Today is educate the masses day and give great thanks to this wonderful media that allows such easy doing of it! Yes, this is such a grand media that one does not have to repeat oneself ad nauseum and can, instead, hand out hyperlinks ad nauseum to basically say the same thing over and over as the questions do not change! So here is a highly generalized, hand-waving meta-analysis of post-war periods and some of the lessons learned from each.
Mind you that handing out of links gets a bit tiresome....
Be that as it may the United States has been involved in a few post-War scenarios and so let us cover a few of them:
I ) Post-Revolutionary War : Here a brand spanking new Nation had to make itself! Wow! What a concept! Out of 13 disparate colonies, now become States, they had to decide if they were a Confederal system of National States associated with each other or a Nation composed of self-directing States. These are not one in the same as they have profound differences of viewpoint in central governance from that of extremely weak and mostly just a rubber-stamp, to that of a strong government that can help enforce laws and due process of commonality between the States. And do we remember which one the States chose to run the Revolutionary War and then establish right after that?
It was the Confederal system under the Articles of Confederation!
You, the folks yawning out there, do you remember what happened with that? No?
A bit of reminder then: these non-centralized States were heavily in debt, had no common currency, had trade barriers between them, had militias that had stood down that demanded payment for services rendered in the Revolution, had then started to take and seize land and impoverish Citizens because of the high taxes levied to get the entire Revolution paid for. Those self-same Citizens remembered the slogans of the Revolution and started to take up arms AGAIN. They actually did start hitting at court houses, which were seen as the instrument of taxation and imprisonment, and in many places these Citizens had gotten fed up with their State's Governments. Those Governments were highly drawn from the Cities and the majority of the population was rural. So it was seen as a tax of the rich upon the poor to grab land and hold it. The Citizens do not remember fighting for THAT in the Revolution.
This finally came to a head in 1786 with Shays' Rebellion and the Annapolis Convention which recommended a new system of Government be drafted. With some luck the Shaysites did not gain a foothold, but the anger of rebellion took long years to finally extinguish as a centrality of debts and slower repayment by the Federal Government eased taxation.
Here are the "lessons learned" from this:
1) An Armed Citizenry is necessary to uphold the rights of the People to own land without undue governmental burden via taxation.
2) Lots of small States sitting next to each other have a huge increase in overhead that is disproportionate to their size, and so stifles trade that increased taxation is seen across the board.
3) Without a central Government to address the needs of the People as a whole and consolidate those things that are common to all of them, the burden is shifted so heavily to the smaller States that they start to dissolve under the strong grip of debt.
4) Centralizing those few things necessary for the commonality of all of the People reduces the overhead to a single government that has strict oversight by the People and the States. This is to ensure that Tyranny is not imposed from above.
Relatively simple, but we do forget the years between 1783 and 1787 as the Nation was on the brink of disaster continuously throughout, with the Shays' Rebellion being the closest of many 'near misses' that would bring down order and introduce chaos.
II ) Skipping ahead we get to the Civil War of the United States.
This should not need saying, but this, too, was a multi-vector conflict in which slavery was but ONE issue. It was an issue that was dividing how the Nation could expand and the Northern part of the Republic did not see any good in slavery. From the Southern view slavery was enshrined in the Constitution and that States should be allowed to choose for themselves to address it . Larger issues were also behind this, as industrialization of the North was starting to heavily outstrip production and income in the South, and the North was looking at under-monetized labor in the form of slavery as a potential resource for increased industrial expansion if slavery could be removed from the Nation. The South adhered to its stratified and agrarian roots, and wished to remain in that system of stratification as it was seen as legitimate and legal. The expansion of the US with a deal of 'dual admittance' of States to be slave owning and non-slave owning was undermining the very concept of States being able to choose on their own, which was the Southern contention for allowing slavery. Clearly, given the precepts put out in the Declaration of Independence the underpinning of the Republic was threatened and open warfare ensued over: Nationalism, States rights, Industrial policy, slavery, Foreign policy, Union admittance of new States. From simple cause came diverse problems and in the end while slavery was abolished the social atmosphere would take a century and more to recover.
