Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Raise High The Rooftops, Carpenters, And Read The Instruction Manuals
Taking the initiative in introducing a new form of government is very difficult and dangerous, and unlikely to succeed. The reason is that all those who profit from the old order will be opposed to the innovator, whereas all chose who might benefit from the new order are, at best, tepid supporters of him. This lukewarmness arises partly from fear of their adversaries, who have the laws on their side, partly from the skeptical temper of men, who do not really believe in new things unless they have been seen to work well. The result is that whenever those who are opposed to change attack the innovator, they do it with much vigor, whereas his supporters act only half-heartedly; so that the innovator and his supporters find themselves in great danger.

Machiavelli, The Prince, Chapter 6

We will find our best helpers not in our former most obedient subjects, but among those who are now most active in agitating against us, for it will be the intellectual leaders of the people who will serve the purpose, and these are not the philosophers or the rich but the demagogues and politicians.

- T E. Lawrence, The Changing East
Opening up the oil fields and sharing the revenues in Iraq, which should've been done almost four years ago and was passed into law this week, won't work. The key to winning Iraq lay in quickly recognizing the Sadrists who were the long-suppressed majority writhing like connected cobras in a basket. They are the demagogues and politicians who count, and as with all successful US efforts to set up repressive but stable regimes, they had to be bought richly. Satisfy them, and then Iran could be satisfied, the Baathists could be sequestered and protected, the tribes mollified with enough seats at the table. The Coalition went about it bass-ackwards with their "Year Zero" free market ideology, which might as well have been called 'Chaos,' and now it's too late to fix.


HopeSpringsATurtle said...

I said the same thing last say it so much better.

MarcLord said...

{blushing} geez, Hope. You say it better to more people, sis.

Funnyt, the Sadrists are no friends of Iran. They assassinated the head of Iran's SCIRI party back in '04, and eliminated them as an effective political force late that year. By boxing Al-Sadr in or eliminating him, and backing the "Sadrist-in-a-suit" Al-Maliki, the US is following the same old fictive, fucked-in-the-head template which failed under Bremer: give power to liberals, where none have ever ruled.

It's a mixed message that just alienates and enrages everyone who could potentially bring security, however harsh, to the country. Uh-oh. My rant-ometer buzzed me; anyhow, I just finished a great book on this, and will surface it into a post.