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Tuesday, November 04, 2003

IS IRAQIFICATION THE WRONG WAY? This is a point I had never considered:

"The central problem in Vietnam," says Brookings's Kenneth Pollack, "was that we had a corrupt and ineffective local government that did not inspire either the allegiance or the confidence of the Vietnamese people. Whatever happened militarily became secondary to this fundamental political reality." We don't have that problem in Iraq. But a hasty Iraqification will almost certainly produce it.

Fareed Zakaria’s argument is worth reading in full, although I’m not sure he’s entirely right. While I agree on the need to be cautious in regards to the capabilities the growing Iraqi security forces have, politically the process is taking too long. While it’s true that on a national level there aren’t as yet recognisale parties in the making, that’s no reason why we can’t speed up the democratisation process on a more local level. That should be the proper way to start anyway, after all power is supposed to run from the bottom upwards. Additionally, the more Iraqis are involved in the decisionmaking processes, the more they will see the progress of our coalition as their own progress and thus have more of a stake in its success instead of blaming all their ills solely on the occupation.

Also in the day’s WaPo is a piece by Richard Cohen which captures a lot of my sentiments about the war: From Bosnia to Baghdad. It is a reminder if one was needed of the moral need of toppling Saddam and about dealing with the inevitable ambiguities such a policy brings with it. But, as I have argued before: When in doubt, intervene militarily.

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