What were the 'lessons learned' of the rebuilding era?
1) Forced Governance upon the defeated States caused resentment in those States.
2) Once Governance was fully re-established as local the social viewpoints of class distinction via skin color were made endemic.
3) With the free flow of labor came one of the largest periods of industrial expansion for the entire Nation, and even the Confederate States enjoyed new mechanization and processing capabilities, although their economies would take nearly a century to fully recover.
4) Central Government that has Precepts laid out and a code of common means and adherence requires that the Precepts are NOT infringed in the enactment of the Nation.
5) Kicking the can down the road on 'hard problems' leads to those problems growing over time. What could not be done adequately during the Revolution would hold a high price tag during the Civil War.
III ) Now, speaking of Expansion the United States expanded westward from coast to coast at the cost of continual, low-level warfare from the indigenous peoples until the late 19th century.
This, too, is a post-war period, although one of continued bickering, signing of treaties and then breaking of treaties and forced resettlement. Native Americans who inhabited areas that were ripe for use in agriculture had that land fought over and they lost many battles and wars due to the differences in armaments and cultural ethos surrounding warfare. Many tribes were 're-settled' on non-homeland territory that was often useful for nothing. Swamp land, scrub land and arid regions were highlights of this, and untold thousands died in this forced migration. Still treaties were signed for those new regions and were upheld... right until something *useful* was found to be available in those lands. Coal, oil and mineral extraction put a second migration further westward which was being joined by Western tribes meeting similar fates due to territory and differences in culture. Little effort was made to 'rebuild' the tribes, give them care and assistance and, generally, treat them as the Nationals that the Treaties claimed them to be. And now that those tribes have *finally* learned how to turn the situation to their advantage by offering legal gambling, tax free cigarettes/alcohol/gasoline, bingo, and, basically, a whole host of social vices that the States either tax or outlaw, they are now sticking BY those treaties and the courts are UPHOLDING them. They are using the sins against the sinner and more power to them in that doing!
Lessons learned from this are few.
1) Just compensation and rebuilding are necessary to retain culture and make those that lose wars *whole* and to feel as if they are not an underclass.
2) Putting forth laws and policy that have legal framework require harsh justification to go against such laws and policy, and that Nations should not do that save in the most dire of National need.
3) When Peoples who have been segregated, abused, impoverished, diminished and demeaned finally find a way to exploit YOU, it is time for YOU to suck it up and take it. You could have done better and never did, and now, though minimal, revenge is coming in perfectly legal means as those Treaties MEAN something or the word of a Nation is WORTHLESS.
4) If you have to live side-by-side with people and have Precepts that look at the empowerment of the Individual and a National set-up to ensure that, it is best not to break those as the concepts of Freedom, Liberty, Responsibility and Individualism are all diminished in that doing.
IV ) The Philippine-American War
Now, this war was a very different affair from the previous ones on this list as it involved a relatively short, and highly bloody affair to those on the side of the Philippines, and a relatively light casualty load for the US Forces in comparison, due to combat. Disease, however, took out more soldiers than combat did over the active portion of the campaign. That said the campaign was declared victorious in 1901, but fighting did not end with *that*. The US got involved in a Ethnic-Cultural war in which a minority group, the Moros, waged an ethnic and Islamic-based war against the native Filipinos This was, perhaps, one of the grittiest, nastiest counter-insurgencies ever faced by the United States and it dragged on into 1913... twelve years after 'victory' had been declared. This was also a relatively 'small forces' affair that got down to some of the nastiest fighting ever seen by the US Armed Forces due to the tactics used by the Moros and the Filipinos to address each other's culture. And Congress only felt ready to start handing over power in 1916, nearly fifteen years after 'victory' had been declared. Two World Wars and the Japanese invasion did derail things, and the return of the US to remove the Japanese Empire allowed for the full handing over of sovereignty in 1946. The People there rejoiced when they had seen those US troops return... they had been castigated before, but now were welcomed, why was that? I would suggest reading some of the articles on the Japanese occupation of the Philippines to get an idea of *why* the US was seen as a force *for* civilization.
