Why I Supported the Iraq War
In the fall of 2002, I went to Syria to interview people there about the looming Iraq conflict. At the time, I was still skeptical about the success of an invasion, mainly because of the Bush administration’s convoluted justifications for it. Each U.S. official, it seemed, had a different reason for going to war, and while this cacophony meant less concerted opposition to President George W. Bush’s goal of ousting Saddam Hussein, I thought it could seriously complicate matters if the postwar situation were mishandled.
Generals err in refighting their last wars, and political analysts are little different. I was applying the same logic I had after the war for Kuwait in 1991, when I wrote a paper for a Canadian academic journal arguing that George H.W. Bush had been lucky in winning so swift a victory against the Iraqis. In the period leading up to that Gulf War, I recalled, the American public had been hesitant, the administration’s intentions imprecise, and Congress divided. Had the fighting dragged on, the absence of a domestic consensus could have turned into a major headache for the White House. But nothing unifies as well as success, and the first President Bush dodged a bullet.
I had great ambivalence on the road to Damascus in 2002. War seemed inevitable, and I knew it could create an opportunity for deep regional change. Having spent much of my life in a Middle East suffocated by brutal and mediocre regimes, of which Iraq and Syria were loathsome exemplars; having arrived from a Lebanon effectively ceded to Syria before the 1991 Gulf War by the Bush administration in the name of political “realism”; having seen the sanctions regime against Iraq disintegrate as the tyrant augmented his own people’s suffering to play on Western guilt—having experienced all that and more, I was becoming less certain that invading Iraq was such a bad idea, even if I had, in January 2003, signed onto a statement calling for Saddam Hussein to voluntarily step down and leave Iraq in order to avoid a war. I was not eager for war, but I was also unwilling to oppose it if the alternative was leaving Saddam in power.
Among the Syrians I talked to was a prominent intellectual active in his country’s civil society movement. Sitting with him one evening, I expected criticism of America similar to what I had heard earlier that day. Instead, what I got was an account of the latest meeting of my interlocutor’s civil society group. He told me, “Someone asked, if the U.S. expands the Iraq war to overthrow the Syrian regime, who among us would defend the regime? No one lifted a finger to say they would.”
This came as a surprise. I knew I risked overinterpreting the exchange as reflecting a more general Arab view, but I also saw that in assuming knee-jerk anti-Americanism, I had underestimated the general disgust with Arab regimes. The United States could make a difference if it played its cards right. The domestic American debate over Iraqi weapons of mass destruction was of secondary importance in the Middle East, where the parameters of discussion were parochial: Arabs were either for or against war in Iraq for reasons related to their own affairs. Whether Saddam might use his WMDs against Washington or London was largely irrelevant.
No less selfishly, I hoped American soldiers in Iraq might help undermine Syria’s 27-year-old subjugation of my own country, Lebanon, even if there was a chance that the Syrians would initially react by tightening their grip. Lebanese self-determination was not high on the Bush administration’s wish list, however, so my optimism, like that of comrades who also longed for an end to Syria’s vampiric embrace, was guarded.
By the time the war started in March 2003, opposition to it seemed meaningless, since only Arab despots would have benefited if it were aborted; in fact, for anyone willing to accept the war’s revolutionary potential, opposition seemed immoral. The Americans were inside the walls, and the only justifiable attitude was to support the achievement of the invasion’s most desirable outcome: the establishment, in stages, of a sustainable democratic state that could show other Arabs what they were missing. Those who doubted this could be done because Iraqi society was allegedly inoculated against the democratic bug had only to look at the anxiety in Arab presidential palaces and courts to see their pessimism was not universal. If the Bush administration was confused about its goals, as it certainly seemed to be in the run-up to the war, it was up to Arab liberals to provide guidance.
As Baghdad fell on April 9, 2003, I flipped to Syria’s official satellite channel. Instead of showing footage from the Iraqi capital, it was, ludicrously, broadcasting a documentary on Damascus’ Umayyad mosque. I then turned to an Egyptian station where a retired general, an Arab nationalist, refused to believe Baghdad had been taken. The U.S. had doctored the footage, he said.
