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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

in for the long haul? « Previous | |Next »
August 14, 2003

There is a good post with pictures on the way the Americans are trying to win the peace in Iraq at EastSouthWestNorth. (Scroll down to, How to win friends and influence people)

Looking at the pictures you can see why its proving to be so difficult for the Americans to create a democratic Iraq based on a long-term building of a relationship with the Iraqi people by adressing their real concerns. The Americans are acting like an occupation force in a foreign country. And Kenrufo over at This is not a blog links to this essay by Michael Kagan in Policy Review called War and aftermath. Kagan says:

"The U.S. has developed and implemented a method of warfare that can produce stunning military victories but does not necessarily accomplish the political goals for which the war was fought."

Kagan then adds that:

"If the US is to undertake wars that aim at regime change and maintain its current critical role in controlling and directing world affairs, then it must fundamentally change its views of war. It is not enough to consider simply how to pound the enemy into submission with stand-off forces. War plans must also consider how to make the transition from that defeated government to a new one. "

The consequences? Civilians become the enemy. The US becomes an occupying force. Here is a description of everyday life by Salem Pax the Baghdad blogger now writing in The Guardian

This sort of relationship will only fuel an Iraqi nationalism that wants the Americans to leave their country. It is also helping to turn Iraq into a new battlefield. Another Afghanistan looming? I presume that a lot of the new guerrillas are angry about foreigners over-running and being in control of Iraq.

How to explain this sort of resistance? Well we have Daniel Pipes being bought to Australia by the Centre of Independent Studies to inform us about Islam. So what is Pipes saying? Consider this article from their Policy Journal (Autumn 2002).

Pipes says that Islam is in a state of shock. One it ruled the world, now Muslims are in a bad way. There are three Islamic responses to modernity----secular, reformist and Islamist--that offer ways of navigating the shoals of modernity. Secularism is a minority postion under seige, reformism is intellectually bankrupt but functions well as a political strategy, Islamism is in the ascendency. So what does Pipes tell us about Islamism?

He says that Islamism, with its devotion to sacred law, rejection of Western influences and the transformation of faith into ideology, aspires to create a new order. It is not the traditionalism of the village elder as it is an ideology that uses the state to promote a programme to tame the West. The tactics of Islamists are murderous; then they take power as in Iran or Afghanistan the result is a disaster and the Islamist state is a rogue state by definition as it is a ruthless institution that causes misery and home and abroad and operates in terms of expediency and power.

This is very negative account of Islam. It is designed to justify open conflict between Islam and the West as the inevitable clash of civilizations. Pipes does not leave open the possibility of co-existence between the West and Islam since he is emphasizing the worst about Islam. It is the violent Other full of hatred and antagonism.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 9:58 AM | | Comments (0)