Lessons learned from this protracted circumstance:
1) Official 'victory' declarations are used to mark the end of National mobilization. It does not mean an enemy was 'defeated' just no longer capable of fighting.
2) Defeating an enemy can take far longer than the actual, hard combat and may involve forces that are opportunistic and took NO PART in the original war.
3) A slow process of combating insurgents that are using ethnic and religious differences can be won, but only when long-term commitment is given and applied. Even awful insurgency periods can be fought to final defeat of the enemy, but the requirement for a longer view is required.
4) Even once a Nation is handed *back* to its native population, it will suffer the vicissitudes of outside forces and may require future help.
V ) The First World War
Egads but the aftermath of that war was horrendous! Things that went missing after that war were: Ottoman Empire, Russian Empire, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Germany, though never losing on the battlefield, realized that in this industrial 'war of attrition' they had not the industrial nor population foundations to *win it*. The peace imposed by France and Great Britain with the help of Italy and a few other Nations, was one that started to divide up the Globe into something close to its modern National outlines. Punitive extraction of payment would lead to no good, and the Imperial view of the 'colonies' and 'provinces' of Empires gone would lead to more future problems. Many Nations got 'pieced together' to try and form coherent wholes from non-coherent underlying Peoples.
1) Empires of the 'distributed colonies' and 'diminished provinces' model leads to diffusion of responsibility and undermining of the Imperial regime. Militaries drawn from such populations are more of the 'coerced into uniform' than 'National conscripted' sort.
2) Punitive peace settlements that impoverish industrialized Nations by taxation and limitation of production lead to future problems.
3) Without a clear victory on the battlefield, there is no clear peace and issues remain unsettled and put into stasis.
4) The underpinning of a Nation's military power is based upon their industrial output capacity and population size.
VI ) Next up is the Second World War.
Here fully and completely industrialized Nations went to war in a highly mechanized and mobile era. The static fronts of the defensive First World War were put into motion and the effects of warfare were likewise spread and shifted across the landscape repeatedly. As civilian industrial capacity is the underpinning of military might, it becomes a target as it is the direct supplier of that might. Total War of the highly industrialized, high output sort then leads to trying to find methods to leverage actual inventiveness to make economic output even more deadly. Total War led directly to the highest amount of civilian casualties for the lowest amount of cost and effort as a result.
Lessons learned from this conflict:
1) Rebuilding Industrialized Nations that have a strong National character that also has a single strong ethnic underpinning will go forward based on that understanding of that population. Both Germany and Japan had populations with strong sense of duty, strong work ethic and a commitment to succeed as Nations. Getting morale returned by empowering those Peoples to move forward in a non-expansionist manner would take more than a decade to do.
2) Long term peace for foes depends on fully defeating their Nations. Full and complete victory that is realized by those defeated ensures a clean break with the past. Standing up a new basis for governance requires a full acknowledgment of those defeated of the need for such governance and the commitment by them to help rebuild their Nation with help from the Victors.
3) Holding Allies to agreements in a Post-War period requires commitment to standing by those agreements by ALL parties. If one Nation moves to exploit its victory in ways not set out by the original Alliance, then long-term friction and conflict are the result.
4) Strongman governance can give short term stability, but do not, of necessity, create 'peace'. Multi-ethnic and multi-cultural societies cannot be forced from the 'top-down' only built from the 'bottom-up'.
