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Friday, June 13, 2014

Iraq falling apart? Duh.

The news says that Iraq is falling apart. This is the almost inevitable endgame of misguided American military adventurism. Under the guise of "regime change", President George W. Bush systematically destroyed the infrastructure of Iraq, killed an incalculable number of Iraqi civilians, and decapitated (literally) layer upon layer of its thoroughly evil but functional government. In the process we failed to understand that western-style democracy is not created in a day, a year, or even five years — not in the Middle East, at least.

The West in general, and the USA in particular, has a notion of "nation" that doesn't fit the Middle East. The West has been trying to create and stabilize nations in that part of the world for 100 years now. Most such efforts have failed. With a few exceptions, the nations created by the West in the Middle East are completely dysfunctional (e.g. Syria), brutally authoritarian (e.g. Saudi Arabia), or mere collections of tribal factions (e.g. Afghanistan).

In the process, the West has managed to create an awful legacy of mistrust, ill-will, and even hatred between Christians and Muslims that will take centuries to repair. Well, we did get their oil.

Give the Russians credit: it took them 10 years, but they realized the mistake they made by invading Afghanistan and they pulled out. The USA's adventure in Afghanistan is now 12 years old but on exactly the same trajectory. 2,313 Americans have come home in flag-draped caskets, as have 1,111 soldiers of our allies. As in Iraq, nobody knows how many Afghan civilians we have killed. What we do know is that we have spent or will spend trillions of dollars (yes, that's right) on military interventions that were hopeless from day one.

Meanwhile we have Americans proposing new military intervention in Ukraine, Nigeria, and heaven knows where else. I am stunned.