny that freedom to them every day we're there.


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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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