After all of this, two problem spots remained in the ointment of post-War rebuilding and reconstruction. The first are those Allies who then use authoritarian means to ensure their power over other Peoples. In this case it was Stalin and the USSR over the Eastern Bloc and Tito in Yugoslavia. Both of those post-War cases are of interest as they are long-term failures to instill a sense of 'greater belonging' to those areas. While both were driven by 'Communism' both used slightly different variations of it, which is why Tito and Stalin never did get along all too well.
VII ) Taking the easy case first, the USSR and the Eastern Bloc.
In Eastern Germany the USSR ignored the salient point of WWI which was NOT to impoverish a Nation after defeating them. The USSR made a point of actual dismantling factories and moving them to other Nations, primarily itself, but also to Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. Actual rebuilding and restoration of East Berlin and East Germany had to await the actual downfall of the Communist system in Europe and re-uniting with West Germany. Today, two societies that had been brought up in entirely different atmosphere are trying to come to acknowledge their common history, which is the job of a generation or more to do. Many of those that lived under the authoritarian East Germany pine for the days of rigid authority that told them everything they had to do in life, from cradle to grave. Now they must get used to liberty, which is something the West had to do in the post-WWII period all the way to the 1960's, which took a generation to get established.
Poland had always seen itself as a 'Free People' back to the 10th century, but having to establish a system to insure that freedom has always been done at the whimsy of its huge neighbors. Poland has a National ethnic identity and strong adherence to Roman Catholicism which has allowed it to endure multiple take-overs over centuries and to always emerge from the carcass of the latest 'Empire du Jour'. Poland struck the hard blows to start the entire Communist system to collapse and those blows are still remembered to this day as is the memory of the Communist regime. Their latest experiment in liberty with, if it has any luck, last them for a good long time and not have to put up with siege, conquest and re-emergence again.
Romania's strong ethnic background goes back some centuries and Vlad the Impaler is still remembered and honored as a National hero. Their Communist dictator tried to shroud himself in Vlad Tepes' raiments, but found that they were a bit too big and swallowed him whole, so that another claimant to that mantel was destroyed by it. As a common people coming to grips with liberty, freedom and self-elected government without dictatorship, Romania is charting its course as a People and now realize that their fates are in their hands for good or ill.
Hungary, seat of Ancient Empires, now finds itself spanning the modern world and the old in a way it never foresaw, but is trying to embrace. Past memories are there and honored, although their dilution by Communism has diminished them as a force. Still, Hungary understands freedom and liberty and they had tried to assert that while under Communist rule, much to the sorrow of the flaccid West. They remember that and that mouthing the words of freedom can get you killed if those that support freedom do not support you.
Bulgaria has been a land fought over and next to Empires and has served as stepping stone to Empires on the move. Russian, Hungarian, Ottoman, Byzantine, Roman, Greek... a long, long list of those who Ruled there, but perhaps not govern over-well. While generally seen as a backwater of Europe, Bulgaria retains a strong National identity through the ages, even with the comings and goings of Empires. Freedom and Liberty are relatively new in the practice, there, as inter-war years never gave it a chance to gain fair foothold. Normally it is lumped in with the Balkans, but it seems to have gotten some coherent admixture of cultural affiliation along with enough Nationalism to be a more or less unified Nation.
Then there is Czechoslovakia, the 'leftovers' that were welded into a Nation after WWI that served as a stepping stone to Nazi Germany. Here the promise of the West failed TWICE, once against the Nazis and a second time against the USSR. A proud and productive Peoples that never could reconcile their population differences, they have divorced into two Republics. Small, proud, independent but not forgetting shared heritage, they both step out anew into the post-Soviet era.
VIII ) And then there are the Balkans.
The Balkans have always been so diverse, ethnically, that in a space of three mountain ridges you could, reliably, cross at least as many ethnic boundaries, one religious boundary, as many cultural boundaries and two Nationalities. What can you say when these are the folks that brought the flashpoint of WWI that would then consume Europe when a small faction of one Ethnic region wanted to join with another ethnic region? Yes, something as small and as large as that was the Assassination in Sarajevo. And while Sarajevo was the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, it was *also* a highly concentrated mixing spot for Serbians, Slavs, Kosovars, Bulgarians, Romanians, Hungarians, Macedonians, Greeks, Turks, Albanians, Italians.
