When do the Iraqis start fighting for their freedom?

Unless and until we find some Iraqis prepared to fight for whatever new regime is established against the Ba’athists and the friends of theocracy, the project of creating a stable and pluralistic (let alone “democratic”) is going nowhere. Any serious discussion of what to do now in Iraq must start from there.

The basic fact about the fighting in Falluhaj and against the Sadrist militia is that no Iraqis have been fighting on our side.

Unless and until we find some Iraqis prepared to fight for whatever new regime is established against the Ba’athists and the friends of theocracy, the project of creating a stable and pluralistic (let alone “democratic”) Iraq is going nowhere. Right now, the signs aren’t good.

Unless and until the Bush Administration and the other warhawks — political, journalistic, and blogospheric — acknowledge that fact, and give us some ideas about how it can be dealt with, it’s hard to take them, or their position, seriously.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com