Splitting Islam = Exiting Iraq 1,2,3

The cover story of the latest The American Conservative is something to behold. At its core, it's a pseudo-historical strategee essay proposing an Iraqi exit solution that invokes the grand tactic of the Grand Empire that preceeded ours -- pit tribe against tribe.

Written by James Kurth, the Claude Smith Professor of Political Science at Swarthmore College, the essay starts with a question about Iraq on everybody's mind: "But now that we are there, the central question is how can we get out?"

And Kurth answers the question this way: "We can’t be afraid to talk about reparations, to demand freedom from debt for Iraq, a total abandonment of Bremer’s illegal economic laws, full Iraqi control over the reconstruction budget -- there are many more examples of concrete policy demands that we can and must put forth." Just kidding. That's from Naomi Klein's pretty great essay on this same question.

Here's Kurth: "It might seem obvious that an Iraqi civil war, or a war between separating Sunni, Shi’ite, and Kurdish states, would be bad for U.S. interests." Right on, Professor Kurth. Bad for every one involved, presumably. Kurth continues, "If, however, American military forces were no longer in Iraq, the major enemies of each Iraqi ethnic community or state would be each other."

Where the hell is this going? "The United States would remain an enemy in the memory of many of the people living in Iraq, certainly the Sunnis, probably the Shi’ites, and potentially the Kurds (because the U.S. might have abandoned them once again), but for each ethnic community, the immediate and operational enemy would be the other communities now engaged in killing them."

What an evil bastard this Professor Kurth is, who collects checks on evil schemes like these from that Mother of All liberal arts colleges, Swathmore. After digging around into his opus, it's clear this essay is consistent with the rest of his academic products. This Kurth is a cliché, evil professor. He no doubt has Grand Feelings as he writes this stuff, humming his way through his favorite Beetoven symphony, willing death on the world.

Kurth rants and rants until he runs out of breath, leaving us with one last nugget of darkness.

"The wise strategy of any truly great power in extending its influence to other countries is not to try to erect utterly new and bizarre constructions that have no foundation in the local realities. It is rather to try to turn to its own advantage those local realities and the inherent tensions within and between them."

I couldn't find his email address, but here's the Swarthmore Political Science department listing. Looking at the pattern they have there, I think it's something like jkurth1@swarthmore.edu. I'm sending this over to him, and I'll post his response if he has one.

Update: That's not his email address. I can't find it. I'm sending this to the letters to the editor at AmCon.

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