Cultural Revolutions

January Elections

The Bush administration and its supporters are investing tremendous hope in Iraq’s January national elections.  According to the conventional wisdom in Washington, violence may increase as the balloting approaches, but, once the election is held, the overwhelming majority of Iraqis will be convinced that the resulting government is legitimate.  Except for the foreign terrorists and the Saddam dead-enders, the insurgents will gradually give up and participate in the democratic process.  Violence will subside, and a stable, united, democratic, pro-Western Iraq will emerge, allowing the United States to draw down her forces stationed in that country.

It is a charming vision, but those who cling to the Iraq mission previously invested their hopes in other purported milestones that would dampen the insurgency.  For most of the warhawks, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein’s regime was supposed to be the defining moment.  American troops were to be welcomed as liberators, and Iraqi exiles, led by the Pentagon’s favorite politician, Ahmed Chalabi, would become the successor government in Baghdad virtually by acclamation.  Much to the surprise and dismay of the pro-war faction, it didn’t turn out that way.

Then, the capture of Saddam Hussein in December 2003 was the great milestone.  Since virtually all insurgents were supposedly Ba’athist followers of Saddam, his capture...

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