If Syria’s dictatorship and the Arab nationalists were scared, I thought, then something was right about the invasion. When the statue of Saddam Hussein was pulled down, I was not particularly concerned by what it said about the Americans; what interested me was whether Arabs would welcome the obliteration of their most vicious idol. Mine was an atavistic reaction, one that at first missed the fact that Baghdad had descended into chaos. I make no excuses for this, but I quickly saw that the looting that followed Saddam’s fall was ammunition for those seeking to discredit the invasion—and for those who, more justifiably, argued that this grand American adventure in the Arab world would not necessarily be pretty.
The looting was something else as well: a disturbing indication that the U.S. wasn’t quite sure what to do now that it had occupied Iraq. It would take two weeks for the first postwar administrator, Jay Garner, to reach Baghdad. But the Americans enjoyed a grace period, reinforced by Shiite and Kurdish support for Saddam’s overthrow and an understanding that a U.S. military presence was needed during a transitional phase.
It was at that point that two separate requirements should have come into play to buttress democratic dynamics in Iraq. First, the U.S. should have resolved its own inconsistencies over how to run the country. If democracy was to be the end product, then it was crucial to hand power over to the Iraqis themselves. But it was also important to give a leg up to the disadvantaged democrats who were timidly reemerging, not to rely on armed religious groups, particularly those with ties to Iran.
Instead, Bush sent in Paul Bremer. At first he seemed to fancy himself a new Percy Cox, the British civil servant who first ran Iraq under a British mandate. To many Iraqis, Bremer’s power seemed absolute, and the U.S. looked increasingly hypocritical for talking about democracy and the rule of law—a suspicion only reinforced by the Abu Ghraib outrage.
A second requirement, which never gained a foothold in the public imagination, was a consensus on what Iraq had turned into. As the “insurgency” gained momentum, as civilians were randomly slaughtered by a so-called re-sistance, it became obvious there was one assortment of forces, both inside and outside the country, that wanted Iraq to succeed, and one that did not. The solution was not to marginalize Arab Sunnis, the backbone of opposition to the new Iraq, but it was to use both force and cooptation to bring the community into the new order. Only the U.S. could do so. As a result, demanding a prompt U.S. withdrawal while Iraq remained unstable made little sense; yet this was the irresponsible rallying cry of the war’s opponents.
This is where Iraq proved to be a failure for a large number of Arab and Western liberals. Most of them had blithely tolerated Saddam Hussein in his genocidal heyday; only when America got involved did they sharpen their quills to angrily denounce Bush’s war. Rare were those who, like Paul Berman, Kanan Makiya, and Christopher Hitchens, saw Iraq as a new chapter in that persistent conflict that had resumed on September 11, 2001: an ideological war pitting liberal humanism against totalitarianism, disguised as murderous Islamism or Arab nationalism. Rare were those who interpreted the Iraqi endeavor as anything more than a crude bid for power in which ideas served only to conceal American perfidy.
Even if predictions of postwar mismanagement in Iraq proved to be correct, the stakes required rising above recrimination. Arab liberals in particular missed an exceptional opportunity to advance their cause. They needn’t have applauded the U.S., but they could have supported its efforts to bring Iraq normality, for the Iraqis’ sake. They could have backed the emergence of a pluralist Arab country from which they might later draw sustenance. They could have admitted that a strengthened Iraq was better able to push the Americans out than a weak and divided one. But they could never see beyond America. America became their obsession. In April 2003, one of their leading lights, Edward Said, wrote: “What seems so monumentally criminal is that good, useful words like ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom’ have been hijacked, pressed into service as [an American] mask for pillage, muscling in on territory, and the settling of scores.” Like many of his peers, Said missed the deeper issue: whether Arabs could shape a durable, tolerant, democratic system to replace the appalling, failed kleptocracies pullulating in the region, the very regimes that oppressed them on a daily basis. They couldn’t grasp that America’s failure in this regard was also theirs.
Like any war, Iraq has become a graveyard for certainties. Those arguing that the country could become a regional bastion of democratic transformation have a duty to consider contrary arguments; this goes for opponents of the assertion as well. Maybe it was inevitable that the strongest forces to emerge in postwar Iraq would be religious or ethnic parties; but maybe, too, the American delay in giving secular Iraqi representatives more power after the military victory ensured that the mullahs and leaders of armed militias would fill the vacuum when Bremer, under pressure from Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, agreed to a transitional political process in which secular liberals were at a decisive disadvantage. But that’s different from stating that democracy has failed in Iraq; if anything, it may have succeeded too well.
