Hi Gary. My name's Jack, I'm the only son of the listowner. Since I advised
him in writing the post you are responding to (I'm his history advisor), I was
interested in your reply and decided to respond.

Gerald Smith wrote:
That's somewhat of a fallacious generalization, John.  Yes, it is
difficult and it takes time.  But you know what, in business management
terms, we see change as requiring time.

<snip business analogy>

This is interesting info, Gary, but I doubt that it applies to this discussion.
Although business traditions are mercurial, cultural traditions tend to strengthen
exponentially from generation to generation. The hand that rocks the cradle, etc.
I find it highly doubtful that these traditions can be changed in a few years.

Why didn't the Iraqis rise and destroy Saddam of their own accord?
Because as a people, they were willing to resign themselves to his rule.
They have been resigning themselves to autocrats for a long, long time.

<snip>... Japan and South Korea are
awesome democracies (non-English speaking) that have learned the
 values of freedom over a period of less than 50 years.

We forced a democratic constitution upon Japan, literally at gunpoint,
which they are already contemplating abandoning. Even now, the Japanese are
happy to live with a degree of regimentation and control far beyond what we would
find acceptable. Politics in Japan are not a populist exercise. Although they do vote,
the Japanese people allow most of their politics to be decided behind closed
doors. And I should add I'm basing this from mainstream sources, like
Newsweek and U.S News & World Report - not fringe publications like the
New American.

It might take Iraq 40-50 years to switch over to a strong democracy. So
what? It means our grandchildren's children will live in a world with
one more free nation that isn't run by radical kooks.

Are you willing to occupy Iraq for 40-50 years, no matter the cost in lives and dollars? Because that's the only way I can see of achieving our goals. Even then, it would be impossible unless the Iraqis chose to change.

Besides, are there _any_ Islamic nations that are not run by radical
kooks? Was Saddam alone in persecuting the Kurds?
Didn't the president of Maylasia recently release a diatribe against
the vast Jewish conspiracy controlling the west? Did not Syria,
Jordan and Egypt attempt to exterminate Israel only 31 years ago
(supported by Saudi Arabia, I might add)?
How does Saudi Arabia stand on human rights? How wide is
suffrage in the Islamic world?

Although it is true that Iraq may eventually switch over to a strong
democracy, this will only result after a genuine, grassroots cultural shift.
Such a shift has to come from within; our meddling can only
hurt, not help such a process.  A brief invasion will solve nothing.

Cultures can change. It takes time. But I have a long term view of these
things. I'm glad our forefathers also had such a long term vision,
otherwise they might have given up at Valley Forge or when the Articles
of Confederation failed.

The heroes of the American Revolution were scions of a rich democratic tradition. The people of Iraq are inheritors of a factional, authoritarian tradition that we cannot hope to change by force.

"It's not easy to juggle a pregnant wife and a troubled child, but somehow I
managed to fit in eight hours of TV a day."  - Homer Simpson

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