, 2007
| Over 2 Million Served |




Home | Notes
Archives | Search
Links | About

Julia Gorin
The America Show
Episode 4
Jesus and Mordy
Watch Video Now


Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From San Francisco
by Burt Prelutsky

America Alone
by Mark Steyn


The CRO Store




Opinion Page | Register

Ralph Peters is a regular columnist with the New York Post. Register here for access to the Post's Online Edition.



PETERS Arab’s Last Chance 
by Ralph Peters [author, novelist] 8/25/06

With the best intentions, President Bush recently declared that it's racist to say that Arabs can't build democracies.

Is it?

I made the same claim in the run-up to the first Iraqi elections, when Western leftists desperate for Iraq to fail tried to block the vote by claiming that the population wasn't ready.

Iraqis deserved their chance. They got it. They voted. Three times. Each time along confessional or ethnic lines. They elected ward bosses, not national leaders. We could have skipped the balloting and apportioned legislative seats by population shares.

Ralph Peters - Contributor
Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer and the author of 19 books, as well as of hundreds of essays and articles, written both under his own name and as Owen Parry. He is a frequent columnist for the New York Post and other publications. [go to Peters Index]

Iraq doesn't have a democracy in any meaningful sense. It isn't even a nation. Iraqis didn't vote for freedom. They voted for revenge against each other.

In the immediate aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom, I argued that the only realistic solution was to break Iraq into three pieces. What we lacked the guts to do, elections have done. The pretense that an Iraqi national identity exists or ever will exist can be sustained no longer.

Iraq doesn't have a government. It has a collection of warlords, demagogues and thieves with official titles. It's time to put our own politics aside and face reality: If Iraq's elected leaders won't stop looting their country long enough to pull together and defeat the foreign terrorists, internal insurgents and militias killing Iraqis, we should not ask our troops to defend them.

Iraqi democracy hasn't yet failed entirely. But it looks as if it might. President Bush needs to face that possibility. Managing the regional and global consequences will be his responsibility. We will have to fight on elsewhere - with more realism and, regrettably, less idealism. The fools who hope Iraq will fail will face more wars, not fewer.

Meanwhile, the test for Iraq's elected government is straightforward: Can it excite Iraqis to a spirit of mortal sacrifice in defense of a constitutional system? The terrorists, insurgents and militiamen will die for their beliefs. If other Iraqis will not risk their lives - in decisive numbers - to seize their unique chance at freedom, there is no hope.

And Iraq is the entire Arab world's last hope.

As for the charge of racism leveled at skeptics of the Arab propensity for democracy, it would be true if the discussion were about individuals. Arabs in the United States are as capable of functioning within a democratic system as anyone else. They're just as American as any other citizens - because their families escaped the Middle East.

Arab states are another story: Their social, political, economic and cultural structures leave them catastrophically uncompetitive with the developed world. Societies divided down the middle by religion, inhibited by tribal loyalties and conditioned to accept corruption can't build healthy democracies.

Above all, societies and cultures that refuse to accept responsibility for their own failures can't build democracies.

As difficult as it can be to discern in the hype-and-gripe Internet age, our own system works because we shoulder the burden of our errors, seek to understand what went wrong - and fix the problem (the same may be said of Israel, the only successful democracy in the Middle East).

A culture of blame prevents moral, social and political progress. This is a self-help universe. The nonsensical Arab insistence that all Arab problems are the fault of America and Israel (or the Crusades) ignores the fact that Arab civilization has been in decline for 700 years - and has been in utter disarray for the last 200.

This is a homemade failure. Through their own choices, cherished beliefs, values and norms, Arabs have condemned themselves to strategic incompetence. No society that oppresses women, denies advancement on merit even to men, indulges in fantastic hypocrisy, wallows in corruption, undervalues secular learning, reduces its god to a nasty disciplinarian and comforts itself with conspiracy theories will ever compete with us.

The question has been asked before: Despite the massive influx of petrodollars over a half-century, where are the great Arab universities, the research institutes, the cutting-edge industries, the efficient, humane governments, the enlightened societies? The Arab world has behaved as irresponsibly as a drunk who won the lottery, squandering vast wealth and creating nothing beyond a few urban theme parks.

Even the seeming bright spots, such as Lebanon, aren't true democracies. The Lebanese voted for clans, tribes and faiths, not for policies and programs. The Gulf emirates are mere playgrounds for Saudi debauchees and face the rise of a nuclear Iran. In Saudi Arabia, religious hatred has long surpassed oil as the number one export.

Surely, if Arab societies were capable of producing and sustaining democracies, we would see at least one. Where are the massive rallies in favor of tolerance, that indispensable lubricant of democracy? Where are the militias fighting for constitutional government? Where are the insurgencies demanding female enfranchisement?

It would be racist to claim that Arabs are genetically inferior. It is simply the truth to admit that Arab societies are volatile disasters.

Arab terrorism isn't about redressing wrongs. It's about revenge on a successful civilization that left the dungeon-cultures of the Middle East in the dust.

We've done what we could in Iraq, and we've done it nobly. We should not withdraw our troops precipitously, but the clock is ticking. It's now up to the Iraqis to succeed - or become yet another pathetic Arab failure. If Iraqis are unwilling to grasp the opportunity our soldiers and Marines bought them with American blood, it's their tragedy, not ours.

We did the right thing by deposing Saddam Hussein. The Arab Middle East needed one last chance. Iraq is it. If Iraqi democracy fails, there will be no hope, whatsoever, for the Arab world. CRO

Ralph Peters' latest book is Never Quit The Fight.

This piece first appeared in the New York Post
copyright 2006 - NY Post

Rush Limbaugh





Never Quit The Fight
Ralph Peters

New Glory: Expanding America’s Global Supremacy
Ralph Peters

Beyond Baghdad:
Postmodern War and Peace

Ralph Peters

by Ralph Peters

The War in 2020

Perfect Soldier

Flames of Heaven


Twilight of Heroes

The Devil's Garden

Red Army




Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Apple iTunes
Applicable copyrights indicated. All other material copyright 2002-2007 CaliforniaRepublic.org