Bush is kidding himself about Iraqi conflict

By Patrick Burke

The Bush Administration is not all that preoccupied with the most recent terrorist act on the part of the Sunni insurgency in Hilla. After all, once the Shiites and Kurds finally decide to include the Sunni minority of Iraq in the developing post-Baathist constitution all will be well. Once the Sunni minority of Iraq has equal representation in the burgeoning Iraqi nation state apparently all age old ethnic and religious tensions will disappear entirely. It must hurt to be the Bush Administration and to be so close yet so far away. If only the Shiites and Kurds would sign on the line they would be bound to embrace the Sunnis as brethren. The many years of Baathist tyranny, in which the Sunnis of Iraq received more than preferential treatment, will be completely erased from the memories of the historically oppressed Iraqi Shiites and Kurds once the Sunnis are enfranchised.

The quick fix to the Iraqi constitutional dilemma that the Bush administration is scrambling for simply does not exist. The nation-state of Iraq is inhabited by three intensely opportunistic groups. None of these three groups has the slightest trust in the other. However, it is more than a deficiency of trust that plagues the relations between these three groups. Although the Kurds may be aligned with the Shiites, there is no doubt that the former group perceives in the latter a potential oppressor. The alliance between the Shiites and Kurds is mutually exploitative at this point and time. With Sadaam Hussein and his pro-Sunni Baathist regime hardly a distant memory in the tumultuous Iraqi collective consciousness, it would seem in the best interest of the Shiites and the Kurds to temporarily align together in order to alienate the most recent danger to their respective autonomy.

It can be speculated that for the most part the Shiites, Kurds, and Sunnis alike have no faith in the viability of a constitutional government within Iraq. Consequently, each group is seeking to strike while the iron is hot. To elaborate upon this analogy, the iron is still hot in Iraq in that another brutal autocratic leader has not yet arisen to replace Saddam Hussein. Few nation-states as viciously divided along ethnic and cultural lines as Iraq have successfully been united as liberal democracies. Sadly, for some measure of stability to be brought to a nation-state such as Iraq, a sociopath with loose affiliations in the vein of Saddam Hussein is necessary.

The Bush Administration is under the glorious misconception that nebulous, mythical democracies are the salvation of historically autocratic regimes around the globe. The fact of the matter is equal representation within a constitutional governmental framework is not going to prevent Sunnis from assaulting Shiite mosques, or vice versa. Supposed constitutional egalitarianism will hardly ensure that either the Shiites or the Sunnis will refrain from oppressing the Kurds.

Unless Mr. Rove has something diabolical up his sleeve, George W. Bush only has a few years left in the White House. What does Bush truly have to loose in backing out of Iraq without finishing the job? The Bush administration successfully demonstrated its general intolerance of autocratic regimes the moment Baghdad went under siege. Will George W. truly be losing sleep at the ranch in Crawford because he technically left the job undone in Iraq? President Bush needs to turn a deaf ear to the members of his Cabinet who have future presidential designs and cut his losses in Iraq. The current Iraqi enterprise constitutes more than the elusive feat of nation-building. The Bush administration is simultaneously attempting to deconstruct and construct a nation. Arrogantly the Bush administration is seeking to fuse together three highly disparate cultural groups. It is only natural that each of these three inimical groups will pursue its best interests in the unforgiving landscape that is Iraq. Quite frankly, any constitutional government that is established in Iraq will disintegrate within six months of being formed. Autocracy is inevitable for Iraq and the Bush administration should accept the limitations of its skewed conception of democracy.