Better late than never

Daniel Pipes appears to be giving up on Iraq:

“I cheer the goal of a ‘free and democratic Iraq,’ but the time has come to acknowledge that the coalition’s achievement will be limited to destroying tyranny, not sponsoring its replacement. There is nothing ignoble about this limited achievement, which remains a landmark of international sanitation. It would be especially unfortunate if aiming too high spoils that attainment and thereby renders future interventions less likely. The benefits of eliminating Saddam’s rule must not be forgotten in the distress of not creating a successful new Iraq.

Fixing Iraq is neither the coalition’s responsibility nor its burden. The damage done by Saddam will take many years to repair. Americans, Britons, and others cannot be tasked with resolving Sunni-Shiite differences, an abiding Iraqi problem that only Iraqis themselves can address.”

I’m just wondering why so many people took these johnny-come-latelies seriously for so long. I’ve been saying for years that it is not possible to build nations. Germany was a nation. Japan was a nation. Iraq is Yugoslavia, an artificial construct held together by extreme violence. When Saddam was removed, the two choices were tripartite separation (which would probably lead to violence in the short- to medium-term) or immediate violence. In their foolish Wilsonian arrogance, the president and his pet neoconservatives – or is it the other way around – opted for the latter.

The Marines are a fine fighting force, but they are no more capable of resolving violent religious differences that span centuries than they are of winning the gold medal in ice dancing at the 2002 Winter Olympics. It’s like expecting your car to make you dinner.