Monday, February 16, 2004

Well now it appears that we're going to be selective about which laws we let the Iraqis pass. This is (yet another) problem with the war.

I opposed the war not because it was bad, but because it would be extraordinarily difficult to win the peace. And if we don't win the peace, we haven't won the war. I figured the Kurds would eventually declare independence and that Sunnis and Shiites wouldn't be able to get along. The first is the more dangerous prospect. If the Kurds declare Kurdistan, I see a high likelihood that Turkey would invade. What would we do then? Surely we wouldn't shoot at (fellow NATO member) Turks, would we? But would we stand aside while the Turks shot the Kurds? That wouldn't be particularly palatable either. There would also be the chance that Iran would invade (both Turkey and Iran suppress their Kurdish populations, and the last thing either one wants is an independent Kurdistan). This wouldn't be good either, but presumable in the Manichean worldview of Rummy and Wolfowitz, our response would be to simply start shooting Iranians. The decision making process would be far easier than deciding what to do about a hypothetical Turkish invation. Not that it's a better plan, but it's at least a simpler decision.

Thankfully, it hasn't happened. Yet. It may be worse than I thought--I didn't know about the Turkmen, but they seem rather well armed and vigorously opposed to Kurdistan. I suppose they'd support Turkey? And what of the other various minorities in the area, and the remaining arabs? I'm confident they'd be shooting at someone, but I don't know enough to predict their targets.

But anyway, the news that Bremer is set to decide which laws to sign into being points to another whole problem. It's very well and good to talk about setting up a democratic government. But what if the the people of Iraq democratically elect a stinker? This could take many forms. If they look to impose Sharia law, it'd be bad for women. What if the democratically elected government of Iraq declares holy war on Israel? Iran? Kuwait? The problem with a legitimate Iraqi government is that we can't control it. Politically, I don't think W wants to let the Iraqis make their own decisions just yet. I predict that the turnover of power won't happen until after the presidential election.

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