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Hey Now... This Looks Kinda Familiar | Main | The Fallujah Deal, Part II: We've Got Other Irons in the Fire
May 01, 2004

The Fallujah Deal: Selling Out Iraq's Future to Terrorists, and Why That's a Good Thing

So, we've done what Sistani and all the other "moderate" Iraqi clerics wanted: we negotiated a truce that essentially lets the terrorists continue terrorizing.

It's not necessarily all bad.

It's been angering us for some time that the Iraqis are engaging in an irresponsible-verging-on-childish politics for some time. One one hand, they do nothing but complain that their security is poor, and that they're being killed by Baathists and foreign fighters.

On the other hand, they rage against their American "occupiers" and demand piously that we not touch a hair on one of the precious heads of their murderous Muslim brethren.

These two demands are plainly irreconcilable. Their complaints are incoherent; we could not satisfy both demands simultaneously, no matter how hard we endeavored to do so, because the more one is satisfied, the less the other is. And that's unavoidable.

This is what makes their complaints irresponsible, incoherent, altogether worthless. And that's sort of what separates a critique from a mere childish complaint. A critique is a coherent criticism which offers a new suggested course of action. A mere complaint is a childish temper-tantrum of someone whining, "I don't like things the way they are, and I want you to make all of my troubles go away, but I will continue complaining no matter what course of action you choose."

We've got a whole essay about this phenemenon, and how universal it is -- the Democratic Party is currently past-masters of childish complaining -- but leave that aside for now. It's not necessary to make the instant point.

The Iraqis have thusfar been permitted to be irresponsible and utterly incoherent in their complaining because we have shielded them from the consequences of their own inconsistencies by simply ignoring them and doing what is, more than likely, the right thing. But that has earned us no goodwill; indeed, it only sets them complaining all the louder.

It's time, we think, to actually do some of the things the complaining Iraqis claim they want us to do, and do them the favor -- it's a favor in the long-term -- of letting the suffer the consequences of their own childish tantrums. Perhaps they will soon learn the often brutal relationship between cause and effect, a relationship which has thusfar been obscured from their eyes by the presence of an all-purpose scapegoat, the "occupier" Crusader armies.

You want us to negotiate, Imam Sistani? Very well. Here's what happens in a negotiation, bub: We negotiate with the former killers and thugs who kept you down for forty years, and we grant them concessions and political power. Political power that would otherwise reside in your hands; but hey, you wanted a negotiation, right? Well enjoy the fruits of your ingrate complaining. One of Saddam's generals is now in control of Fallujah; isn't negotiating grand?

At some point -- and usually this point is reached extremely early -- attempting to protect people from their own self-destructive stupidity becomes counter-productive. They don't thank you for your kindness, and indeed they only blame you for everything that goes wrong in their miserable lives.

That's one of the tenets of conservatism: Everyone has the right to be stupid. Everyone has the right to engage in self-destructive behavior. And it is wisest to allow people to do so, if their minds are so set, because you just can't dictate that people smarten up.

Either people will ultimately kill themselves or they will wise up right before doing so and learn a lesson, a lesson which a government or liberating army is incapable of instilling in them. They have to learn themselves.

There is only one tonic for such irresponsiblity: Give them the responsibility and let them learn to swim or else drown in their own juvenile incoherence. They will almost certainly make the wrong decisions at first, but hopefully they will learn.

The Iraqis will have to put up with these people, long after our troops have retreated into their bases and concern themselves chiefly with force-protection and border security.

If they want to keep these people around, fine (up to a point). When the Iraqis themselves have primary responsibility for their own internal security, they can deal with the problem. Their will be more bloodshed, of course, especially more blood shed from Iraqis loyal to the new government, but that is the consequence of "negotiating" with people who want to kill you.

If the Iraqis wish to die by the score learning that lesson, it's fine by us.

Rather they who volunteered for such mayhem than our American heroes who are doing the jobs of ingrates -- ingrates whose scapegoating and incoherence and cowardice in making even the most basic decisions about their own futures make them mere spectators in their own fates.

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posted by Ace at 10:03 PM

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