Last year something happened that proved Iraq could bolster freedom elsewhere in the region: Lebanon finally rid itself of Syrian rule, after weeks of massive popular demonstrations following the murder of a former prime minister. Critics of the Bush administration denied this development was a response to the January 2005 Iraqi elections or part of a regional democratic groundswell. But the Lebanese undoubtedly drew confidence from the courage of the Iraqis, the presence of American forces on Syria’s border, and the fact that this presence pushed Lebanon higher up on Washington’s agenda.
Democracy in the Middle East will not simultaneously break out in different places, as it did in Eastern Europe. It can only advance if the U.S. makes it a top foreign policy priority, shows a willingness to use a combination of incentives and coercion to bring it about, and consolidates and defends democracy in specific countries, before using these as platforms to push for transformation elsewhere. The effort requires patience, subtlety, and a willingness to accept that American foes may also profit from more liberty. Why should Arab democracy matter to the U.S.? Because of 9/11. Berman was right when he wrote, in his 2003 essay Terror and Liberalism: “In the anti-nihilist system, freedom for others means safety for ourselves. Let us be for the freedom of others.”
What’s next for Iraq? I feel no confidence making predictions from Beirut. Iraqi society has shown more resilience than it has been given credit for, and it is keen to avoid the wasteland of full-scale civil war. Inter-sectarian killings will continue, which may make it seem like civil war has already started. But war is more than killing; it requires a vast leviathan that can sustain the carnage, fund it, and mobilize society while keeping the unhappy in line. Such machinery is not fully in place in Iraq, which is, provisionally, good news. As for the U.S., the question is no longer whether it must leave Iraq, but whether the administration has the will to stay and defend its gains there. As talk of civil war escalates, would Americans agree to send more troops to avert disaster? No. Psychologically, no matter how many soldiers remain in Iraq, many in the U.S. have already headed for the exits.
This doesn’t bode well for open societies in the Middle East.
You Can’t Bring Order to the Middle East
After a storm, be it political or meteorological, passes over the Middle East, the region returns to its eternal stillness. The people come out of hiding, remove the sand from their faces, and return to the desert’s routine: the daily struggle over water wells and grazing spaces. The desert’s tribes go back to the ritual of signing and breaking alliances, and their leaders meet at night before the fire to contemplate the next raid against their hostile neighbors.
If an American guest is there, he’ll be treated to another ritual of Middle Eastern hospitality. The tribe’s elders listen to his advice and nod with polite approval as the foreigner, the child of some faraway green pasture land, suggests that the time has come to replace despotic rule with liberal government and primal desert hatred with eternal peace. As the American guest outlines his vision of a new Middle Eastern order in a Power Point presentation, the Arab elders recall the foreigners who have passed through the region: the Greeks, the Romans, the Crusaders, the British, the French, and now the Americans.
Those foreigners hoped to recreate the Middle East in their own image, only to retreat from the region humiliated and exhausted, leaving nothing more than their imprint on the archaeological record. (“And this is a relic of Baghdad’s Green Zone, which the Americans had constructed around 200 years ago, several decades before the start of the Chinese Era.…”)
Washington is finding that notwithstanding all the great expectations, the post-Saddam Middle East looks quite familiar. The stable, democratic Iraq that would serve as a shining model for the entire Middle East and its peripheries has failed to materialize.
Following the end of the Gulf War in 1991, Washington also expected a new American-led order would arise in the region. The Madrid Peace Conference and the ensuing Oslo peace process were supposed to lay the foundations for a New Middle East, in which Israelis and Palestinians would make peace and the region would be integrated into the expanding and prosperous global economy, with young and hip Israelis and Palestinians making money, surfing the Internet, watching MTV, and launching high-tech start-ups in Israel’s Silicon Wadi. That was the vision promoted by Shimon Peres and echoed by America’s leading fan of globalization and Oslo, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman.
Ten years later it is mostly the same old Middle East. Notwithstanding the neoconservative dreams of unleashing a democratic revolution in Iran, the ayatollahs are still in power in Teheran and the radicals there seem to be strengthening their grip. The Hashemites are still in control in Jordan with its Palestinian majority, and their traditional rivals, the Saudis, remain firmly in control of their oil-rich country. The military is still in charge in Egypt, and authoritarian regimes, “soft” and “hard,” are in power all over the Arab world.
