the fruits of victory. Uncle Sam promised the Iraqis democracy,
and now they actually want it – long enough to elect
an ayatollah, anyway. The Iranians, far from being discouraged,
now cast an
acquisitive eye on their western suburbs. The liberated Kurds
are busy emulating Saddam. Instead of becoming Amway
salesmen, the Taliban
have reverted to peddling jihad. Kim
Jong-Il hasn't beaten his nukes into Hyundais.
I'm just a dolt who went to state school, so I'd never question
the foresight of a Yalie.
No sir, predictions
aren't my bag. I drink my tea instead of reading it and leave
the forecasts to experts. Amid all the antebellum chest-thumping
though, I can't find the slightest prescience of postwar uh-ohs.
Sure, last week some belated Cassandras
us about the Shia – 60% of Iraq's population! Who knew?
– but timing
is everything. Not to worry, though; the hawks are poised
to swoop again.
who opposed the war face two
lousy options, and that suits the hawks just fine. Option
#1: leave immediately. Send some relief, call it a democracy,
and get the hell out. Option #2: stay forever. (If you think "forever"
hyperbolic, then explain why we're still in Germany,
with no end in sight. Is Hitler in Argentina? Did Mussolini have
doppelganger? Is Tojo
biding his time on some Pacific atoll?) The National
Greatness crowd knew every soft spot in Option #1 before the
war even started. "You want to let these
guys vote? They're a danger to themselves, not to mention
us [read, as always, Israel].
Jesus, we'd be better off sending Al
Sharpton to run the place." Yes, we Americans hate to
sleep in the beds we make. Why, it offends our sense of justice!
Hand Iraq over to those who resent our meddling? That would be
like letting gluttons
bear the costs of their vices, and we won't stand for that.
it's on to Option #2, albeit a sunnier version. We wouldn't want
to repeat one of President Reagan's "rare mistakes,"
Pryce-Jones refers to the withdrawal
from Beirut. No, no, we won't stay forever – don't believe
that alarmist pap. Six months, twelve months, two years tops.
Only as long as it takes us to calm fears of U.S. imperialism,
settle the Shia-Sunni
tiff, and resolve the little family feud that began in Genesis.
OK, maybe five years. In the meantime, watch the happy masses
from Egypt to Saudi Arabia fall at our feet. It won't be long
tanks flatten the pyramids and shatter the Kaaba
– at the behest of the emancipated, of course.
only one tiny potential hitch. The Shia are easygoing
folk, so don't expect them to bring it up, but aren't they getting
the bad end of a double standard? Why can't they even dream of
their own theocracy
when the U.S. props up another
one just down the street? I'm not saying we should subsidize
Iraq's theocrats at the same per capita rate we
do Israel's. That would be $12 billion plus per year, and
Arabs can be bought for much less. For one thing, they
don't possess our
mathematical savvy. Consider the sorry
state of Iraqi textbooks:
What do you get when you add 3 rocket-propelled grenades to 4
Kalashnikov assault rifles?
Seven ways to kill the infidel enemy.
can we lose with that sort of arithmetic? Let's
set up a fort and start buying the place with beads! Oh yeah,
we already paid in shells.
dividends? An emboldened axis of evil. The human voice knows few
phrases as sweet as "I told you so," but it leaves a
bitter aftertaste in the present circumstances. Given the hawks'
record of public wagers, it's no wonder that even the CIA
now gazes at a different crystal ball. Now's not the time to be
smug, though. You think the Shia will distinguish between you
and Donald Rumsfeld? You think North
Korean missiles are smart enough to miss your house?
~ Matthew Barganier
recent column by Matthew Barganier
Guest Column from National Review
Aural MOAB for the Middle East
Barganier works for an educational philanthropy in Baton Rouge,
LA. A late bloomer in his mid-twenties, he has only recently joined
the ranks of web punditry. He is an alumnus of Louisiana State
University and the University of Alabama.