War with Iraq?
Steve Lopez, L.A. Times columnist, on the consequences of an Iraq War.
Imagine Los Angeles if you were to get rid of all official authority and turn the city over to the Crips and Bloods. That’s what we’d be looking at in Iraq, only worse, and American troops would be caught in the middle of it.
The Crips in this case are the Shiites, and the Bloods are the Sunnis, who currently rule the country. They don’t much like each other, and it’ll be a race to see who gets to the Sunnis first–the Shiites or the equally vengeful Kurds, who have been gassed, and persecuted for years, by Saddam’s people.
I happen to have spent some time in Iraq’s Kurdish reaches, and I can tell you firsthand that they don’t even get along with each other. And one faction has been particularly close to Iran, which arguably is more dangerous than Iraq, and could conceivably get drawn into this mess. If so, <authority on international terrorism> Dekmejian says, Russia could follow.
Given the long, complex histories of these conflicts, and the depth of hatred that exists, Dekmejian has a neat summary of any expectation for democracy to triumph in Iraq.
“It’s completely insane.”
“First of all,” Dekmejian explains, “you need some precedent for democracy, some cultural inclination and homogeneity, and the fellows opposing Saddam don’t even run their own organizations democratically.
“We’ll need a massive military force to occupy the place and keep people from killing each other, so it will mean a long-term commitment financially and militarily.”
And that, believe it or not, could be the least of our concerns. Bombing Iraq could work wonders for the recruiting efforts of the world’s anti-American terrorist organizations, says Dekmejian, who fears the radicalization of untold thousands of Muslims.