Monday, January 02, 2006

Mission Impossible

Last week I read an excellent article in the Los Angeles Times that fully explains why the US-Iraq War has been such a terrible mistake. Of course I've been privy to the difficulties because in graduate school I read the seminal Clash of Civilizations by Harvard political science professor Samuel P. Huntington.

As Professor Huntington said, “[The] fundamental source of conflict in this new world will not be primarily ideological or primarily economic. The great divisions among humankind and the dominating source of conflict will be cultural.”

Huntington adds, “The people of different civilizations have different views on the relations between God and man, the individual and the group, the citizen and the state, parents and children, husband and wife, as well as differing views of the relative importance of rights as responsibilities, liberty and authority, equality and hierarchy. These differences are a product of centuries.”

After absorbing Huntington’s thoughts I agree that to try to westernize an Islamic nation like Iraq is completely foolhardy. The stated goals will not work because there are forces in Iraq that are well beyond our control. The Iraqis are a part of a civilization that is very different than our western civilization; in terms of values, mores, religion, and such. In short, through the barrel of a gun we are trying to impose western values in a part of the world whose people want very little with what they, especially their religious elites, would term “infidel” values.

Besides Iraq should be three countries as the article points out and to try to bring a unified “nationalistic” identity will be unattainable. What a mission impossible the United States is on.

Read the Los Angeles Times article

Read about The Clash of Civilizations


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