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Letter: Democracy failing in the Middle East


In the hubris of the Bush administration, minions of the American Enterprise Institute gained control of both the presidency and the Defense Department with a self-concocted scheme to bring about democracy across the Middle East. The plan was to invade Iraq and set up a democracy there. Once this was accomplished, other states in that region would suddenly want to imitate the new Iraq, and change their governments to democracies.

Most knowledgeable experts warned before the Iraq invasion that this plan would never succeed because the millenia-old tribal culture couldn’t be overcome. The unfortunate truth is that only despots such as the Saddem Husseins, the Assads, and the Kadaffis can prevent tribal rivalries from evolving into wars.

As can be seen, the experts were right, and we have “accomplished” exactly the opposite of our expectations! Of the revolutions that followed in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and now in Iraq, only the one in Tunisia has any chance of succeeding. Libya is a flaming mess, Egypt has replaced one despot with another, Syria is in a humanitarian nightmare, and now even the “democracy” we set up in Iraq is dangerously faltering.

And we Americans are fully responsible. It is not only a nightmare for the people of the Middle East, with perhaps a million civilian deaths, but we will suffer for our unprecedented errors. Consider the tragedy of our returning soldiers, many disabled, as the Veterans Administration tries to cope with its increased healthcare responsibility, and the trillions of dollars added to our national debt.

William B. Horn

St. Albans

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