After WWI the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes was made via treaty. Yes, it was actually called that! Now to those of you coming from my unreal 'Realists' article, here is a chilling list of what had to be put together to form this Kingdom:
Yes, each of those is a PROVINCE! And do remember that this is the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes so those ethnicities CROSS over the provinces. They may be in some general regions, but the provinces do not define where the ethnic regions are save in a general way. And if anyone starts to inter-marry, as they were already doing, well, you end up with a multicultural society with strong ethnic ties divided by multiple different regions each governed just a bit differently. And this is even BEFORE we add in Political Affiliations. Yummy, huh?Oblasts
The Vidovdan Constitution of 1921 established the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes as a unitary state and, in 1922, 33 new administrative oblasts (provinces) ruled from the center were instituted. These bore no relation to the earlier divisions.
Oblast of Banja Luka
Oblast of Belgrade
Oblast of Bihać
Oblast of Bitola
Oblast of Cetinje (Zeta Oblast)
Oblast of Čačak
Oblast of Ćuprija
Oblast of Dubrovnik
Oblast of Karlovec
Oblast of Kragujevac
Oblast of Kruševac
Oblast of Ljubljana
Oblast of Maribor
Oblast of Mostar
Oblast of Niš
Oblast of Novi Sad
Oblast of Osijek
Oblast of Požarevac
Oblast of Priština (Kosovo Oblast)
Oblast of Sarajevo
Oblast of Smederevo
Oblast of Split
Oblast of Skopje
Oblast of Šabac
Oblast of Štip
Oblast of Travnik
Oblast of Tuzla
Oblast of Užice
Oblast of Valjevo
Oblast of Vranje
Oblast of Vukovar
Oblast of Zagreb
Oblast of Zaječar
Now how about some of the major religious affiliations? A quick list of the major ones:
Bulgarian Orthodox ChurchMind you I am not throwing in minorities like Jewish, Jehovah's Witnesses, and so on and on. Yes, richly and heavily divided, although I am sure that some broad-minded folks would just want to lump some of this together into Sunni/Shia and RC/Orthodox, but divisions due to culture and such do matter to the people living with them. All of these were put under Communist rule under Tito and really didn't get much expression as demographics changed.
Church of Greece
Macedonian Orthodox Church
Romanian Orthodox Church
Serbian Orthodox Church
Bektashi (a form of Sufi)/Albanian Islam
How were the Balkans rebuilt after WWI and WWII? The answer is: they weren't.
IX ) This, disturbingly, now brings us to Iraq. One may want to peruse the main five faultlines that run through Iraq and the Middle East as I have outlined them previously. In that article I noted that it is NOT possible to divide Iraq along main sectarian parts of Islam because of the deep Shia divisions and the deep Sunni divisions that are present because Iraq is a center of Shia Islam and thus has representatives of all the major strains of Shia thought there, beyond the two main ones. One could try to lump them together and blandly call them Shia and the other strains to be all Sunni, but look at the Balkans. Is that a correct way to distinguish between sects that are strongly adhered to in their DIFFERENCES inside their main sects as they are between the main sects? When one adheres strongly to a branch within a main branch of a religion, the intra-sectarian problems are just as strong as the inter-sectarian ones.
If one looks at the unreal 'Realists' article and examines the tribes and realizes there are only 18 provinces, does this begin to look like multiple Balkan provinces amongst diverse peoples? To my eye there is an eerie similarity between the high number of admixture in the Balkans of Peoples and in Iraq with a high number of tribes split between two main ethnic areas, but with influences from Persian, Turk, Assyrian, Jordanian and Bedouin tribes. These similarities are most disturbing in that they lead to cross-adhesion based on differing views of religion that can be held WITHIN those peoples and tribes as well as amongst them.