The ouster of Saddam was supposed to usher in a new era of political freedom in Iraq, where the country and its people would be united behind a pro-American, democratically elected government. Iraq would be pluralistic, secular, and committed to women’s rights, and it would help spread political and economic freedom all over the Middle East.
Instead, open elections have made Iraq and Palestine safe not for liberal democracy but for nationalism and other atavistic and combative forms of identity—religious fundamentalism, ethnicity, and tribalism. In Iraq, the power of Kurdish separatists and Shiite clerics with ties to Iran has been consolidated while the Sunni minority has been “Al Qaedicized.” The rise of Hamas in Palestine has made it even less likely that Israelis and Palestinians will find peace anytime soon.
The history of “great power” intervention in the Mideast should have warned Bush and his advisers to proceed with caution and humility. The Greater Middle East that stretches from the Balkans to the borders of India is what political scientists would describe as the most “penetrated” area of the world—one where numerous tribal, religious, ethnic, national, regional, and extra-regional political players combine and divide in a shifting pattern of alliances. Chaos and instability have been the rule, not the exception, since the fall of the Ottoman Empire. Outsiders who want to play the Middle East game should expect to become part of this chaotic system, not vehicles to stabilize it.
In the old imperial movie, the British created Iraq. They put the Hashemites and the Saudis in power. They maintained influence in Egypt. They tried to end this or that cycle of violence between Arabs and Jews in the Holy Land. We know how that movie ended. Resistance from regional players (including terrorism), challenges from global powers (including their U.S. ally), economic decline, and opposition at home led eventually to a long and painful British withdrawal from the region, culminating in the 1956 Suez debacle.
“Our armies do not come to your cities and lands as conquerors or enemies, but as liberators,” General F. S. Maud, the British commander who occupied Baghdad in 1917, pledged to the people of Mesopotamia back then. The U.S. said the same thing in 2003. The name of the movie is now The American Unilateral Moment in the Middle East. The actors are different, but the script is familiar: The Americans are trying to recreate Iraq, navigate between the Saudis and the Hashemites, preserve influence in Egypt, and bring an end to another cycle of Arab-Jewish violence.
The neoconservatives driving this imperial project have added a Wilsonian soundtrack to the old realpolitik script and raised the costs of the American production by suggesting that the United States has the power and the will to create an Iraqi federation of Arabs, both Sunni and Shiite, and Kurds based on liberal principles and trickle-down democracy, secularism, and pro-Americanism. Once we accomplish this, all the dominos of Middle Eastern instability, including rogue regimes and terrorist gangs and centuries of tribal and religious strife, will smoothly fall.
History has shown that outside powers may indeed tilt the Middle East kaleidoscope. But the many tiny pieces of colored glass promptly fall into a new configuration that looks very different from what the tilter expected. The ousting of Saddam Hussein from power, for example, is creating an environment in the Middle East in which nationalism, religious extremism, and tribal warfare are becoming the central driving forces. Consider the dilemmas the U.S. faces in finding the right balance in its relations with Israelis and Palestinians, and multiply that again and again, and you will get a sense of the enormous problems Washington will be facing in Iraq and its peripheries in the coming years.
Americans should recognize that their interests in the Middle East are not only not being advanced; they are actually harmed by pursuing a hegemonic policy there. Americans should regard the Islamic Green Crescent of Instability ranging from the Balkans to the borders of China with a sense of benign neglect coupled with effective security measures to contain the destructive effects of the political chaos and violence that will probably dominate that region for years to come. Constructive disengagement from the Middle East—“We’ll leave, and you’ll let us live”—needn’t be seen as a sign of weakness. Not if it’s bolstered by an active containment policy that makes it clear that those who dare harm us will be punished.
Those involved in the formulation and implementation of U.S. policy in the Middle East assume that people in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan think like them and want the same things they do. At a 2004 conference at the Pentagon, a U.S. Army colonel asked Thomas Barnett, a strategic thinker at the U.S. Naval War College who was trying to convince a group of military officers that American power could be used to democratize the Middle East, whether that assumption was justified. “Everyone wants a better future for their kids,” Barnett said. “I’ve been around a lot of people who don’t think like us,” the colonel replied.
