HUMINT: POTUS in Flatland


It is my opinion that American society is both willing and able to deliver Iraqis from the inherent danger of the world they live in today. It is in American's interests to do so and that is precisely why we shouldn't be distracted by the violence we are witnessing right now. Globalization has made their problem our problem. We can't afford to live with the dysfunction of a Saddam or Al-Sadr. Westerners - and increasingly Easterners - have been putting billions of dollars into the hands of dysfunctional tribal chieftains to satisfy their petroleum needs. That economic system is essentially what Henry Kissinger's policy of containment meant. His era is over but it's obvious we all don't know it yet. Some would like to go back to it, but the bridge was burnt. We don't have a choice. Iraqis have to transition to democracy in order to dissipate their petroleum wealth for the betterment - not detriment - of the region and world. Instead of the Wild West, now it's the Wild East. Of course it will be hard to make the transition, but the region and the world will be more secure when Iraqi society is sufficiently coerced into joining our global village. For this to start we need to know a few things about the people we are dealing with. Consider the following:

  1. Are Iraqi soldiers willing to fight and perhaps die to preserve democracy in Iraq?
  2. If so, how many?
  3. Are Iraqi soldiers willing to put loyalty to the nation ahead of tribal and religious loyalty?
  4. Will a Shiite kill a fellow Shiite in order to protect a Sunni or Kurd, and vice versa?
  5. Are Iraqi soldiers led by honest and competent leaders?
  6. If so, how many?
  7. Is the leadership at the top (especially Maliki) really committed to the success of Democracy?
  8. Do the people of Iraq want a unified nation?
  9. Do they want a unified nation even if their OWN faction is not in control?
  10. Can Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds EVER trust each other enough to trust their own protection to a central government?
  11. Even if the vast majority of people in Iraq really DO want the things above, are they willing to risk their own lives to achieve it?
  12. How many Iraqis are willing to risk their lives when the risk is moderate or high?
  13. Does the recent election in the U.S. mean the Iraqis now think this protection is about to go away?
  14. Are they willing to stand in the gap?
  15. Do Iraqis perceive democracy in Iraq is doomed?
  16. If so, what steps will they take for their own self preservation?

Questions like these can make what is being ignored today as intangible and immeasurable - both tangible and measurable tomorrow. These questions formulated by Free Republic's EternalHope are a bridge to the future built of clear rationale. Americans have to ask these questions and only Iraqis can answer them. There is a significant gap between us and them but for those of us who are paying close attention - in a great number of instances across Iraq - the United States Army has bridged the gap. The men and women who show their kindness and sense of justice has touched the hearts of many Iraqi. But how could we know that when the media both here and there strives to be nothing more than an obituary? We have to get our information from CENTCOM to approach the necessary balance required to formulate any kind of faith in the future. That's a scary thought because of how much trust one must give to an organization who answers directly to the POTUS. It's not that I do not trust the POTUS, it's that the founding fathers established freedom of the press as sacrosanct so that Americans would not have to trust the POTUS.

What a predicament we are in! In a world where our commercial culture and constant promises to each other of instant gratification, we are inadvertently spreading the disease of Attention Deficit Disorder. By commercial I am referring to the 30 second argument. What conclusions can anyone derive about the world when they are constantly bombarded with endless iterations of sensationalism? Rational debate is drowned in an ocean of sensationalism leaving little room for responsible leadership to build a case for anything at all. The cycle is breeding a deficit of informed debate. No one is more complicit in the "content deficit" than the "if it bleeds, it leads" MSM, but like it or not, the media is a reflection of our habitual need for sensational stimulation. It takes a brave soul like yourself to seek out Iraqis who have faith in the future of their country. There should be room for faith in the future in a country that could not have freely elected a parliament only a few years ago. Unfortunately, a contextual basis for optimism is lacking, not because it doesn't exist, but because it isn't as sensational as blood and guts.

Consider this abstract analogy based on the book flatland. Imagine that the popular belief in America is that the world is flat. For all practical human purposes it is flat, so the concept is not hard to believe. Now imagine that every day on the news the idea of "flatness" is affirmed over and over again. And then one day an outrageous event occurs and it immediately becomes essential to the sustainability of the United States that we all believe the world is not flat, but instead a sphere. The few arguments for "sphereness" do not approach the myriad of persistent arguments for "flatness". Believers in "sphere theory" are ridiculed as neocon idealists, but remember, this theory is not a luxury. Failure to grasp the subtle reality could cost more than Americans can afford. Now imagine that one man, an important but not particularly eloquent man, demands that we all understand "the world is not flat, but instead a sphere". In his modesty, he does not ridicule those who subscribe to "flat theory". In his modesty, he does not parade an army of lecturers out to preach "sphere theory" to Americans. So he takes the abuse, hoping that one day an epiphany will occur in the minds of his countrymen. That one day they too will see the world as he does and thereby save themselves.

GWB has asked Americans to understand that "the old world threatens us all" and "believe in a new world that has the potential to save us all". On that basis alone he is a heroic figure. It is utterly tragic that leadership of this sort is rarely recognized within the generation it occurs. Beyond the abstract, I can't fully articulate why I see it now and others can't. Maybe it's because I like to read books like flatland.




  • HUMINT: POTUS in Flatland

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