Listen, My Children...

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Friday, April 11, 2003

No Blood for Oil!

The Professor writes:
On the radio (I think it was CBS radio news) I heard a correspondent from Mosul say that an Iraqi there asked him if America was there for freedom, or for the oil. What do you think? he asked. "If you stay," responded the Iraqi, "you're here for freedom. If you leave, it's just for the oil."

What should they do? it's difficult. I'm going to entirely ignore, for the purposes of this question, the opinions of all pro and con non-Iraqis anywhere in the West, because they just don't really get a say here. Well, we have a pretty good amount of Iraqis and their neighbors (who do have a say, because they could always get uffish and decide to liberate Iraq from the US, which, while it wouldn't be successful, would be undesirable and a bother) saying, ok, we're glad you got that guy out, but now just clean up your mess dang quickly and clear out. We have a huge amount of Iraqis and very few of their neighbors saying, you have to stay and help us, please, fixing everything forever. By majority vote, that second group looks like it wins, but many from the second group will certainly change to the first for any of a multitude of reasons. Tony Blair's explanation is obviously practical -- we'll stay there just as long as it takes -- but not very helpful. As long as it takes to make sure there'll be no resurrection of the Ba'ath gang? As long as it takes to put in a weak little government that we hope might last? As long as it takes to reconstruct the whole place and put things back to 1990? As long as it takes to pull a Germany and entirely redo everything? I don't really know what's best -- the last option seems best to me, right off, on a practical level (if you stay more than a generation, and are rather totalitarian, you can raise the children to believe what you want them to believe -- rather like they're trying in Palestinian areas), but I'm not sure what I think of totalitarianism on the level of principles, and I'm not sure if that would even really be practical, as UN people keep saying they want everyone out quickly (leaving a wobbly new government or a vacuum, I suppose).


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