Middle Eastern worries

What this means depends on what you bring to it: Afghan opium production is almost at the peak reached before the Taleban suppressed it. What the president of the World Bank draws from that is that “the failure to rid the country of its drug lords and poverty could undermine the West’s moral case for invading Iraq.” What I get out of it is that in that part of the world society has always been incoherent on any scale bigger than the village and the clan, so if you get rid of a very bad national political structure what succeeds it won’t be modern, democratic or law-abiding. (I should mentioned that I lived two years in provincial Afghanistan and know something about how people do things there.)

Iraq won’t be like Europe after the war, where Naziism had been an aberration, or Japan, where the people are very law-abiding and do what they’re told . If we want to become responsible for the political and social well-being of the Iraqis we’re likely to have to rule them indefinitely as a colony, and I don’t think we’re capable of doing that effectively. So if we do go to war I think it should be on the most narrow and necessary grounds, principally the physical security of the United States. If those grounds aren’t adequate we shouldn’t do it.

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