In an earlier blog post, I asked the question of whether Egypt is ready for democracy. I concluded that it was, and that democracy had a better chance of standing when its citizens had to fight for it themselves. I was right. Egypt won its elections, and then won them again when a technicality handed power over to a minority-interest religious thug. They won - twice.
Well, now it's Iraq's turn.
I combed through all my past posts, knowing that in the past I predicted that this day would come. I predicted that terrorist cells would attack Iraq, and that the young nation would have to learn how to stand on its own. Alas, that blog post was likely during a time in which I was blogging to Facebook directly rather than using this outlet. So the post has been lost. But I did predict this. Iraq must now stand on its own two feet. We can help with relief, or possibly even with drone strikes, but we can't do much otherwise.
You see, people simply tend not to appreciate what they have unless they've paid for it themselves. This is why low-rent housing slums are dumps - the people living there don't care about them after paying sub-market prices. They bought it dirt cheap, so they treat it like dirt. A child who is given a toy as a gift tends to neglect that toy much more than a child who bought the same toy after earning the money doing chores or mowing people's lawns. It's just human nature - you appreciate something according to the amount of effort you put in to acquire it. The same holds true of a nation. If its freedom was paid with someone else's blood, it tends not to be appreciated either.
Not that I'm suggesting that Iraqis didn't pay a blood price. On the contrary! They suffered collateral damage for years as fighting took place in their own streets. But their own sons and daughters didn't fight for freedom. Ours did. And that means that they might not fully appreciate what they have.
Until it's threatened, that is. Until such time as they must pay the price with the blood of their own sons.
Now that day has come. Iraq will stand, or it will fall. But if it falls, its people will remember what it was like to be free, and will fight for it back. Either way, Iraq's freedom is not in question. It will be free! But which path will it take? The easy path, or the hard one?
I'm not certain. If Iraq falls, what rises again may be a Shi'ite East Iraq, a Sunni West Iraq, and an independent Kurdistan. Or perhaps the current Iraqi government may beat the odds and survive. Either way, Iraqis will decide their own fate.
And that's the way it should be.
Enough with calling this a failure of Obama's administration. This was Bush's failure. You can't stem the tide of the inevitable forever. Sooner or later, this had to happen.
To be frank, I'm surprised it took this long for the Islamists to attack.