Thursday, December 18, 2003

Article in the New Yorker on Iraq raises some thoughtful points. Explores thoughts of Drew Erdman. It ends:

“Success will be if there’s a private sphere where they have some real choice in what they do with their lives, and a public sphere where they can have some control over their destiny and the state doesn’t visit arbitrary violence on them,” he said. “This means some type of democracy. It won’t be Jeffersonian democracy, with farmers plowing the godforsaken sands outside of Nasiriya. Some would say, ‘That’s modest.’ But it isn’t. It will be huge. And it’ll be something uniquely Iraqi. They don’t have to love us, or even like us—why should they? We liberated them, but the fact that we had to do it adds to the trauma of coming out of decades of totalitarian rule. It’s difficult for us. We look at ourselves and say, ‘We have really good motives and try to do the right thing and why don’t people appreciate it?’ That’s an American thing. Few Iraqis are ever going to step forward and say, ‘I really love the C.P.A.’ They’ll have to live here long after we’re gone. They have legitimate interests, and we shouldn’t treat them as children—they’re not. If in five or ten years they can look back on this period and believe that they’re better off, then things will be O.K. We’ll be able to move beyond this period to where things are normal between the United States and Iraq.” He paused and shrugged. “In a way, success will be if the Iraqis don’t hate us.”

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