In the Middle East, Americans are encountering a lot of people who don’t think like us and who see U.S. power as an obstacle to achieving their goals or as a tool to advance their own tribal, ethnic, religious, and national interests. We should—for our good, not theirs—remove that obstacle, reclaim that tool, and advance our own interests.
Six Facts About Iraq
Tom G. Palmer
I’ve been to Iraq three times since the fall of Baghdad, and I expect to be back soon. I’ve learned a few things there that I probably wouldn’t have learned had I not gone. Based on those lessons and the kind of information that’s available to anyone who takes the time to read, here are six theses about the future of Iraq.
1. Anyone who is certain about how things are going to turn out doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The number of variables is simply too great to foresee the outcome, even in broad terms. The political and military conflicts take place along religious fault lines (Sunni, Shiite, secular); ethnic fault lines (Arab, Kurd, Turkmen); tribal fault lines (too numerous to mention); the fault lines of personal ambition (Moqtada al Sadr vs. Abdel Aziz al Hakim for leadership of the religious Shiite bloc, for example); and regional fault lines (with oil-poor western Iraq pitted against relatively oil-rich northern and southern Iraq). The international situation complicates matters further, with Turkey ready to intervene (with at least tacit Iranian and Syrian support) if the Kurdish autonomous area declares its independence, and with Iranian agents spreading walking-around money throughout the country, but especially among the Shia factions in the south.
Further, as the recent bombing of the Golden Mosque of Samarra shows, the role of contingency and accident is enormous. A gap in security that allows in a suicide bomber or the direction of a single mortar shell could completely change the direction of events. For example, were the Sunni insurgents or Shiite rivals able to assassinate Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, it’s impossible to predict the consequences, other than to say that they likely would be horrific, since al-Sistani has been a prominent voice for restraint among the Shiites.
In short, it’s impossible to predict Iraq’s future.
2. The war being fought in Iraq is unlike any other. Parallels with Vietnam are of limited use for the simple reason that the Communists were seeking to kick out the Saigon government and replace it, not to create a firestorm that would engulf the region. For Al Qaeda in Iraq, it won’t be over if the U.S. and allied forces withdraw, or the U.S.-backed government falls. In fact, many of those fighting the U.S. and the elected government don’t want the U.S. to withdraw. They want to draw us in further, hoping, as Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri recently put it, to “make the West bleed for years.” Nor is World War II a useful comparison: Once the Fascists and Nazis were beaten, they were beaten. They didn’t go underground and wage a war of destruction; their ideology was effectively defeated with their armies.
The goal of at least a large faction among the insurgents is to create maximum chaos and maximum bloodshed. They account for a tiny fraction of the Iraqi population, and no one really knows what percentage of them are foreigners, but they are ruthless and determined. They will also be very difficult to defeat. No accommodation is possible with them. The existence of an armed faction that is dedicated to destruction per se makes the job of defeating the insurgency all the more difficult.
3. Kurdistan is radically unlike the rest of Iraq. When I drove around Suleimani, the major city in eastern Kurdistan, I saw new buildings with plenty of plate glass windows. That’s a sign of a city that has little fear of suicide bombers or random gunfire. The feeling of relative freedom you get in Kurdish cities is remarkable. The security checkpoints around every city are efficient, and the security forces arrive promptly when they’re called.
The Kurdish region presents an interesting case for political scientists, because it offers a chance to test the relative significance of intentions and of institutions. On the one hand, most everyone seems intent on having a liberal, at least quasi-capitalist democracy. On the other hand, the Kurds have weak civil society institutions and a history of one-party rule; they suffer from the curse of oil (which has been shown time and time again to make the emergence of liberal democracy and free markets improbable, since efforts are devoted to dividing up resource rents rather than to productive activities); and they are surrounded by hostile or potentially hostile parties (a situation that tends to produce an atmosphere of groupthink).
