Iraqi Democracy in Trouble?
Several in the blogosphere are seizing on a quote at the end of a very long story in today’s NYT about escalating violence in Iraq:
“Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy,” said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.
That somebody in the administration is “considering alternatives” to any given preferred outcome is to be expected. Indeed, they’d be rightly excoriated for “lack of planning” if they weren’t doing some worst-case brainstorming. Could the sectarian violence in Iraq topple the fragile elected government? Sadly, yes. Could Iraq splinter into three or more sectarian mini-states? Indeed, it could.
Andrew Sullivan, however, takes a break from speculating that the foiled British hijacking plot was markedly less dramatic than first advertised to muse as to whether Cheney and Rumsfeld ever really wanted democracy in Iraq at all.
One subversive theory – which I’m not endorsing, just airing – is that both merely wanted to turn the Saddam regime to rubble, and then play along with neocon democracy supporters, while making sure that the military was never given enough resources to do nation-building. Then Cheney and Rumsfeld could prove their point about the impossibility of reforming the Muslim world, and promote the view that we need merely to pummel enemies, project military fear across the region, and deter Islamo-fascism by “shock and awe.” The Likud strategy, in other words.
Airing without endorsing is an unusual stance for a man who has spent the last two decades or so putting his views on paper to take. After more idle gossiping, Sully concludes,
This theory is probably too complex and subtle to be true. The screw-up theory of history is more often the most plausible. But it does make some internal sense – if you assume that Cheney and Rumsfeld are not complete incompetents.
So, he not only does not endorse the theory–he’s just sayin’ is all–but he thinks it “probably” untrue. Yet, his last thought is that it’s perfectly plausible. Hmmmmm.
UPDATE: AllahPundit observes, “Ana Marie Cox is now the only one of Time’s holy trinity of bloggers who hasn’t floated a bat—- conspiracy theory on the magazine’s website. And she’s ‘the dumb one.'” Ouch.