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Monday, August 15, 2005


Rich Melmon

Similarities to Vietnam are minimal. There is no Ho Chi Min. There is no national force equivelent to the North Vietnamese. The insurgents have an agenda that appeals to a vanishingly narrow segment of Iraqi society. They can disrupt indefinitely, but govern... never. Very different from the dynamic of Vietnam.

Federalism is a forgone conclusion. The question is, can it be stablized in this particular constitutional process. Unlikely.

There is now and likely will be an ongoing civil war. Perhaps at the current level of intensity for many years. The question for the US is how much does it play.

The Shia's, however they may bitch, need us to keep from getting killed by the Sunni's. Which keeps us there to keep the Iranians, Saudi's and Syrians from getting too crazy. The Kurds are already autonomous. They only have to worry about Turkey. It seems unlikely Turkey will mess with them.

Bush will take down the Republican party over this because he has been incompetent in backing Rumsfeld, the village idiot who thought he was so much smarter than everyone else. He has compounded this by insisting on his fantasy version of progress there, rather than bluntly telling Americans what's up.

And, in spite of bitter protests, the world is better off, not so much because Saddam is gone, although that is a good thing, but because it may have unlocked a new dynamic that, in many decades, may change the nature of the Middle East, which was otherwise hopeless beyond human reckoning. That's why we did this, even though the administration will deny that.

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