THE ECONTRARIAN

A tad askew from the traditional view

Monday, December 19, 2005

SIX YEARS? NOT BLOODY LIKELY

It's far from certain that history necessarily repeats itself, but it may be of some interest to recall what happened in Iraq in the 1920's. In May of 1920, Britain accepted the invitation of the League of Nations to serve as the mandatory for the transformation of what had long been known as Mesopotamia to an independent state under the modern name of Iraq. It was Britain's objective to maintain troops in the country, assist in organizing a new form of government and then withdraw. Sound familiar?

In comparison with the situation today, however, there were some big differences. First, conditions were considerably less chaotic. Internal strife was not a problem. The main threat came from outside the country in the form of hostile neighbors and boundary disputes. And second, the type of government that was chosen for Iraq was a monarchy, a form that was relatively easy to create and maintain, and one that was accepted by the populace.

Yet, under these conditions, it was six years before Iraq was in a position to adequately defend itself, and Britain was able to withdraw its forces. Six years!

Today, we not only have to be concerned with Iraq's ability to ward off an obvious aggressor such as Iran, but there is the very real threat of civil war to be dealt with as well. In addition, the creation of a democratic form of government in a country composed of such highly volatile religious and ethnic factions is sure to consume a considerable amount of time before it is able to operate adequately, and - let's face it - a government so created under these conditions may never be able to run smoothly.

To talk of withdrawing from Iraq within a year or two or even six is pie-in-the-sky baloney, because when it comes right down to it, the "wise ones" will always say: "If we leave Iraq now, we'll be leaving it to the wolves," - and they'll be right. And don't forget, we're talking about a lot of oil here, and a lot of powerful western interests involved in that oil.

No, the truth is - and the government should level with us on this matter - we are stuck in Bush's mess for a very long haul, and there is NO WAY OUT!

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