Incite -- (v) 1: give an incentive; 2: provoke or stir up; "incite a riot"; 3: urge on; cause to act
Wednesday, April 14, 2004

More Sense from Roach
Written by: Answerman

This is a must-read and, in my view, an entirely accurate analysis:
"Ideas Matter and Bush's Ideas Are Wrong

During Bush's press conference yesterday I was struck by two things. One, in his mind the only possible failure is a failure of nerve. He does not countenance the possibility that we are going further and further down the wrong path in Iraq or in general. Two he believes these things because of his belief in the neoconservative shibolleth that democracy is identical with good government and that the whole world wants liberal democracy. Any resistance is by necessity a small clique opposed to progress.

As significant numbers of Iraqis demonstrate resistance to the US and passion for other political systems, such as Islamic Sharia rule by clerics, Bush says more and more that the only solution is democracy. I can't judge whether the resistanced represents a small faction in Iraq or a plurality of the country, but I don't think it takes any great wisdom to recognize that something far more authoritarian will have to exist in an Iraqi government than what prevails in the US and the West. That is, Iraqis need law and order and commerce and a functioning civil society before any form of liberal democracy is even a possibility. Far from being a racist observation, this is the practical notion that culture matters and people around the world have distinct habits, values, goals, ideas, and beliefs that affect politics. The democracy fetish of the neoconservative right, which includes Bush, ignores decades of history in Latin America, Africa, Haiti, and elsewhere.

American constitutilism, far from being a distinct way of life that the US and the West can offer as a model, becomes a militant threat to every distinct culture on Earth. While the US is hated in part because of its strength and wealth, this model of foreign policy needlessly antagonizes everyone that is the least bit different from the US and sets up the US for a gradual weakening as it pursues a utopian goal."

As Roach points out, and as John Derbyshire explains in his most recent National Review Online piece, the choice in Iraq is not a binary one between getting the job done right or retreating. There is a "third way" that unfortunately seems increasingly to be the Bush way -- trying to get the job done right, but failing to do so because of flawed ideological premises. I think the extreme failings of neocon ideology, which I have detailed to death in here, are responsible for this flawed approach. And while I am not certain it will fail, I AM certain it significantly increases our odds of failure in Iraq. If indeed it does fail, the results will be even more catastrophic than retreat, because a retreat followed by a disaster would ultimately validate the arguments of those who say now we should stay the course, whereas a flawed strategy followed by a disaster would likely validate the arguments of those who say we should never have been in Iraq in the first place.

If you're going to "end evil," how about trying to do so in an EFFECTIVE way, and with the necessary number of troops?

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John Beck

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