well, i had a blog in 94, had to abandone it, my latest one is quite new yet. I wondered what people thought of this? my latest post, which seemd pertinentr with the NIE and the latest revolt of the generals. I also feel that this is a "take" that i have not seen on iraq:
ahem, feel free to visit my nascent cyber presence. thanks.
Iraq: The Biggest Lie They Told
Why Princeton Should Ask Rumsfeld to Return His Degree
Flash: Princeton examines Rumsfeld's analysis and conduct of the Iraq War, and asks for the return of his degree in "Politics". Oh would that it were true, it certainly should be true.
The Secretary of Defense, and for that matter the whole "MBA Admisitration", have failed to show in the case of Iraq, that they absorbed even the most elementary concepts of political theory in college. In their statements and rhetoric that the road to democracy would be a cakewalk, they disregarded what even a state university dunce such as myself, knew long ago, that democracy takes decades to get going.
By not being honest about the basic difficulties, by ignoring what he learned at the vaunted Priceton, Rummy told what I consider to be be the biggest lie of the entire ordeal. He told us that it would be easy. "I doubt six months". (Rumsfeld's famous pre-war prediction from USA Today, 04/01/03).
In light of this, It's So Obvious that Rummy must have failed the mid term and final, and should immediately return his sheepskin. In fact, the lie strikes me, not only as one of the most unanalyzed aspects of the war to date. Let us examine.
Political theorists are a cross between historians and political scientists. In brief, one of their main concerns is to look at the various forms of government that arise in the human condition, and to assess why certain forms of polity persist under certain conditions. These would include such systems as monarchy, theocracy, democracy, or dictatorship to name just a few.
The basic idea in this regard is to examine the various factors of people, place, and time, among others, that seem to particularly favor the establishment and maintenance of one form of political system over another. What factors contribute to the creation of a stable democracy? Why do some countries, regions, or conditions seem prone to dictatorship, or strong arm rule?
Basic political theory since Alexis de Tocqueville in his landmark1831 tome ,Democracy in America have held that of all the different forms of government that might arise, democracy is among the most difficult to establish, let alone flourish and survive. Democracy is far from simple. Its growth may even include elements of luck and geography that are specific to the United States.
In brief, Political Theory 101 teaches us that special conditions promote and foster democracy as Americans conceive of it. The short list of key indexes would include the following:
1) A population with a long tradition, respect for, and experience with the notions of free speech and a vigorous and inquiring press.
2) A population that is informed, and is itself comfortable with vigorous questioning.
3) Population respect and has experience with an independent judiciary, the rule of law, and the separation of powers.
4) A national consciousness that includes a devotion and tradition with the ideas of self determination in the political sense.
5) A tradition of self reliance in the economic and personal sense.
6) Acceptance of the supremacy of the federal government and the manner in which power is shared with the states or regional authorities.
7) Experience and understanding of freedom, equality, and the rights of humankind.
Stable economy and matters of infrastructure, abundant and varied resources.
9) Perhaps most importantly, that the survival and safety needs of the population are well established.
Clearly, in the case of the United States, and other countries with various forms of democracy about the globe, this partial list of factors is quite evident. Can any of these items be more glaringly absent from the Iraqi experience both past and present? Did Rummy know this? Princeton thinks he did.
The job of establishing that beacon of democracy in the mideast is therefore in need of many more building blocks and much more time and money than anyone in Washington or on the airwaves ever revealed to us. It took the US decades to actually arrive at some of the aforementioned parameters. Why were we not informed of this as a matter of course?
Not only does Iraq want for nearly every major factor to bring democracy into existence, but the actions of the present administration have magnified and in some instances created circumstances that are diametrically opposed to this goal. Conditions in Iraq, economic, political, and otherwise actually represent a wonderful mixture for the rise of regional dictatorship and strong arm rule. Can anyone say "civil war"? This is not only a supreme irony, but represents Rummy's failure to have earned his degree.
Basic political theory has outlined the conditions favoring the rise of dictators and strong man rule. Some of the most vivid examples of this in recent history can be found in post WW I Europe with the rise of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini. The history of Latin America and Africa are also rife with examples. (Latin America in particular shares with Iraq, the problems associated with what has been called "monoculture", i.e., the reliance on a single resource for revenue, but that is another whole discussion). The short list of factors favoring the rise of strong man rule and regional dictatorships would include such things as:
1) Unstable economic conditions including rampant unemployment, and strong inflation threatening the basic security of the population in terms of survival.
2) Breakdown in the rule of law further lessening the safety of the people.
3) Unstable infrastructure with respect to utilities, water, electricity and the availability of food and life services.
4) Absence of experience with democratic support intsitutions such as a free press, an independent judiciary, or the separation of powers.
5) The rise of regional and ethnic factions pronouncing their own self interest or hearkening back to some more stable perceived golden era in the past.
6) A collective blow to the national ego.
When a population is confronted with these types of conditions, theory holds that the people will yearn for the basic immediacy and stability that can be offered through some form of strong man rule. US policy under Rummy and Bush has actually enhanced and multiplied each and every one of these tendencies. Can anyone say otherwise?
The ideas outlined above are simple and completely elementary in the thinking that embodies political theory. Any college student would be exposed to these notions by the time they reach the second sememster of world history.
Yet, the monumental task of establishing democracy, and the healthy environment for dictatorship and civil war created by US military presence and actions simply cry out to be heard. The lies of omission, and the supreme irony that American actions in Iraq have actually postponed our alleged objective should not be lost on even the most casual observer.
They never told us that it would be so hard, and it is a matter of complete failure that they did not. I call upon Princeton University to demand that Donald Rumsfeld return his degree immediately, and be required to repeat US History 101, and World History 102.