December 4, 2006

Blame the Iraqis.

A few of weeks ago I wrote about the attempts to bring a closure to the debate on Iraq war. One new method seems to be taking shape. There are a number of key voices shifting blame to Iraqi people suggesting an innate inability on their part for civilized conduct.

This is problematic as a cover-up for American blunders for several reasons.

First, as I wrote earlier the original reasons for going to war had absolutely nothing to do with spreading democracy or liberating Iraqi people. As such any short-comings of Iraqi people in the graciousness department have no bearing on any evaluation of American actions.

The blame-the-Iraqis strategy doesn't work even if one supposes (as I don't) for a moment that a peaceful Iraq would have justified going to war. It is true that much of the violence taking place in Iraq today is among Iraqis - with Shiites killing Sunnis and vice versa. There is little in this ancient and bloody rivalry that has to do with American presence. Consequently Americans can not be blamed for the existence of this rivalry. On the other hand, they could, and should, be blamed for providing an easy atmosphere where this rivalry is ruthlessly pursued. As soon as Americans took up the responsibility of holding Iraq together after removing Saddam, their foremost duty should have been to maintain security. They failed miserably at this. Brutal and inexcusable as Saddam Hussein's reign had been, he was at least able to keep the people largely peaceful (though at the cost of suppressing the majority Shiites). No amount of theorizing on the tribal propensities of Iraqis is going to wash off this historic failing of Americans.


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