In my previous Peace in the Middle East checklist article I look at some of the past and current offshoots of Islam that have adherents and that influence the modern branches and sects and cults within Islam. Remember that the problems seen there are also represented within the Faultlines article and given breath to in the 'Realists' article.
Excuse me for saying so, but any 'Realistic Approach' that does NOT deal with these things in-full doesn't seem to be too rooted in this Real Reality we happen to live in.
Now on the political side of things how would one characterize Saddam's regime?
Politically it is Ba'athist which is a form of National Socialist. And given how many Germans migrated to the Middle East after WWII, especially Syria and Lebanon, that is no real surprise. That said this is not European National Socialism, with a nice, orderly culture with people looking to build a better State for the good of their Leader, sort. And while the European version in Germany did have a charismatic leader, he did not try to get a 'cult of personality' around him like Stalin, Mussolini or Tito did. It grew up out of necessity, no doubt, but it wasn't the 'defenestrate the naysayers' sort of Stalin. It is, perhaps, a bit closer to Nasser's Egyptian cult of personality and the Pan-Arabic concept, which is the transplanted Aryan Race ideal given the Arab coating: same pill, different coating.
A bit more on the Ba'athist party: it was a Sunni Arab based party, no matter how much Saddam tried to associate himself with past Kurdish glories. Thus, in Iraq, it is a *minority* party based due to Sectarian problems. But it was not the current 'radicalized Islam' sort, but the more blandly State sponsored Islam of giving praise to Allah and then, in the same breath, to the Beloved Leader of the Nation. That bland and metropolitan form of Islam appears to have its own intra-sectarian place in both the Sunni and Shia brand names, and I do classify it as such. So even within the Sunni Arab community, the Ba'athist Party was a minority. Thus a minority of a minority.
And what was the goal of Iraq under Saddam? Regional hegemony, it appears, with an attempt to snatch at Iran right after its revolution, annex Kuwait and threaten Saudi Arabia. To foster that Saddam allied his Nation strongly with the Soviet Union and purchased most of his arms and armaments from the USSR/Russia, China and France. Those three were the Nations 'holding the bag' of Iraq's debt.
Outside of regional hegemony, was there much else to Iraq's Foreign Policy? A lot of bluster and showing obvious intent with that bluster, as the millions dead due to his regime tell in their stark numbers in mass graves that are unmarked. Not only a blustering dictator, then, but a brutal one able to use chemical weapons on his own Nation, able to round up those who did not like him on a mass scale, as seen in the Shia uprisings in 1991-1992, and wantonly kill any threat to his power.
How did he run his government? Does it look anything like Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan? As I went over in Creating an Army, there is a stark difference on internal culture between more western or westernized powers and Arab powers. And as major point on that is Norvell B. de Atkine's work on Why Arabs Lose Wars, and its insights into the power structure necessary to subdivide loyalties. I will extract a couple of passages that relate to Arab culture and their armies:
Most Arab armies treat enlisted soldiers like sub-humans. When the winds in Egypt one day carried biting sand particles from the desert during a demonstration for visiting U.S. dignitaries, I watched as a contingent of soldiers marched in and formed a single rank to shield the Americans; Egyptian soldiers, in other words, are used on occasion as nothing more than a windbreak. The idea of taking care of one’s men is found only among the most elite units in the Egyptian military. On a typical weekend, officers in units stationed outside Cairo will get in their cars and drive off to their homes, leaving the enlisted men to fend for themselves by trekking across the desert to a highway and flag down buses or trucks to get to the Cairo rail system. Garrison cantonments have no amenities for soldiers. The same situation, in various degrees, exists elsewhere in the Arabic-speaking countries — less so in Jordan, even more so in Iraq and Syria. The young draftees who make up the vast bulk of the Egyptian army hate military service for good reason and will do