Dr Ken Pollack - author of the essential "Persian Puzzle" and a real live Iraqi Surge psychic, reflects about Great Satan's baby democracy in Iraq with a great piece that includes a great synopsis of xforming Iraq from one of nearly 2 dozen Arab despotries into something more like Great Satan:
"The critical role that the United States plays today is that we are the peacekeepers, we are the levy holding back violence, we are Iraq’s security blanket, and we are the broker of political deals that makes Iraqis willing to keep sacrificing today because they can hope for a better tomorrow.
"But another way to think about the American role is that we enforce the rules: we prevent Iraqis from employing large-scale violence in pursuit of political agendas, which reassures all of them that they can take actions that would be risky in the kind of security vacuum that existed (thanks to American negligence and foolishness) in 2004-2006 and that would exist again if we withdrew prematurely. Acts like voting for the candidate you like rather than the candidate with the most thugs.
"If Iraqis believe that security blanket is going to be removed prematurely, they will be terrified that the militia warlords will revert back to violence (which they certainly will) and will again rule the country very soon.
"That would prompt ordinary Iraqis (who would gladly do the right thing if they could) to do the wrong thing, and sign on with the militias to ensure that they are protected when the Americans leave and the civil war re-ignites.
"The mistake we are in danger of making in Iraq is that as our military steps back, our civilians are not always stepping up. Over the past six to nine months, our embassy has been inconsistent at best, and has panicked many Iraqis and many Iraqi leaders into believing that the Obama administration does not care about Iraq and is simply running for the exit as fast as they can.
"This isn’t true, and the President’s lieutenants have said so time and again, as has Vice President Biden, both in private and in public. But by failing to remain actively engaged with the Iraqi political process at all levels, by disdaining any further involvement in guiding Iraq’s domestic politics, and in abandoning aid programs willy-nilly, many embassy personnel have convinced a great many Iraqis of exactly the opposite. And therein lies the seeds of renewed civil war and a disaster for American interests.
"The last thing that any American should want is for an NSC staffer to have to walk into the Oval office one day and ask, “Mr. President, would you rather send 150,000 American troops back to Iraq or have it descend into renewed civil war?” That is clearly not a decision this president ever wants to face. The best way to ensure that he never has to do so is to invest the diplomatic capital and bureaucratic elbow grease right now to reassure Iraqis that they can keep taking risks for peace because we are not abandoning them.
(U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Angelique Perez)