Foreign Policy & Terrorism | August 19, 2005
Douglas Drenkow, "Progressive
Posted in "GordonTalk"
From Left Field"
do we make peace in Iraq?" Now, there's an expression we've
heard precious little of. The question is more often "How
do we defeat the insurgents?" Or "How do we pull out
without allowing Iraq to descend into civil war?"
respectfully submit that we cannot achieve either of the latter
two goals if we do not achieve the first. Make the peace and the
rest will follow.
precisely what the Iraqi people are struggling mightily to do
for themselves at this very moment -- this historic moment in
the history of Iraq, and of the entire Middle East -- as they
grapple with the issues that divide them, in their
constitutional convention, now in overtime -- "sudden death
overtime" for their nationhood and for the success of the
mission of our troops, who have sacrificed
so dearly for the cause (regardless of the legality of the
war in the first place, a responsibility of our leaders, not of
our troops on the ground, in the air, and at sea).
haven't the Iraqis -- or we -- been able to make the peace?
Well, for our part (which undoubtedly influences the mindset of
the people under our gun), we went into Iraq not only without
enough armor for our troops but also without a clue as to what
makes Iraq Iraq -- assuming, of course, that the entire concept
of Iraq isn't merely a mirage, as I previously
While as I
have written, it is true that the disparate peoples thrown
together by the
forces of history as "Iraqis" -- the Shiite Arabs,
the Sunni Arabs, and the Sunni Kurds -- can find no end of
reasons to distrust and despise one another (let alone us), it
has also been written, in works far holier than any we'll read
in a mere mortal blog, that there is something far greater than
disputes over oil, power, or any other worldly rhyme or reason.
is this common denominator, which can miraculously unite all
-- "God is greatest" -- the
very motto of Iraq, the belief that makes Iraqis Iraqis, or
for that matter Muslims Muslims (or for that matter Jews Jews or
further our homework (which should have been done long before we
put our troops to the test), "Islam" means, quite
simply and beautifully, "submission to God". And
therein lies the only hope for peace in Iraq.
the role of Islamic Law in the new Iraq a major stumbling block
in bringing the parties together? Yes, but there is a more
fundamental concern (which seems to get lost, quite ironically
but disastrously, on fundamentalists in any religion).
is that we are all God's children and any disagreements we have
are utterly dwarfed by His unconditional love for us. Our Father
in Heaven is saddened when His children on earth are fighting.
He made us to love one another and Him.
is the "real world", the cynics insist; such
"idealistic" prattle can never make peace in a world
filled with hate.
To which I
must reply, such appeals to faith can indeed work, and did
indeed work, in forging the longest lasting peace treaty in the
Middle East, between parties more at odds than Muslims against
Muslims: Muslims against Jews.
David, the Egyptians and Israelis made the peace, ending
decades -- truly millennia -- of hostilities, as the devoutly
Christian Jimmy Carter appealed to the profound faith of the
devoutly Muslim Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat and the devoutly Jewish
Menachem Begin. Three religions, one God, one sincere and
may be divided as Arabs and Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis; but they
are united by their common faith in one God.
only one way to bring the feuding parties in Iraq together and
make the peace. And that is with an appeal to their most
fundamental beliefs, undercutting any divisions they may have.
at Camp David; it can work in Baghdad.
is our Jimmy Carter, the catalyst for peace?
vacation in Crawford, hiding from the
mother of one of his war's dead.
war, AWOL in peace.
P.S. Before those on the Right use my arguments
above to call for the establishment of a state religion in the
US, need I remind you of all the "mischief" that has
been done in the name of religion down through history? The
present circumstances in Iraq -- of ethnic tribal warfare being
stoked by religious tribal differences -- could be Exhibit
Number One in the case for the establishment of a wall between
church and state. So isn't it then hypocrisy on my part to call
for appeals to religious beliefs in Iraq? Perhaps. But religious
faith seems to be the one and only area in which the Iraqi
factions agree: Either they make the peace on the basis of
shared religious dogma, or they will inevitably -- and probably
violently -- tear their nation apart. And kill and maim
thousands more of our people in the process. America, by
contrast, is held together by the common bond of a love for
liberty -- the very antithesis of religious or any other
intolerance. As long as we share and uphold that belief -- even
if the policies on the Left do not match those on the Right to
enact that belief -- then we will probably persevere and prosper
as a nation. Iraq is Iraq, and America is America. And
thank Allah for that.
Of course, if we encourage the formation of a fundamentally
Islamic Republic of Iraq, we risk the danger of hearing Allahu
Akbar in another traditional usage -- as a war cry --
directed against us. As any peace officer will testify, the
worst place to be is in the middle of a domestic dispute; all
too often the fighting parties will gang up against you. What
idiot got us into this God-forsaken mess in the first place?!
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