The city of Moscow, Idaho and Baghdad, Iraq were recently faced with similar situations. In Iraq as most know, an invasion occurred under the auspices of the country under a brutal dictator was a threat to the Middle East, the European Continent and ultimately to the United States. This was based on observations of mass gassings of Iraqi citizens and a ten year impasse with inspection teams sent to observe ,by the United Nations, the presence of war material.
In Moscow ,Idaho a series of shots killed at random persons on the street shots being fired from a church tower. Now you may ask how are these two events in any way similar. Consider the following: No one assumed the person or persons firing from the tower were anything but cold blooded killers. This was also the assumption made about the intentions of Saddam Hussein. Practically everyone agreed that the threat must be subdued in the Moscow attack and the intelligence was sufficient from past history which consisted of dead or injured bodies. The dead bodies of the Kurds should have been sufficient evidence regarding the intentions and capabilities of Saddam.
The police laid out a plan and executed it with the intent of neutralizing the perpetrator. The United States did the same in Iraq. After the securing of the Moscow incident there was no cry for an investigation if whether or not the right thing has been done. There was no media outcry that the resolution of the issue in Moscow was really under suspicion because we did not actually see the person shooting the gun that killed the innocents. Yet since after our invasion of Iraq we did not find WMD’s of sufficient caliber to satisfy the skeptical, our intentions were then suspect or more precisely the intentions of our Commander in Chief.
Of course the follow-up in Iraq to the invasion was a disaster because the Commander in Chief continues to operate under an illusion that the Iraqi people understand how freedom and democracy operate. If you took any individual Iraqi out of Iraq and placed him in America you would see a transformation just as we have seen from most immigrants that come to America to secure a better life. There are Iraqi people in the U.S. today that are Americans in that they live and work to better their lives and are willing to abide by our laws, vote in our elections and pursue a life of peaceful coexistence with their American neighbors. This happens because the example of what our system is and how it works is best conveyed by example rather than didactic decrees. This was overlooked in the follow-up to the invasion of Iraq. We used example in Japan and Germany and obtained the kind of results we needed. We abdicated the method in the Iraq invasion and obtained a stalemate that will leave us with a withdrawal, embarrassment and an ongoing Middle East threat.
Just as in America there are Iraqi politicians that know how to obtain power but have very little idea of what to do with it. Given that, the Iraqi politicians grab for power and because they do not have a coherent political philosophy nor the example of the past to convey, they fail to meet our expectations. Our American politicians take this understanding of our system for granted and because of this attitude they make the kinds of mistakes that George Bush did. Taking political understanding for granted is a naive assumption. We know that immigrants have to learn about our country and our customs and our expectations but it was assumed a whole nation of Iraqis could absorb our culture and understanding on the fly. Being surrounded by a culture of freedom makes for easier and faster understanding than being surrounded by a hostile culture that knows no peaceful ways.
Getting back to Moscow ,Idaho this gives us a clue why the media did not jump on the critical bandwagon regarding the sniper and the intelligence issue. It was understood that this was the way things are in America and justice would prevail. Using our assumptions in Iraq has left us with being sitting targets as the assumption of being innocent until proven guilty is used against us. We are trying to determine the innocent while giving them the benefit of the doubt and paying a terrible price.
Unless we are willing to establish an Americanized Iraq, we can expect to be continually humiliated. Just as you cannot make a weapon with flaws and expect it to operate effectively nor can you establish a faulty policy and expect it to work as you hoped.
There was a lack of intelligence with regard to the Iraq invasion but it was not the kind that tells us what the enemy has or intends to do. It is an unintegrated policy that overlooks essential elements. Recognition of this mistaken policy and making corrections will give us the results that we need and expect. Pursuing the policy without correction will lead to the inevitable predictable result that is failure. And whether the policy is implemented in Moscow, Idaho or Baghdad the results will speak for themselves.