I have posed the questions so many times before.
But here they are again:
1) Should a “victory” in Iraq be defined as anything other than an outcome which will definitely leave the Camp of Islamic Jihad weakened?
2) If the answer to #1 is, as I hope it will be, “No,” then why is it better to prevent the sectarian fissures within Iraq between Sunnis and Shi’a? These fissures are not limited to Iraq. They can be observed in a half-dozen countries, and what’s more, they have the ability to set Sunni regimes against the Shi’a who stand to inherit The Land of the Two Rivers, that is, Mesopotamia. Mesopotamia, of course, was the center for 500 years of the Abbasid Caliphate. For the first hundred it was centered in Samarra, and for the remaining four hundred in Baghdad, madinat al-salaam, the fabled city of Haroun al-Rashid. It will also set those Sunni regimes against the Shi’a in their midst, or, to put it another way, they will not be willing to allow the “Persian” Shi’a, those “Rafidite dogs,” to inherit that part of the Arab land that is considered to be the place where its (much exaggerated) “glorious history” was made, and where its capital city, “glorious” Baghdad, was the center of that history.
3) If the answer to #1 is “No,” and if it is clear that 80% of the world’s Muslims are non-Arab, but have in various ways and to various degrees (with the Kurds and black Africans of Darfur, mass murder; with the Berbers, denial of their right to use the Berber language or preserve and disseminate the Berber culture) been the victims of Arab cultural and linguistic and economic and political imperialism, why does it not make sense to encourage the Kurds to obtain independence? For this will raise, in the minds of many non-Arab Muslims, the very thought that it might be possible to throw off the Arab yoke. And this in turn is likely to cause all kinds of dissension within the Camp of Islam, even possibly driving some non-Arab Muslims, whose ethnicity works against rather than reinforces their Islam, to leave Islam altogether.
4) If the answer to #1 is “No” (as I hope it still is), then do we not wish that the co-religionists of Sunnis and Shi’a in Iraq will send aid from outside? Such aid is likely to use up their men, their money, their materiel, their attention, and especially to force the two most sinister and powerful Islamic states, Iran and Saudi Arabia, for reasons of prestige, to necessarily ensure that “their side” does not lose. And since in Islam (as the Americans refuse so far to recognize) one does not compromise but ends either as Victor or Vanquished, such a low-level war is liable to go on forever.
5) There is so much more that might be said, including my oft-repeated argument that Turkey can be made to accept an independent Kurdistan, with American guarantees that such a state will not make territorial demands on Turkey, but will direct its efforts to Iran and Syria. And in the case of Iran, such a Kurdish state can have effects not only in the Kurdish areas of Iran, but among its other non-Persian minorities. One wishes, for example, for continued unrest among the Arabs in Khuzistan, and Iranian repression, and then renewed unrest, just as one hopes that the Shi’a in the oil-bearing Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia will become more and more disgruntled, and that the Shi’a in Bahrain, to which an Iranian official has just renewed Iran’s longstanding claim (sending shudders down Arab spines), will behave in similar fashion.
6) If you answered “No” to #1, but find fault with my #2-#5, then tell us please how the Bush strategy, the one to bring “freedom” to “ordinary moms and dads” and to sacrifice Americans, and American money, to prevent those sectarian and ethnic fissures from widening, and doing everything possible to tamp them down, will lead to a good result, to that “victory” I defined in #1 above.
I’ll wait right here. Tell me. Tell all of us.
Be detailed. No vagueness, no “we just can’t do this” or “it wouldn’t be right to do that.” Go ahead.