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Monday, February 27, 2006

Governing by committee works fairly poorly for the staid European Union. They just manage to move along legistlation resolving conflicts between secular middle-class nations. How a similar style of government is supposed to work in the midst of the anarchy in Iraq is a mystery to me.

In the US we give the President extraordinary powers in times of war (powers the current President is taking full advantage of). In a war on foreign soil the US doesn't suspend the checks and balances of the democracy, but in a war that reaches within domestic boarders we do (see Japanese internment). Under similar circumstances, we would not (even want to) conduct our democracy in the way we're expecting of Iraq.

Consensus governments don't form in war zones. Chain-of-command-style top-down power structures are the only proven methods of governing in war zones. During peace time we're free to have disagreements over fine points of taxation, the low pay of primary school teachers, or RU486. But the duty of government during war is so blunt, simple and brutal that only leadership with those same qualities can do what needs to be done. The US constitution enshrines this idea, explicitly making PoTUS Commander in Chief of the military.

If a commander in chief during times of war is aknowledged best practice, why aren't we following this model in Iraq? I know I've said something like this previously, but it seems to me there's a simple solution to the Iraq problem. Iraq needs a powerful, unflinching, charismatic leader.

It's ironic, but reinstalling Saddam would provide Iraq with the highest probability of avoiding civil war. Granted, we'd be in the same bad position we started in if we re-installed Saddam. No buts about that. The idea that Iraq would be a more peaceful, stable, humane place if we reinstalled Saddam is an observation I think worth considering. Especially if we also consider Saddam's Iraq something of a low watermark, which I do.

I'm cautiously optimistic that Iraq can pull itself out of the current situation whether they find a charismatic leader or not. They have free money coming out of the ground, the Ace up their sleeve, if only they can get it to market. Unfortunately that's a big if. The place is riddled with incendiary devices/ideas/people, and oil is flammable.

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