Politics in Kurdistan is dominated by two parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK) in the west and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in the east. I got a sense of their influence when I went to one of the universities to give some lectures. I was told that no weapons could be taken in. This did not sit well with some of my friends, who demanded to know who had decided that. They were told, “It’s been decided by the party.” They didn’t like that, either, and we kept our weapons. What was remarkable was that the answer wasn’t “the dean decided it” or “the city council decided it” but “the party decided it.” Still, the PDK and the PUK have agreed to allow offices of each party (and of other Iraqi parties) to exist throughout Kurdistan, and there is real debate in Kurdish political life and institutions. There are independent media outlets, and in the libraries of the universities one can find newspapers for every political party. The general direction is promising, but it’s hard to overcome years of clan rule, which has been solidified by the organization of parties.
I am optimistic about Kurdistan, but the obstacles to a free society there are still enormous.
4. The police are substantially unreliable, whereas the army may be the only authentically Iraqi institution in the country. During a recent briefing with some senior Pentagon officers about the progress of the war in Iraq, I asked about the problem of the infiltration of many police forces by militias, most important among them Moqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army, which has made inroads in the south. The response was that Sadr is now a part of the political landscape of Iraq and that he will have to be accommodated, as was shown by the renomination of Ibrahim Jafari for the post of prime minister by one vote, which was undoubtedly due to Sadr’s influence.
More interesting has been the contrast in training and performance between the police forces and the army. The police forces have been largely ineffectual at stopping the insurgents and are, it seems, often controlled or intimidated by sectarian militias; even the security forces from the Ministry of the Interior are substantially controlled by sectarian forces, notably the Badr Brigades allied with Abdel Aziz al Hakim’s Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq party. Meanwhile, the army increasingly has been taking on greater responsibility, accompanied by U.S. advisers, for combat operations in crucial areas of Iraq.
If the insurgents are defeated, it will probably be thanks to the Iraqi Army, not the local police or other security forces (at least outside of Kurdistan), which are perceived by many (often quite rightly) as enforcement arms of sectarian groups. That said, it should be emphasized that some units of the army are perceived as dominated by non-Sunnis and therefore hostile to Sunni interests; creating a nonsectarian national army is a daunting task in a country that has for so long been dominated by sectarian powers.
5. It is hard for people in liberal democracies to understand the mentality of most Iraqis. Iraqis live in a society that was long dominated by lies and propaganda. Rather than the clash of views in a free press, they are accustomed to relying on rumors. With the advent of a free press, that has changed somewhat, and people are less likely to believe everything they hear, but rational discourse is still in limited supply. Many Iraqis are convinced that foreign forces are there to steal their oil (which the world is “stealing” at more than $60 a barrel), that the country is wealthy and only requires a good leader to share that wealth (a refrain I heard from many and which I took great pains to explain was a deadly error; Iraq is not a rich society but a desperately poor one), and so on. Moreover, conspiracy theories are the most common form of political understanding. (That is a problem throughout the Middle East, but it is especially pronounced in Iraq.)
The neoconservative assumption that the default condition when you eliminate a dictatorship is liberal democracy has been shown to be false. It is not the default position of mankind but a rare achievement, one that is often won only at a high price.
Adopting the habit of listening to others, of testing claims against evidence, of comparing different sources of news and information, and the other elements of the Enlightenment mentality is proving very difficult. It is not impossible, but it is harder than many expected.
6. If the U.S. were to withdraw tomorrow, the country would be plunged into a bloodbath. But if the U.S. does not make it clear that foreign forces will withdraw, it is unlikely that Iraqis will be able to unite to defeat the terrorists. The prospect of an indefinite substantial military presence in Iraq will provide a ready scapegoat for all of the country’s problems (including the havoc wreaked by the insurgency). Only the credible prospect of a departure is likely to bring the parties to the table to create a relatively (and I stress relatively) liberal and stable regime for Iraq. And even that might not suffice. The country could break apart. That might not be the worst outcome, but the fighting to determine the borders of the resulting states could be fierce.
If the Bush administration is serious about defeating the insurgents, it has to realize that the Iraqis are better placed to do so and that they will have more incentive to do so if they know that the U.S. will be leaving.
There is a chance that things will turn out well in Iraq, or at least not badly. Whatever the outcome, libertarians should be eager to assist the Iraqis in creating a free society. That’s why my Arab friends and I have established the Lamp of Liberty (misbahalhurriyya.org) to bring the message of liberty to both Iraqis and the wider Arab world. I am working with Iraqi libertarians who are trying to do the best they can under very difficult circumstances to combat fanaticism, terrorism, and statism. It’s a hard slog, but we have no choice.