Date registered: Sep 2004
Vehicle: 95 E300
Location: Inside my head
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Quoted: 392 Post(s)
James, good luck with getting a serious discussion around here, but I'll give you a "for what it's worth" opinion.
Iconic revolutionary heroes to a nation like Mandela, Ho Chi Minh, Mao, Lenin, Bolivar, or Washington cannot simply plop on top from nowhere. A brief look at the history of those individuals will reveal that each was involved in revolution from the beginning and rose to leadership through skill and personal qualities of leadership.
Saddam murdered anybody who could possibly have offered that level of leadership and Saddam murdered anybody who offered support for any movement, and Saddam murdered the relatives, friends, neighbors and in some cases villages, of supporters of reform. He maintained that level of oppression during his entire reign essentially weeding the garden for a generation. There were hardly any weed seeds left.
The revolutionary characters left alive were all exiles. Choosing exile was the wise thing to do but will never inspire confidence in the people who remained behind and suffered the despots depradations.
So I don't believe a single individual will be able to unite Iraq.
That is not to say that Iraq cannot be united. It was in fact, a coherent and largely peaceful satrapy for many generations through various caliphates. Sometimes the place was peaceful and quite liberal by Arab standards and other times is was murderously oppressive, even by Arab standards. When talking policy and politics, we have a tendency to look at history in segments just long enough to support a particular point of contention and downplay other historical intervals that do not support a particular contention. Iraq is a perfect example of that type of historical analysis.
In the great sweep of history, it was more like Belorussia or Poland than it was like say, Greece or Italy. It was a maneuvering ground for armies passing through to conquer some other place. It had an inconvenient collection of transverse rivers a hideously dry desert, and agriculturally poor mountains. As a state, it was impossible to defend and as a dominion, it was difficult to manage. Since the Babylonian period it was a dominion of one power or another with each army bringing it's culture and tribalism into the region first as a veneer of conquest, later as another addition to the amalgam to be conquered by the next army.
There are only two ways to rule Iraq from within Iraq: Absolute despotism or some form of democracy. It has too many tribes and cultures and too many outside influences for any other forms to attain stability. It cannot depend on an iconic leader because all possibilities for fullfilling that role were murdered and exiles will never be accepted as iconic leaders.
Conceptually, I think the best case possible to look for in history would be the French Revolution, which had no iconic leader in the beginning and passed through 20 years of butchery before the people tired of the continuous revolutionary fervor. France eventually developed it's own version of democracy, but searched the world for models during the process. It is far from a perfect precedence in history (in truth, no historical precedence is every complete and accurate), but it maybe instructive to some degree.
The biggest problems we are facing right now have to do with George Bush trying to bring more and more power into the executive branch and not go through Congress at all and thatís what I intend to reverse.
~ Senator Barack H. Obama