There’s an undeniable attraction to holding up America’s military presence in South Korea as a model for Iraq: Our soldiers stationed there aren’t dying in large numbers every month.
But in other ways, the analogy is troubling. And flawed. And dangerous. And telling.
It’s troubling because American troops have been in South Korea for more than 50 years — while polls show the American public wants them out of Iraq within a year.
It’s flawed because in South Korea, unlike Iraq, there’s something concrete to defend (the border with North Korea); and because Iraq, unlike South Korea, happens to be in a state of violent civil war.
It’s dangerous because the specter of a permanent military presence in Iraq is widely considered to be one of the most inflammatory incitements to Iraq’s ever-growing anti-American insurgency, and may even be destabilizing to the entire region.
And it’s telling because it gives credence to persistent suspicions that establishing a long-term strategic presence in the Middle East was a primary motivation for this misbegotten war in the first place.
(sigh) Another Bush lie. It does get tiresome after a while, does it not?
Professor Cole demolishes the comparison. Follow the link to read the full CSI treatment of this vapid, insipid, illiterate, ignorant-of-history analogy.
So what confuses me is the terms of the comparison. Who is playing the role of the Communists and of North Korea? Is it the Sunni Arabs of Iraq? But they are divided into Iraqi/Arab nationalists and Salafi Sunni revivalists. (The secular Arab nationalists are the vast majority according to recent polling). So they are not a united force. They are fighting with one another in al-Anbar. And, the Arab nationalists and the religious Sunnis cannot both play the role of the Communists. Some Arab nationalists are allied with the United States (Egypt, Tunisia, etc.) Others are not (Syria). Some religious Sunnis are allied with the US (Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan). Others are not. So where is the analogy to International Communism? Who is China and who is the Soviet Union? Is it Syria and Iran? But both are ruled by Shiites, not Sunnis!