almost anything, including self-mutilation, to avoid it. In Syria the wealthy buy exemptions or, failing that, are assigned to noncombatant organizations.As a young Syrian told me, his musical skills came from his assignment to a Syrian army band where he learned to play an instrument. In general, the militaries of the Fertile Crescent enforce discipline by fear; in countries where a tribal system still is in force, such as Saudi Arabia, the innate egalitarianism of the society mitigates against fear as the prime mover, so a general lack of discipline pervades.Such easy Elitist attitudes are hard to countenance in Western cultures and is a bit more reminiscent of how Imperial Japan treated those they defeated. Thus the culture put forward is not one of dutiful citizens sticking by their posts, but one of individuals in an under-class actively fighting to stay OUT of the military and NOT defend their Nation. Further, in highly tribal oriented Nations, like Iraq, the tribal system is a prime mover of attitude even and above the fear put forward by the ruling class. And when pointing to the main reasons that Combined Arms have problems in traditional Arab Armies, de Atkine points to:
1) Lack of trust outside tribe and family,None of these are artifacts of the Military and ALL are cultural artifacts of the people they represent. This is *not* the Japanese Imperial model of fealty to the Emperor who is often thought of as Divine. Nor is this the industrialized faction work of even Fascist Italy, not to speak of Nazi Germany. But this does sound a lot like what Tito was doing in Yugoslavia throughout his reign there.
2) "Second, the complex mosaic system of peoples creates additional problems for training, as rulers in the Middle East make use of the sectarian and tribal loyalties to maintain power." This is using religious factions and in-fighting to further divide people and control them,
3) And then there is good old power-brokering and power-balancing using threats, coercion and the ability to reward different people on their alignment to the ruler or not as the case may be.
Another point to when looking at rebuilding policy in Iraq is the cultural affinity to actual industrial production. In Iraq, prior to the 1991 war, the Nation was not known for much of anything, and one has to go way back into the 1970's when Iraq was considered more a center for Islamic learning than as an industrial powerhouse of the Middle East. Actually, *is* there an industrial powerhouse of the Middle East? Not a resource exploitation industry, but a Nation that has an actual, value added industrial base that leverages the productivity of its People to build a stronger Nation? Ok, now leave out Israel.
Was Saddam's Iraq known for automobiles? Was there a great and grand equivalent of the Volkswagen? Perhaps in ship construction? Rail rolling stock? Trucking outside of the military? In aircraft? Televisions? Radios, was Saddam's Iraq known for its wonderful radios? Dishwashers of the non-manual labor sort? Refrigerators? Ok, how about basics like steel or aluminum production? What was Iraq's industrial capacity to make it the equivalent of Germany or Japan, which so many people point to as such grand post-war successes?
I don't really see one outside of the T-72 tank variant, SCUD missiles and some troop transports. I am sure that some things *were* made in Iraq beyond that, but the Nation was never reliant on the value added items and heavily dependent upon the Oil sector. So the ability to 'rebuild' Iraq must ask the question: what is there to be rebuilt?
And to that we look again at that wonderful alignment with the USSR! Iraq can be characterized as a Soviet Ally that used Soviet equipment for infrastructure including: electrical production, oil production and refining, water and sewage treatment, and most of the military hardware that Saddam bought by the tens of billions of dollars year in and year out. And from all that is heard from the US Army Corps in their work to get things like the electrical system and water systems online, those have not been properly maintained nor upgrade since the start of the Iran/Iraq war. And that began in SEP 1980.
Add in such things as a huge alliance bombing campaign during Desert Shield/Desert Storm, periodic pin-pricks by the US and UK thereafter, the cutoff of all major trade, and the conversion of natural gas power plants to crude oil ones because the natural gas infrastructure could not be maintained. So what, exactly, are you rebuilding?
