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What are We Fighting For?

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In this week’s Time Charles Krauthammer, the Neo-Con Craigorian Chant loves to hate, does his best to hype the Iraqi elections. It all builds up to this:

We would never have invaded Iraq to depose Saddam without 9/11. After 9/11, we finally understood that helping build decent, representative, tolerant societies in the Middle East is ultimately the only way to prevent endless generations of young Arab men from finding fulfillment by crashing airplanes into buildings filled with infidels. Europe has a similar interest, having suffered, with the train bombings in Madrid, the kind of fanatic nihilism that visited the Twin Towers.
First I would like to point out the complete absence of WMD both from Iraq and from Krauthammer’s column. We invaded Iraq because of WMD. Don’t forget that.

But the real heart of Krauthammer’s argument is that to prevent more 9/11 and Madrid style attacks we must dispose of dictatorships and create democracy in the Arab World. There is just one small problem: America props up dictatorships in the Middle East. The dictatorships that produced the 9/11 hijackers – Egypt and Saudi Arabia are major U.S. allies that receive massive military aid. We keep these dictators in place and everyone, except maybe Krauthammer, knows that. The same people who want to throw down the Saudi Princes want to throw down the U.S. because we support the Saudi Princes.

Finally we are not creating a “decent, representative, tolerant society” in Iraq. We are creating a theocracy:

In Basra, the second-largest city in Iraq, where one of Ayatollah Sistani’s closest aides has enormous influence, Shiite religious parties have been transforming the city into an Islamic fief since the toppling of Mr. Hussein. Militias have driven alcohol sellers off the streets. Women are harassed if they walk the streets in anything less than head-to-toe black. Conservative judges are invoking Shariah in some courts.

Is that what we are fighting and being killed for?

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About Craigorian

  • SFC SKI

    Nice piece of oversimplification on your part, specifically this;”But the real heart of Krauthammer’s argument is that to prevent more 9/11 and Madrid style attacks we must dispose of dictatorships and create democracy in the Arab World. There is just one small problem: America props up dictatorships in the Middle East.”

    Primarily, it is all about picking your fights, the right place at the right time. While no newspaper column, Blogcritics post, or my post will fully examine the matter, I will put forward this argument: There are some countries that you can influence by outside influences, and those you can only influence by invading them.

    Iraq: 12 years of economic sanctions and containment failed to fully control or remove a vicious and dangerous element, and future trends did not indicate sufficient change in the future. The likelihood of WMD’s in Iraq in specific, combined with the 9/11 attacks in general was a trigger for this war, only after we were able to go into Iraq and inspect were we able to prove that Hussein may not have had WMD. (Personally, I think they are in Syria, but that is just my opinion.) Without that knowledge , Saddam was able to continue to control events in the region by threat of force, including WMD. We can beat this aspect to deat, but on to my next point.

    Iraq, was not an ally, we had no diplomatic ties to Iraq since 1991, unlike the other 2 countries you name. We could not invade an ally, plain and simple. For many other reasons, oil being only a small part of the equation, we could not suddenly break off all ties to Saudi Arabia or Egypt and tell them to play nice if they want to play at all. What we can do is influence them directly through diplomacy and aid, but more pertinently to my argument, indirectly by providing an example to the rest of the ME that something other than autocracy is possible there. Unless you are being willfully ignorant, you cannot see the influence the elections are having on the Arab countries in the region. Would the Saudi regime even gone through the charade of an election if there was not pressure from the events in Iraq? Like it or not, there is slow but certain change being brought about because of the elections that resulted from the war in Iraq. You don’t like having to admit it, do you?
    Of course, it isn’t happening fast enough for any of us, but only a fool would expect sweeping changes to occur overnight, surely you realize it is one thing to order a change to be made, and a longer process to bring that change about.

    Less than 50% majority for the Shia in the Iraqi elections, where will the theocracy come from now?

    As for the sacrifices being made by coalition soldiers, American civilians, and even moreso by the Iraqis, I wish that did not have to occur, but examine realistically what would occur if none of this had taken place, with all its effects beyond loss of life, and tell me what could have been done otherwise.

    I don’t like the fact that I have lost freinds and spent a year away from my family by going to war. I don’t like spending a much safer but no less difficult year away from them now, or the fact that shortly after I leave this assignment to spend another year away from them again when I return to Iraq, but I personally feel that this is what my duty calls me to do, and that it is worth it.

  • http://www.diablog.us Dave Nalle

    >>Less than 50% majority for the Shia in the Iraqi elections, where will the theocracy come from now?<<

    Not to mention that just to pick a president requires a 2/3 vote of the assembly, so they have to form an alliance with the Kurds at the very least to get any kind of government going.

    Dave

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    “We invaded Iraq because of WMD. Don’t forget that.”

    That was PART of the reason we LIBERATED Iraq. Don’t forget that…

  • Doc

    >president requires a 2/3 vote of the >assembly, so they have to form an >alliance with the Kurds at the very >least to get any kind of government >going.

    That’s *only* once a cabinet is in place, then Shia get to do what they want. It’s simple majority after that. They can set up a theocracy (expect it) like Iran (at worst) or a moderate version (like Turkey, but don’t hold your breath)

    We got suckered into this war by Iran who now will have titular control over Iraq.

    Good job Bush!

  • http://www.elitistpig.com Dave Nalle

    Doc, even if the Shia set up a theocracy it’s not a victory for Iran. The Iraqis hate the Iranians. The Iraqi Shia hate the Iranian clerics. If the Shia go theocratic – which I’m not at all sure will happen – they’re more likely to go on a holy war against Iran than become their buddies.

    Dave

  • JR

    Krauthammer: After 9/11, we finally understood that helping build decent, representative, tolerant societies in the Middle East is ultimately the only way to prevent endless generations of young Arab men from finding fulfillment by crashing airplanes into buildings filled with infidels.

    Root Causes – isn’t that what the liberals were criticized for harping on about immediately following the terrorist attacks?

  • http://www.tude.com/ Hal Pawluk

    you’re wrong, Dave, in your generalities about Irqis and Iran when it comes to the new government.

    The leading contender for the powerful position of Iraqi Prime Minister is Ibrahim Jafari. He is a member of the Dawa party.

    The Dawa Part is headquartered in Tehran and is funded by by Iran.

    Several other politicians in the coalition are also members of Iranian-based parties.

  • http://gratefuldread.net Natalie Davis

    What are we fighting for?

    Don’t ask me; I don’t give a damn.

    Next stop will be Iran.

    Whoopee, we’re all gonna die.