Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, November 02, 2006

David Brooks on Iraq

In an op-ed article titled “Same Old Demons,” published in the November 2 New York Times, columnist David Brooks examines the often overlooked historical continuity of sectarian conflict and instability in Iraq. Brooks exemplifies the 1970 essay, “The Kingdom of Iraq: A Retrospect,” by Elie Kedourie, an Iraqi Jewish historian, to demonstrate how in the early half of the twentieth century, the British were boggled by the persistence of Iraq’s dysfunctional political and institutional frameworks just as the Americans are today. The treatise also explains that the country’s relentless incapacity to institute a self-sufficient and effective state is due to irrepressible nationalist ardor and sectarian egotism.

Brooks’ admonition is directed towards contemporary US forces in Iraq, whom he urges to recognize that Iraq’s problems are much older and entrenched than the three year old war. According to Brooks, these hostilities embedded in the cultural and historical legacy of Iraq, require what he calls “a muscular U.S. military presence… to deter neighboring powers and contain bloodshed.” He further recommends that the current strategy to maintain a unified Iraq despite sectarian tensions may have to be modified in order to effect “civilized democratic societies that reject extremism and terror.”

The full article can be accessed through the New York TimesSelect, here.


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