Televised images showing Iraqis welcoming soldiers, pulling up to the curb with piping hot liberty, democracy, openness, free speech and freedom to travel have had considerable discussion on the boards, and I'm humble enough to concdede that I underestimated our American troops, and overestimated our enemy's resolve to fight us to the death. In that sense, there is potential to deliver to the Iraqi people something that Saddam Hussein and his many statues good never deliver. But part of the problem for me is that the Bush administration has not made public its plans for Iraq without Mr. Hussein. In the absence of any such blueprint, there is widespread concern that Iraq will fracture into competing ethnic groups, punctuated by a blood bath of revenge killings against remnants of the Baath Party. This is very real, now let me tell you why...
The looting in Baghdad's biggest cities, the assassination of a moderate Shiite clergyman in Najaf and reports of squads hunting down Baathists to murder seemed to confirm those fears. The Mongols leveled Baghdad in 1260, extinguishing centuries of Islamic achievement. It could happen again in Iraq.
Arabs often fall back on history in divining their fate, particularly the 1916 Sykes-Picot treaty that carved the Middle East into its modern states and apportioned them to Britain or France as colonies. To this day they cite the treaty as the main cause of the lack of Arab unity, which becomes the cause of their impotence — as in their failure to influence the events that brought the war.
So the key question is whether the United States can rule 23 million Iraqis and move them to a new form of government, virtually unknown to them after 30 years of Baath Party dictatorship, without arousing their ire and hence that of all 300 million Arabs. Misrule in Iraq could cause the surge in fundamentalist violence that many, particularly Arab leaders, predicted would be the fruits of an American war against Iraq? What do you guys think, can our nation rebuild Iraq to a better end?