The Corner

“Losing The Iraqis?”

It’s become a cliché among critics of the war and even some nervous hawks that we have “lost the Iraqis.” To some extent, we obviously have. But that the occupation would eventually incur the wrath of most Iraqis was something astute observers of Arab political culture considered inevitable. So the Bush administration could have done many things differently and better, but most Iraqis would probably still see us as occupiers and want us to leave as soon as feasible. Here’s what David Pryce-Jones wrote in the pages of National Review in April 2003, before the war had even ended: “It may be necessary to the United States to keep the peace during a transitional period. But any sort of American military or civil administration with political responsibilities is certain almost immediately to arouse both an Islamic and a shame-honor reaction uniting the population against it. Iraqis would perceive themselves are defeated and colonized rather than liberated, and the shame of that is likely to lead to an intifada even more violent than the Palestinian model.”

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