Feeling Iraq'd?


Yet another spin-off of Punk'd has been out for some time, yet I've just noticed it.

The New Republic Online presents Iraq'd. They provide the best explanation of its purpose, which I've posted here. But it's a blog you should check out.

WHAT IS IRAQ'D?: If you're a pro-war liberal, chances are you're probably feeling burned right now. The case for the Iraq war rested on three pillars: The danger of Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, with the clock ticking on a nuclear capability; the danger of Saddam Hussein's connections to Al Qaeda; and the human rights imperative of deposing one of the world's most despicable regimes and assisting newly-freed Iraqis in building a democracy. Well, it turns out that Saddam didn't have much in the way of WMD, or even ongoing WMD programs. And it also appears that his ties to Al Qaeda were tenuous at best. So all that's left for the war rationale is the human-rights-and-democracy argument, which for liberals is intuitively appealing (or should be). But then along comes the Bush administration's November 15 Agreement to relinquish sovereignty by June 30, which tells the Iraqis that, owing to election-year considerations, the United States can't be bothered right now to midwife a democracy. You might say you've been Iraq'd.

And no one is more Iraq'd right now than the Iraqis themselves. It's no accident that, as soon as the Coalition Provisional Authority announced its withdrawal plan, the various Iraqi factions immediately began pressing for their maximal demands: The Kurds want autonomy, an internal militia, and the oil-rich city of Kirkuk; the Shia want direct elections to the body that will assume sovereignty, in order to guard against their disenfranchisement; the Sunnis are resisting elections because they fear disenfranchisement by the numerically-superior Shia; our handpicked Iraqi Governing Council, distrusted by the broader Shia and Sunni populations, is agitating to keep its hold on power. Each faction is fighting hard to impose facts on the ground because it can no longer count on the United States sticking around to ensure that all segments of Iraqi society are represented in a future Iraqi democracy.

One of the premises of Iraq'd is that the U.S. decision to cease nation-building jeopardizes our own national security as well as Iraq's. After all, if we believe that Iraqi democracy would be a model for the region, then the converse is also true: If we leave behind a failing state in Iraq, then we provide Middle Eastern autocrats with a pretext for cracking down on the reformers and liberals in their midst, since they can point to the chaos in Baghdad as the likely fruit of democracy. And since Islamist terrorism feeds in part on Middle Eastern tyranny, then we're in a lot of trouble. Iraq'd will highlight developments in Iraq and the Middle East to call attention to this danger.

A couple of programming notes: This blog is written from Washington. Readers in Iraq are invited to pass along accounts of what's happening on the ground. Readers at home are invited to disagree with any and all of the arguments featured here.

So, do you feel Iraq'd?

I do. And many in my family do too.



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