Hi, Jack Redelfs here, again.

Gerald Smith wrote:

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).

Congratulations on your stellar education. I have no such qualifications, although
I have been obsessed with history (having, for example, read Will & Ariel Durant's
_History Of Civilization_ series twice) for what seems a 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.

The nation of Iraq has never been free. Since it's inception in 1932,
it has never had a democratic controlling principle. Instead, politicians, generals,
and tribal leaders vie for power. Saddam's was not the first regime, merely the latest
and the longest.

Who are these politicians and generals? They are individuals, powerless without
the complicity of subordinates. My grandfather in El Salvador, Juan Jose Merino,
was a military careerist, a teacher who taught and loved the principles of freedom.
In 1956, one of his pupils, Juan Maria Lemus, was fraudulently elected president.
His rule was repressive and cruel. When my grandfather was offered a
position of authority, he refused; rather than join a corrupt junta, Juan Jose gave up
all he had and fell into a life of poverty. Blackballed, all those years of education
and experience availed him naught, and his large family suffered.

Why was Juan Jose's choice significant? Because America's soldiers have
been making the same choice since our nation's advent. We have never had a
military coup. This is a vital element of the American tradition.
American warriors are Americans first, warriors second.

Not so in Iraq and around the world. They're custom is essentially
medieval: the strong dominate the weak. Every now and again the players
change, that's all. This explains the dismal success rate of so-called
"freedom fighters."They do not fight for individual rights or democratic
process, (though it may be their claim), they fight for the freedom of
their faction to seize it's own share of power and riches.

<snip your argument that Saddam himself conditioned his people into
sheepish submission>

The people learn in the culture to not speak out, or they will be tortured
and killed.

Indeed, this is part of their culture, but it is not new.

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.

Yes, they do speak out and protest. But were they in control, would they allow their own foes to do the same?

<I claimed that Japan was not truly free and Gary replied:>

Gary: I never said their [the Japanese] 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.

Some "cultural things" are antithetical to freedom. So how can you cling to the notion that freedom will slowly but surely creep into all societies? Or swiftly, if we send in the troops?

Are you familiar with the wide scope of police authority in Japan? With the
charges of brutality, abuse of power, arrest and imprisonment without charge?

While many of them [the Japanese] remember the Emperor with fondness,
we remember King George putting the Stamp Act on us.

Is this fondness good or bad for democracy? Is it a fondness that will fade away,
or could it grow? Could an charismatic leader someday win the populace,
with reminders of past grandeur and visions of greatness to come?

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

WW2 was a long, cruel war. Civilians were killed indiscriminately, on both sides.
By the end of it, Germany's male population had been virtually liquidated.
The nation's very spirit had been crushed and demoralized.
And even then, weren't we generous, ceding half of Germany to the
clutches of the Soviets.

But I'm not sure if I support the rebuilding of defeated countries, anyway.
It doesn't seem fair to us. I'm not sure we what all we should have done; forced
the Soviets back to their borders, for one thing. Then, perhaps, abolished the
German state (which was forcibly cobbled together anyway), and humanely but
firmly enforced a diaspora of Germans throughout the world. Then we could
have allowed private parties to move in and willingly bear the cost of
rebuilding the infrastructure.

Oh wait, these are darkie policies. The German's white skins exempted them from
such treatment. Lucky sons-a-guns, it saved 'em from the atomic
treatment, as well. White power, y'all.

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.

They already have leaders who are force-feeding them ideas. You'd have to destroy those leaders first. In fact, you'd have to destroy all existing factions, Mao-style, before you could reshape the nation to suit your needs.

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).

The "sexual revolution" succeeded because Americans wanted it to. We wanted to get our glandular kicks and so we allowed the destruction of morals that is reaching it's last stages today.

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.

Only if they know what freedom is.

"The code of the schoolyard, Marge! The rules that teach a boy to be a man.
Let's see. Don't tattle. Always make fun of those different from you. Never say
anything, unless you're sure everyone feels exactly the same way you do."
- Homer Simpson

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