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the post war question
from the dailykos, fast becoming my favorite weblog for war news and commentary:
Iraq is a place where outcomes matter. In 1920, two years after WW I, a nationwide rebellion erupted, and when asked, they're still mad at the British for invading and staying. In 1991, the minute Saddam looked on the ropes, the knives came out. Now, we've created a black hole of a power vacuum. There is no one close to running the country. The Army is gone, the Baathists dying by the bucketload, the various factions are waiting to claim their stake.
Yet, I'm reading articles crowing about how well the war went. The problem is that deposing Saddam is like dumping the Czar in 1917. Just because you establish a democratic government, doesn't mean Kerensky is going to stay in power. If you had said in 1916 that the US would be in Russia until 1920, fighting communists, you would have been deemed a madman.
Just because Saddam was an evil bastard, doesn't mean his methods were ineffective. He kept control of a country with millions of guns and two active factions not dedicated to the territorial integrity of the country. He killed a lot of people to remain in power. The US does not have this option. The war alone has ruined the credibility of the US in the Arab World. Saddam's methods are not available.

the entire article is an excellent analysis of what the post war situation could be like and what problems the american administrative efforts could face. the war does not get over with the occupation of baghdad or the killing of saddam hussein. there exist forces in the long oppressed country, simmering just underneath the scarred surface of iraq, that are ready to explode in a confusion of loyalties, demands and expectations as soon as saddam hussein is out of the way. dictatorships function by silencing all dissent and ruling with an iron fist, with the removal of that fist, the pin is being pulled from the grenade, so to speak. a fearsome picture of what could soon be taking place in iraq is the current afghan situation.
afghanistan has its warlords, iraq has the kurds, the shias and the sunnis, looks like a melee is on its way.

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