Why We Must "Lose" in Iraq
David Brooks makes an excellent point this morning. For the Bush Administration’s visionary policy for implanting democracy in the parched heart of the Middle East to succeed, the United States will have to be defeated.
Confident nations need a compelling birth legend. For the United States it is a ragtag band of citizen-Minutemen rising up to defeat the most powerful military power on earth. For France it is the people taking to the barricades to unseat the dynastic monarchy. In Switzerland it is three fiercely independent cantons joining together in confederation.
No nation can create an enduring birth legend based on outside assistance. The American Revolution legend tends to ignore the pivotal role played by the French Navy. The French legend filters out allied invasion and elevates the resistance fighter. The Swiss almost never mention the important role played by Japanese cavalry officers in overcoming the recalcitrant Appenzallers.
The Iraqis need a birth legend.
To date the defeat of fascism, the gunning down of the happy-go-lucky Hussein brothers, and the capture of Saddam all occurred because of the United States. This is unacceptable.
To lay the foundation of The Iraqi Birth Legend, the United States must be defeated in some symbolic way. The Iraqis must be able to say that they were in control of their destiny. A bitterly contested election might do the trick.
Would the Bush Administration be willing to risk even symbolic defeat in Iraq. Yes, if it meant the successful closure if the Iraqi theatre of the War on Terror.
Would that make it more difficult to address other failed states such as Syria, Iran or North Korea? No. If anything, Iraqi Freedom proved that the United Nations and the Coalition of the Unwilling, no matter how vocal in their opposition, are largely impotent and inconsequential.
The Kims and Osamas of the world are the audience. And the prospect of an independent and confident Iraq would be undeniable loss of them regardless of the legend.