Larry Johnson reminded me today that I published this way back when..
“Here’s what you said a year and a half ago
February 13, 2005
The Election Result and the Insurgency in Iraq
“Colonel Patrick Lang (US Army Retired) served as the US Defense Attache in Saudi Arabia and Yemen. He established and was the first professor in the Arabic Language program at West Point in the 1970s. He is one of the few genuine authorities who understands the cultural and the military obstacles we face in Iraq. Unlike Don Rumsfeld, Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, Colonel Lang spent two tours in Vietnam with combat units. I prefer getting analysis on combat and local politics from someone who speaks the language and knows the lay of the land than from those who fight only from the warmth and safety of bunkers in Washington. The following is Pat’s take on the Iraqi electoral results.”
“Well, folks, all the happy talk about who got what in the election and whether it is fair or not and whether the Sunni Arabs will be invited to “participate” in the new constitutional process is just so much hot air.
The people who voted were the people who stood to gain from the election in the context of a “one man, one vote” context.
These are not the people who have been fighting us and/or supporting the fighters among the insurgents.
Why do we think that the insurgents and their supporters will be impressed by this political interaction among their opponents?
The flaw in all the talk and “thought” about the “Iraqi People” and what percentage of them voted is that there is no “Iraqi People.” There are only “Iraqi PeopleS.” The Kurds, Sunni Arabs, Shia Arabs, Turcomans, Chaldean Christians, Assyrian Christians, etc. are “ethno-religious NATIONS.” Iraq is a state, not a nation-state. The state of Iraq strove for 80 odd years to make the peoples of Iraq into one people. That process was ongoing when we interrupted it.
As a result the Sunni Arab ethno-religious nation is at least in part in rebellion at the sacrifice of its interests to those of the other “nations”
The election has only sharpened their unhappiness and anxiety.
Iraqi nationalists as well as other people in the Middle East are quick to express outrage at the thought that they are still profoundly affected by the kind of divisions I mentioned above. We have to be careful not to accept easily their own “life illusion.”
I invite readers to remember this argument in the coming months.”