What’s Wrong with the World

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The. End.

Daniel Pipes writes:

"...my mood about Iraq could variously be described as depressed, despairing, despondent, dejected, pessimistic, melancholic, and gloomy.

"That's because the Iraqi regime (along with those of Afghanistan, Lebanon, and the Palestinian Authority) is a kept institution that cannot survive without constant American support. As long as Washington pumps money and sacrifices lives to maintain the Baghdad government, the latter can hobble along. Remove those props and Iranian-backed Islamists soon take over...

"As the American era closes, the Iranian one opens. In a year or two, the current elections will be looked back on as a cosmetic episode..."

So I guess even the most neo-conservative of neo-conservatives are finally saying goodbye to the thought that democratizing the Arab world - even assuming that we could bring it about - would be a good idea.

Good on Daniel Pipes.

Comments (8)

To the credit of Daniel Pipes, he has always been much more skeptical of the Iraq adventure than his neo-conservative counterparts.

"To the credit of Daniel Pipes, he has always been much more skeptical of the Iraq adventure than his neo-conservative counterparts."

And then there's this,

"'Don't Attack Saddam,' Brent Scowcroft implored President George W. Bush in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday."

"But, for the sake of America's war on terror, the retired general should review a primary lesson the United States was dealt by the attacks on 9-11. America learned the hard way then that waiting to use what Scowcroft calls the "best strategy and tactics" to remove a global threat is ill advised."

"Saddam Husayn poses no less of a threat to American and global security than Osama bin Laden, yet for more than a decade, Washington has jockeyed and yammered for the right moment, the right place, the right opportunity to depose him. The time for prevarication has passed. The time to attack is now. Saddam must be overthrown, and soon."

"Thus, Saddam will likely have gone nuclear by 2006, and one must count on his using them. This prospect makes a preemptive attack soon not only advisable but urgent"

"Iraq has other links to terrorism against the United States. Czech intelligence officials now say they have a photo of Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, meeting with an Iraqi intelligence agent in Prague. Two of his co-conspirators were also said to have met with Iraqi intelligence officers in the United Arab Emirates, while Bin Laden aides reportedly met with officials in Baghdad."


Ok,.. we care what Pipes has to say, why?

"As the American era closes, the Iranian one opens. In a year or two, the current elections will be looked back on as a cosmetic episode..."

In what way hasn't the Iranian era been "open" since America toppled it's number one regional enemy and enabled the coming to power of Shia Islamist parties that have long had Iranian backing? It's odd that Pipes, given his zealous opposition to Islamist of all stripes and his ultra-hawkishness on Iran, wouldn't have admitted this long ago.

It was always far more likely that Hussein would have used the nukes on Iran than Israel or the US anyway since either country not only would have retaliated to nuclear terrorism, but could have done so with enough nukes to effectively end civilization in Iraq without coming even straining its arsenal.


Some of us neocon true believers won't give up the fight -- I find it curious that Pipes doesn't quote a single source for his pessimistic account. Other neocons I read (people like Michael Rubin, Reuel Marc Gerecht, Michael Tottten) seem to suggest that there is a genuine dislike of Iranian interfernce among a large portion of the population (not just the Sunnis and Kurds but Shias as well) and they will fight for their country when push comes to shove. Of course, all of this talk is just theoretical at this point but the success of the surge provides at least some evidence of a willingness of Iraqis to work toward national goals. I remain proud of what we accomplished in Iraq and remain hopeful that when we start leaving in the next couple of years the country will NOT fall apart.

Daniel - yes: Though Pipes was all in favor of deposing Saddam Hussein, he went sour on the whole "democratization" project very quickly. As I recall, he came around to advocating that we install a "democratically-minded Iraqi strongman" - a very defensible position(though I am even more tempted by John Derbyshire's "to-hell-with-them" hawkery).

al - I find this whole "so-and-so once wrote x, so nobody should pay any attention to him ever again" schtick incredibly tiresome. Even if the lines you quote are as indefensible as you think they are, so what? Should I pass on the *Grosse Fuge* because Beethoven also composed the "Chorus of Dervishes?"

MikeT - fixed.

Jeff - well, time will tell. Of course, Pipes isn't suggesting that Iraq will "fall apart" after we leave.


You are right -- Pipes is only suggesting that the Iranians will take over. As I said, I read a lot of neocons who beg to differ.

On the other hand, just to be fair both to you and the idea that we might be better off with a democratically-minded strongman who could use force in unpopular situations to protect innocent Iraqis, I just came across this horror story which reminds me that there are still a lot of Iraqi Christians who need our prayers:


I find it curious that Pipes doesn't quote a single source for his pessimistic account.

Me too. I might be extremely pessimistic about the Iraq adventure on many fronts, but that doesn't mean that I NOW think that there is no longer any chance for hope where there was just a year ago, for example. Is he basing this on new evidence? Old evidence? New theories on old evidence? Pet peeves? Or just plain dogged pessimism in general? We can't really tell, can we?

I think that there are a lot of reasons to doubt overall independent success of Iraq, but I don't know that there are a lot of new reasons to doubt it. Maybe Pipes is just reading into the situation another 3 years of Obama holding his hands over his eyes and saying "see no evil".

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