Some things that have been running around in my head this week:
- The map of Iraq was drawn by the British, who probably had no idea what they were doing in terms of the ethnic/religious population divisions of the region.
- Often the only type of leader who can make a country like that work is either a strong, unifying leader (Marshal Tito of the former Yugoslavia) or a completely brutal dictator (Saddam Hussein).
- Can democracy be brought to such an artificial state of warring religious factions? The only way democracy (or any style of government) works is if everyone agrees on it, and agrees to put aside their differences in the name of a common goal. Right now I don’t think the people of Iraq have a common goal. Otherwise there wouldn’t be people running around shooting ice salesmen because Mohammed didn’t have ice in his time.
- Is it possible that people like Saddam Hussein and The Taliban are the only people who can successfully maintain order in such divided nations?
An old friend of mine from high school, Allen Harris, has been recently deployed to Iraq. Previously he was stationed in Alaska. He’s gone from frozen hell to burning hell. He writes:
It’s usually about 110 degrees by 1000 every morning, hitting a high of about 120 by afternoon. That doesn’t count the heat radiating back of the desert floor, making it feel like about 130-135. It sucks. I can’t say which is worse, they both suck about as equally, just on the opposite ends of the spectrum. You don’t want to be outside for very long at -60F, and you don’t want to be outside for very long at 120F. We try not to do much in the afternoon unless we have to. Where we are going next, further north, is about 5-7 degrees cooler, not as sandy and open, and hopefully starting to hit the cool months.
Note to self: No longer will I complain about the Arkansas weather.