UI – Part 520 – Democracy on Muslim Soil
America, cast as a Christian Nation, with credible national achievements, has erred on many occasions from the pulpit of the President thinking we are God chosen, and trying to take that to the other world. It works at home, but not abroad. We can be an example, but the leadership for change, how foreigners govern themselves, must come from the local body politic. If they like how they live and are controlled, it is their prerogative to continue with their historical practice. It may be secular, it may be theocratic, a republic or a socialist nation, it is their choice not ours.
However, in the aftermath of war, if indeed we were a part of the victory and asked to remain to restore order, bringing our form of oversight only makes sense as that is what we know. But prepared we must be to stay for many seasons, even decades, to insure the inculcation of our methods while in place at the hierarchy is also taught from kindergarten to the college level until those first exposed have completed the entire curriculum. Then the students become the next members of the authority with knowledge and skills we taught. Then habits may change, even cultures or religious thinking may change. Without staying power or the will to remain, there can be little change. We must accept that and continue at home with our best practices, avoiding modifications detrimental to what we have historically accomplished. We cannot impose our exceptionalism on others. But we also cannot take exception to our accomplishments and position in the world thinking by doing so we are more humble. We need not trumpet our success as greater self-importance or world ranking. Let such a view by third-parties be earned. Humiliating ourselves makes others see us as foolish, as why should we be less than proud of what America has achieved.
When we left Iraq it was our Administration that did not want us to stay. The Shiite leader, Maliki, may have wanted us gone so he could govern as he preferred. Our presence was essential to maintain the momentum of change that was taking place There were tribal differences awaiting the opportunity to challenge each other. We were more than peacekeepers and should have been more strident insisting we stay to keep the order. With adequate persuasion, I am convinced, Maliki would have acquiesced to the prophylactic the military strength we had on scene provided. The same is true in Afghanistan. Time was needed to have the people adjust to the compromises and the youth grow up in an environment with disciplines focused on the maintenance of peace and tranquility, even when surrounded by high walls covered with barbed-wire. With some stability the advice we could provide and systems put in place might have enabled a transition into a more secular government, less theocratic, with individual freedom, to include speech and religion, becoming more commonplace. The war ravaging the land of Iraq and Syria and the creation of ISIS was enabled by the absence of our presence in that theater of operation. Obama played into the hand and objective of Iran’s Ayatollah, to create a Shi’a Crescent in Mesopotamia, Iran to Lebanon. When we left, any intelligence being gathered on the ground and from the people was gradually lost. It is knowledge, understanding, relationships, feedback and trust that over time would have allowed for a more stable, less violent, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria.
The people missed out also on the opportunity to be exposed to other faiths. The Christians would have been protected and the numbers maintained, even allowed to grow. The Yazidi’s would have been safe and what they believed and how they worshipped respected. Missionaries may have found a platform to spread the Word of God and challenge the dictates of Islam and the barbarism allowed when members of sects of that ideology disagree and counter each other with cries of heresy and death to the apostates.
America’s role when the opportunity presents itself is not to impose our form of democracy, except possibly for open elections, elections without being fixed, and choices by the people. In addition humane practices towards every citizen must be imposed, if at all possible.
Leaving Iraq was indeed an opportunity lost. Now we are back, having allowed a reversal of opportunity for the people, a strengthening of the hand of the Shiite political arm, the morphing and merging of factions creating ISIS, the destruction of infrastructure we funded with billions of dollars, the loss on intelligence gathering opportunities, and a tragic attitude towards the loss of life and the sacrifices our military made. This is indeed a black mark on the legacy of Obama.
Grace and Peace