Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Social engineering in Iraq: why not Yemen? Cuba? Iran?

...Americans are dying, not only in the war on terror, but also to codify Sharia law. Brooks claims that, in Iraq, "The role of women remains surprisingly circumscribed." (Surprisingly?) Actually, that's just a polite way of saying — and I quote directly from the Iraqi Constitution — "Islam is the official religion of the State, and it is a fundamental source of legislation."

That's one reason many of us regret our support of the Iraq war. Though I am not reflexively isolationist, I am reflexively suspicious of social engineering. And nation-building is social engineering on the grandest of scales.

Decent people, no doubt, are pleased to hear that the Iraqi people are doing well. If war makes us more secure, why only Iraq and not Yemen? Or Iran? Or Cuba? Doesn't everyone deserve to live in freedom? Do not all people deserve to own cellphones and have a decent garbage disposal system?

Or do we reserve those perks for those who pretend to have WMDs?

The question isn't whether nation building can work. It probably can. The question is was it worth it.

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