My comments intermingled below:

Jack wrote:
This is interesting info, Gary, but I doubt that it applies to this
Although business traditions are mercurial, cultural traditions tend to 
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

Gary:  Any group, whether a nation, community, business, or family has
culture. And the way cultures interact, adapt, fight, etc, are all the
same, regardless of the unit/organization. The only difference is the
time span required for change to occur.  BTW, I have a BS in Management
and a MA in Teaching/History; so I am able to compare events from both
business (organizational behavior) with nations (national behavior).

Jack:  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.

Gary:  Actually, there are two reasons.  First, people have tried rising
up against Saddam in the past. He has had many assassination attempts
against him over the years.  He's just been extremely successful in
squashing the opposition. One of his sons-in-law fled the country a
decade ago, gave us info on him. After several years, he was told he was
forgiven and to return; which he did, only to be beheaded.  When the
Shiites in southern Iraq tried rebellion after the first Gulf War, they
were slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands.  The Kurds also tried
breaking free, only to be gassed by the tens of thousands. Only after
Saddam himself changed the culture - his brutality forced a cultural
change over a period of just a few years - did the people resign
themselves to his rule.  But, once again, it is a cultural change.  The
people learn in the culture to not speak out, or they will be tortured
and killed.  You'll note that with a change of government, the people now
feel free to speak out and protest, because the new culture is setting
in, which tells them they aren't going to be tortured and killed for
protesting the USA.  Cultures change.

><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
happy to live with a degree of regimentation and control far beyond what
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
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.

Gary:  I never said their culture is exactly like ours.  The democratic
culture is still evolving. But it is evolving. The people vote.  A major
difference in cultures is that they tend to trust their government
officials, while we in the USA are suspicious of government power.  There
are some cultural things that just won't change.  While many of them
remember the Emperor with fondness, we remember King George putting the
Stamp Act on us.  Our views of governance, therefore are going to be
somewhat different.  Still, you don't see anyone in Japan pushing to go
back to the old days of an Emperor running everything. Democracy is well
entrenched in their culture, even if it isn't exactly like ours.
>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.

Gary:  What was the cost of rebuilding Europe and Japan after WWII?  Back
then, our people were glad to bear the burden and cost of nation
building: Germany, Italy, Japan, etc. Where would the world be if we
hadn't? Germany was left in shambles after WWI, and its desperate culture
of poverty caused it to accept Hitler.  England's culture caused it to
accept "Peace in our Time" via Neville Chamberlain.  We learned that
ignoring a blister does not necessarily make the blister go away.
Instead, it often will fester into a gangrenous wound requiring
amputation.  Over time, culture changes as people surrender themselves to
the new situation.  This is what happened in Germany, both after WWI, and
after WWII.  This is what happened to Japan after WWII.

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?
Gary:  You have to start somewhere.  Was there anyone in Japan 60 years
ago that wasn't an Emperor-loving kook? Remember the kamikaze pilots? 
Back then, they were the terrorists. There are a lot of Anti-Semitic
peoples in the USA and Europe: skin heads, NeoNazis, members of Congress,
etc.  The cultural attitude of the Muslim world against Israel is real
and deep.  However, it can change slowly. Egypt has officially recognized
Israel for the past 25 years, thanks to USA involvement (and bribes,
which are cheaper than fighting wars).

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

No, cultural shifts can be forced from without. If we were to take a
group of people and begin force-feeding them new ideas over several
decades, it would eventually begin to affect them as a whole. For
example, just a few decades ago, homosexuality was considered aberrant
behavior in the USA. Due to a media push to re-educate the populace, the
average American now accepts it as part of normal society (although most
will say: as long as it isn't in their own home).  Now the media is
pushing further, to full acceptance.  Those who oppose homosexuality are
now the ones looked down upon as being out of step with society and the
"norm."  While there are still many who openly oppose it, the vast
majority of Americans, including LDS, have begun to accept it as more
normal, thanks to Will and Grace.  I've even found myself having to force
myself back from that slippery slope of popular thought, and remember
that we are talking about a heinous sin. Only in speaking out harshly
against the sin have I refound my focus on this, in not accepting
homosexuality as a normal part of society.  
Cultures change, especially when the media has the ability to work them
over a few decades.  Moses also found this out as he led the tribes for
40 years in the wilderness. After 40 years, the vast majority of the
people were no longer acculturated to a slave mentality, but to a free
and wandering peoples mentality. The culture had changed enough to be
able to go in and conquer the land and possess it as free people.

>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.

Gary:  Not change overnight. But over a period of a few decades, and they
will begin to forget authoritarianism and cherish the freedoms they have.

K'aya K'ama,

Gerald (Gary) Smith     
[EMAIL PROTECTED]         LDS Evidences,
Family History, Food Storage, etc.

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