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July 13, 2006



As interesting and considered as the various opinions are in the article and as reported in your post, my first reaction was: where are the Iraqi opinions? As American academics debate creating a new Yugoslavia or a new Lebanon, neither of which have very impressive empirical records, in a manner reminiscent of European colonial civil servants, is it that there are really no Iraqi academics who can add their 2 cents worth, or are all they all tainted by an ethnic or religious identity? The ideas most likely to work, one would assume, are going to be indigenous.

lamont cranston

A legitimate point, Neil, but-- who specifically would you have in mind?

Plus, it's worth keeping in mind that Foreign Affairs is concerned not simply with Iraq, but with American policy towards Iraq. And American interests and Iraqi interests are not necessarily synonymous, even if they might overlap greatly at the moment. So the parallel to the European imperial managers is perhaps legitimate, but not necessarily damning--at least, if one accepts that imperial managers can have their own, legitimate concerns which are distinct from the those of the colonized...


No Preference

A legitimate point, Neil, but-- who specifically would you have in mind?

Oh, come on. The Iraqis have to meet some kind of standard of ours to be worthy of being included in discussing the future of their own country?

This whole discussion is disgusting. I heard Stephen Biddle on the radio yesterday discussing how if we felt the Shiites were not beeing cooperative enough we could just send them a coded message by blowing up one of their police stations, presumably with some policemen inside. He sounded exactly like Alden Pyle of The Quiet American.

aardvark, I question how much good you do in hanging out with people like this, and being extremely polite about their opinions.

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