In post-war Germany and Japan, the idea of getting industrial infrastructure along with the necessary civil services were primary, along with banking and such thereafter. ANY industrial production so that there was a dependable cash flow situation. For Iraq we must come to understand that there was a huge unemployment problem BEFORE the invasion, and on employment, that was meted out as Saddam and his underlings saw fit to do. That used the tribal and sectarian divides so as to reward some and punish others. An example of that was the ability to get Shias to sign up for the Iran/Iraq war because it was looking to topple the hated Khomeini and his brand of Shia Islam that the majority of Shias in Iraq wanted nothing to do with.
Given all of that as background and thinking about the Army that he had is it any *wonder* that the military, police and government disintegrated once the 'handwriting was on the wall'?
And what sort of people would you GET if you were actually able to round up those people who had overseen the military, police and civil services? You would get authoritarian style individuals used to abusing, bullying and often killing their way ahead in life. And if the US actually DID put some of those people back in power, even for a few months, the accusations of 'going there to replace a Tyrant with a Puppet' would be heard around the Globe and vehemently so.
Looking *just* at the military side, the US Armed Forces in 1991 had direct experience with Saddam's military in the thousands of prisoners it took during that conflict. We heard about the conditions in Iraq and in the military, and how those that were given back to Iraq would be punished, if not KILLED for not dying trying to stop the invaders. Further, some of those said that their FAMILIES would be put in jeopardy. We sent them back after the conflict, and Saddam never DID send back the few pilots that got shot down, nor the Kuwaitis that he had kidnapped while in Kuwait. And after 1991-2 and NOT supporting the Shia uprising, to the tune of 300,000 Shia dead, the US credibility in Iraq plummeted.
If the US and MNF had tried to bring any of that *back*, the stench of betrayal would be in the air and the lack of credibility of the US would remain staunchly at ZERO for years. To state it more clearly, the old Iraqi military, under Saddam, was not something that the US Armed Forces ever wanted to bring back. That old Iraqi Army was the antithesis of a professional, competent military that was honorable and would serve its Nation and could be trusted to do so. Hiring them back as civilians turned out to be what happened in the reconstruction when the US made it clear that 'no questions would be asked of those who served in the old Iraqi Army, save for the Officers.' The Officers had a LOT to answer for. This also went on for the police and government: temporary civilian work until things got up and running, just those competent or willing to work save those that had much to answer for. No one inside Iraq would believe that we were NOT going to turn around and betray them and quite some number OUTSIDE of Iraq would be suggesting that, for the sake of 'Realism' we do just that thing.
And so here we are left with the Balkans of the Middle East. But with the faultlines of the entirety of the Middle East and Islam running right through Iraq. What it is not is a mono-ethnic culture, having a People that have gotten used to thinking of themselves in terms of a Nation for a century or more. Any remedy that anyone has tried to apply to Germany or Japan would have disintegrated in the face of this highly complex situation that grows out of multiple, but simple drives. As the drives all work at cross-purposes, one ends up with a complex situation because of them.
As Iraq goes, so goes the Middle East as it is still central geographically, central to Shia Islam and still considered a center of Islamic learning. Trying to build something there for the first time is a challenge for a generation. The leadership there, no matter how feeble, knows that going back to anything else or trying to divide Iraq will lead to ruin. For people used to thinking in terms of coercion, bribes, threats, and such all tied to religion, family, tribe and money, this is a very hard thing to do. Thinking of themselves as Iraqi first and then either tribe or sect second or third is a huge mental concept. It took the West a century or two to finally get that going and stick to it after Westphalia.
As I pointed out earlier, no one ever re-built the Balkans.
Pretty fool thing to try to do.
The Balkans have never had a main threat to civilization running through it in modern times, and one must go back to the Caliphate for the last time it was even close to such a world-shaking line of events.
Or to Sarajevo.
And Iraq was formed by the exact same generation of diplomats that made the Balkans. That made Czechoslovakia. That made the Transjordan.
The United States did little to help those treaties in aligning to the People of those areas.
And we are paying the price today.
The price for a very badly designed Peace.
That of World War I.