Limited, Inc. – recently, and rightly, recommended by Jonathan Schwarz at A Tiny Revolution – has some cogent thoughts on "Life in the Empire of Bubbles." As always with LI, the whole thing is worth reading, but here are some choice excerpts to get you going.
Excerpt: From the NYT Week in Review: “Iraq is less a nation than an artificial entity drawn created by the British. In recent years, only the brutality of Saddam Hussein held its parts together.”
1. Actually, all parts of the Ottoman empire, after it collapsed, were artificial entities. Followed in the order of history by the artificial entity of Israel. Saudi Arabia is an artifice created by the brute force of the Saud family. Lebanon and Syria were created, jointly, by the French and the British, but the easy overflow of Syria into Lebanon did not prompt any such recollective comments by the NYT. The most ‘natural’ entity in the Middle East is Iran – and in 1991, we saved the most artificial entity in the entire area, Kuwait.
2. The brutality of Saddam Hussein actually tore things asunder instead of holding things together. Under Iraq’s king, and the military that overthrew the king, and the Baathists that succeeded that military, Iraq endured and actually prospered, in spite of the Sunni dominance. It was only when Hussein decided to rule using his tribe and persecuting to the utmost the Shi’ites and the Kurds that Iraq fell apart. This is the kind of reversal of history that we’ve just grown used to in the American press. They can’t get it right even when they try to repair what they couldn’t get right before.
3. It might be that Iraq will come apart, no matter what, after Saddam Hussein seeded grievances over the whole Mesopotamian landscape. But that the U.S. invaders participate in this will only blow up in American faces.
4. U.S. should be discussing timetables for transporting the troops out like next month.
5. Because that won’t happen, and because, by a mysterious spiritual law, the incompetence of this White House doubles every six months – bring the popcorn for 06’s hurricane season - the next couple months will lock the Americans in even more, with both parties complicit in this crime against the national interest, as – of course – the allies of Al Qaeda become even more powerful in Pakistan and Bangladesh, due to the “war against the terrorism and not against actual terrorists” policies of the Rumsfeld era. Of course, what is actually happening is what empires do when they confront problems they don’t understand – the U.S. has basically being paying tribute to Pakistan since 9/11, and that is, indirectly, tribute to Osama bin Laden. Tribute won’t solve this problem forever.