The Declassified NIE Key Judgments

From the declassified NIE Key Judgments:

Recent condemnations of violence and extremist religious interpretations by a few notable Muslim clerics signal a trend that could facilitate the growth of a constructive alternative to jihadist ideology: peaceful political activism. This also could lead to the consistent and dynamic participation of broader Muslim communities in rejecting violence, reducing the ability of radicals to capitalize on passive community support. In this way, the Muslim mainstream emerges as the most powerful weapon in the war on terror.

Would this make the "Muslim mainstream" a weapon of mass construction?


"Until you stop eating us, humans will continue to die from vegetables contaminated with E. coli."
- the Cows and Chickens


Culture of Ignorance

When I was a child, my parents raised me on meat and dairy, Southern Christian fundamentalism, and dysfunctional family values. There have been times when I have felt angry about this. There have been times I have realized that they were doing the best they knew how, given their own upbringing and environment.

How is it that a culture so inept at teaching its children how to take care of themselves physically and psychologically has become the dominant culture of the world? Why is there so much obesity, chronic disease, mental disturbance, alienation, intolerance, and dysfunction in societies that seem to have mastered technology? If Darwin was right, it would seem like a culture getting so much wrong would be dying out rather than thriving and taking over the world.



What are the options?

It seems to me impossible for people from the US to create a democratic (or any other kind of) government in another country. Iraq will wind up with whatever kind of government people there decide on. It may be democtratic or totalitarian. It may be Islamist or secular. In the long run, the US government and military can't dictate what kind of government it will be.

The whole purpose of the US presence in Iraq, as I understand it, is to stand up the kind of government the US thinks Iraq ought to have. The larger the role the US plays in standing it up, the more dependent I think it's likely to be on US support and enforcement.

Sooner or later, the US will have to get out of Iraq. When that happens, the people of Iraq will decide what kind of government they're going to have. It may be that a few will impose their will on the majority. If that's what happens, it will be because the majority allowed it. It may be that a tolerant, open-minded government will arise because the majority of the Iraqi people decide that that's what they want. Either way, it won't be up to the US.

It seems to me that there are basically two options open to the US:

  1. Stay in Iraq trying to prop up an artificial "Western-style" "democracy" for a some period of time, spending vast amounts of US money and lives, and then leave and see what happens, or

  2. Leave now and see what happens.

Either way, in the long run it comes down to leaving and seeing what happens. It can be the long, painful, expensive way, or the shorter, painful, less expensive way. Which way would you prefer?

Support our troops -- bring them home while they're still alive.