Thursday, May 03, 2007

Would a post-US Iraq pose a threat to the US?

For several months Bill Maher has been questioning why we should believe the Bush administration's reasons for staying in Iraq. They've been wrong about in all their other predictions, so why should we listen to them now?

Today, Juan Cole wonders if the Iraqis will actually pursue vengeance against the United States once we leave.

The US military and politicians made a key mistake when they saw the North Vietnamese Communists of Ho Chi Minh as primarily Communists, when in fact they were Vietnamese nationalists. It was the nationalist component that proved so attractive to many of their collaborators in the south. After the North Vietnamese Communists took over they almost immediately had a firefight with Communist China. It would be tragic if the US makes another such error in Iraq.

Bush and Cheney speak as though the enemy there is a terrorist international, a stateless al-Qaeda dedicated to establishing an Islamic superstate and bringing down the United States. That is 99.99 % wrong. Almost all those fighting in Iraq are Iraqi nationalists. Just as Communist Vietnam posed no real threat to the US and was of little use to other Communist states as an ally, so a post-US Iraq would be a country of Iraqi nationalists (with, admittedly, ethno-religious subnationalisms playing either a decisive or an important role). Informed Comment

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