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NYT 4-18-04: 'Lawrence of Arabia' Redux - Frank Rich

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Paradise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 07:43 AM
Original message
NYT 4-18-04: 'Lawrence of Arabia' Redux - Frank Rich
"If we're not yet refighting Vietnam, we are playing the British in Mesopotamia."

(Snip)

"What Mr. Holbrooke is referring to is the story's mordant conclusion. The Arab revolt against the Ottoman empire, abetted by the heroic British liaison officer T. E. Lawrence and guerrilla tactics, has succeeded. The shotgun mandating of the modern state of Iraq, by the League of Nations in 1920, is just a few years away. But as the local leaders gather in an Arab council, a tentative exercise in self-government, there is nothing but squabbling, even as power outages and public-health outrages roil the populace. "I didn't come here to watch a tribal bloodbath," says Peter O'Toole, as Lawrence, earlier in the movie when first encountering the internecine warfare of the Arab leaders he admired. But the bloodbath continued and now that we've ended Saddam's savage grip on Iraq, it has predictably picked up where it left off. Only Americans have usurped the British as the primary targets in the crossfire of an undying civil war.'

'It was last weekend, after I watched "Lawrence" again for the first time in years, that L. Paul Bremer was asked by Tim Russert to whom we would turn over the keys in Iraq on June 30, and gave his now immortal answer: "Well, that's a good question." We don't have a clue, and in part that's because we have no memory."

(Snip)

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/18/arts/18RICH.html?th (Registration Required)

Grab :donut:, it's an interesting, enjoyable read!
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brainshrub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 08:20 AM
Response to Original message
1. Good article, but nothing new.
But I did enjoy it.
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Paradise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 08:26 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. wasn't sure, did i post this in the wrong forum? thanks. n/t
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alcuno Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #2
5. Nope. You're in the right spot.
It was a good read. Thanks.
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Paradise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #5
6. thanks, really, alcuno,
have this paradoxical bright/dim intellect.
never know which one shows up, and never been able to shake it. :crazy:
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teryang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 09:33 AM
Response to Original message
3. Good article leads to wrong conclusion
<Since we cannot cut and run and since we don't have any idea who should get the keys, it's clear that we, like the British before us, are in occupancy in Iraq for the long haul, no matter who officially has "sovereignty" 74 days from now.>

We can leave and there is a way. After we get the UN fig leaf, withdraw our forces dramatically. Let those Iraqis who wish to impose order on Iraq emerge. In the interim provide humanitarian aid. After they secure order, provide economic aid and reconstruction. Drop the hypocrisy about why we were there and drop the colonial economic goals.

Face reality. We destroyed the country. It is not going to be a democracy. That was propaganda for those inclined to utopian idealism. Whatever order emerges is going to be imposed by force. If we are lucky, a dramatic agreement could be worked out between factions to share power after a struggle of some sort. That is for Iraqis to work out. The longer they are fighting us the greater the likelihood of such an arrangement. We couldn't broker such an arrangement because our motives are suspect, we don't have a clue, and we've killed too many people.
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Paradise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 10:20 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Thanks for the insight, teryang. n/t
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #3
7. Right.
And one might hope to encourage the emergence of democratic
rule in a generation or two, as has happened or is happening
in a number of other places, e.g. Spain, Korea, Taiwan. It would
be nice to have an emergence of democracy in the USA too, now
that I think about it.
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teryang Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Apr-18-04 11:38 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Right, normal commerce
Edited on Sun Apr-18-04 11:39 AM by teryang
...and social interchange could have remarkable effects. Of course, our policy vis a vis Israel and other mideast issues is another road block, but successful commerce which doesn't involve castrating Iraq or imposing our dominance or pro-Israeli policies could result in something like Lebanon before it fell apart particularly if there was real commercial freedom there and our economic competitors were able to operate freely.

Unfortunately, our current leadership has it head up its ass.
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