What one arrest teaches us...
I have a new piece out on Hudson NY, about the Adel al-Mashhadani arrest in Fadhel, the 'reckoning' that the false prophets keep predicting, and the myths of the surge.
The concluding paragraphs are:
What is scary is that the lessons of the ‘surge’ are to be implemented in one form of another in Afghanistan, without fully understanding the implications, and delusions, of what happened in Iraq. This is no mere exercise in ‘I told you so’: the surge arrived in Iraq as the insurgency was petering out, but the surge is going to Afghanistan as the Taliban are on an uptick. The consequences of this misreading could be very, very grave.
The case of Adel al-Mashhadani teaches us that there cannot be security without ‘nation building’, a concept that has become something of a dirty word in the Obama administration. The two go hand in hand. One cannot turn to the thugs and co-opt them, letting bygones be bygones, because in the vast majority of cases, people seldom change their spots. In the New Iraq, men like Mashhadani should be dangling by their necks, not swaggering around with an American ID card hanging from their collars. One cannot expect the thief, the rapist, or the murderer to police the innocent. That is always a recipe for tyranny, for that is how tyrants rule. Let us hope that America’s new doctrinarians are not inclined to equate tyranny with stability, in a hasty repudiation of a doctrine that sees stability as an extension of democracy.
The usual argument against barring the Ba’athists from power runs akin to that made for rehiring the Nazis in postwar Germany: they made the trains run on time. But the analogy to putting Mashhadani back on payroll is to have brought back the Gestapo to maintain order in Bonn. Not only is it immoral, it’s dangerously absurd. We should be thankful that the Iraqi government is soberly correcting a foolish legacy that the departing Americans have forced upon them.