notion that a Muslim Arab country with no middle class or a culture that
supports the rule of law could be transformed by Westerners in short order
into anything resembling an Anglo-Saxon Democracy was fundamentally flawed.
But applying the "if we break it, we fix it" paradigm to Iraq, occupying
and governing it directly with thousands of conventional U.S. combat troops
under generals whose only strategy was brute force was even more disastrous.
No nation wants foreign troops to police their country and Muslim Arabs loathe
occupying Christian armies, especially brutal ones.
Arab, Sunni or Shiite, rebelling against such an occupation would always be
able to cloak himself in nationalism, patriotism, and traditional religious
values -- even if they were no better than criminals. And this is precisely
what happened in Arab Iraq.
this problem shrinks to insignificance next to the strategic blunder of
defaulting to "the Shiite strategy," establishing with American
military power in less than three years what the Iranian armed forces could
not achieve in nearly a decade of war with
the consequences of an Iranian-backed government in
it's also a waste of time. Though
these developments, disengaging from
politicians of all persuasions insist that for
true or not, an American military force that cannot stop firefights or
kidnappings on the streets of Baghdad, a force that is increasingly under
attack from all sides, can do little to prevent a regional war, especially a
conflict whose real issue is the Shia-Sunni struggle for control of Mecca and
Medina and leadership of an Islamic movement that both Sunni and Shia
Islamists believe will, once unified and purified, conquer the world.
course, if this is the regional war that is likely to occur, the real question
is not how to stop it, but why
answer is simple. It would not.
Washington policymakers look for political cover on their way out of Iraq, the
myth of American military omniscience and omnipotence, of limitless economic
resources harnessed to a perpetual "Wilsonian crusade for
democracy," is dying in Iraq along with American soldiers, sailors,
airmen and marines.
knowing that nothing with American fingerprints will survive the withdrawal of
U.S. Army Col. Douglas A. Macgregor, PhD is lead partner in Potomac League,
LLC. He is the author of "Breaking the Phalanx." Macgregor served in
the first Gulf War and at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe during the
Kosovo Air Campaign. he was an adviser to the Department of Defense on initial
Second Gulf War plans and is an expert on defense policy issues of
organization and transformation.)
(United Press International's "Outside View" commentaries are written by outside contributors who specialize in a variety of important issues. The views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of United Press International. In the interests of creating an open forum, original submissions are invited