Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Iraq's MacArthur Moment

Just thinking some more about Mr Portaloo's rantings and about the way Abu Grahib has been spun by the Yank-Haters into a broadbrush condemnation of everything west of Ellis Island: could there be an actual upside to all this ? General MacArthur's rebuilding of Japan post-1945 is one of the textbook examples of nation-building, yet his biggest contributuion may well have been to implode spectacularly. By driving Truman to the point of firing him, MacArthur inadvertently gave the Japanese a lesson in democracy. The sight of a popular and successful general being turfed out by - of all things - a politician was a powerful lesson in the realities of democratic politics.

Now we are seeking to rebuild Iraq, we may well have the chance to make another important point about the rule of law. Of course, the trial of Saddam has its part to play, but that will always be open to jibes about victor's justice. OTOH, there are no such problems with Abu Ghraib. Let losers like Ted 'hic!' Kennedy announce that Saddam's torture chambers have reopened under new management. The public trial and sentancing of the Abu Grahib rabble will give the lie to that, while providing the Iraqis with a perfect model of the difference betwen our system and those of our enemies.

Too optimistic, that's my problem.

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