The latest Iraqi “quagmire”

Rocket Man, I agree with your analysis of the Bush Administration’s calculated gamble with respect to democracy in Iraq. My take on the demonstrations is that the Islamists are unwilling to make a similar gamble. In other words, they are unwilling to find out how they would fare in democratic elections, and thus seek to pre-empt elections by holding mass demonstrations demanding that the U.S. leave. When the U.S. refuses to accede to this demand, the Islamists, supported by Iran and perhaps other states, will likely launch terrorist attacks against our troops. Their biggest ally throughout this process will be the U.S. mainstream media, which will conclude from mass demonstrations that the U.S. has lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the Iraqis and squandered the good will generated by the toppling of Saddam (good will that many of the same media members denied would be so generated). Many who initially fretted that we would leave Iraq prematurely will now argue that we have overstayed our welcome and should exit in order to placate the Arab street and avoid an impending “quagmire.” The thing to remember, of course, is that the mass demonstrations will not mean that most Iraqis want us to leave, any more than the anti-war protests in this country meant that most Americans opposed the war. The only way to determine what most Iraqis want is through the very democratic elections that the demonstrators hope to avoid.

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