Transcript: Fouad Ajami on Iraq and the Struggle for the Arab World | Nov 20, 2004

Fouad Ajami addresses an unseen audience. He’s in his late sixties, balding, with a tousled white beard. He’s wearing a dark gray suit, blue shirt, and pin-dotted blue tie.

He says I WENT TO IRAQ
IN AUGUST FOR MY THIRD VISIT TO
IRAQ SINCE THE FALL OF THE
SADDAM HUSSEIN DESPOTISM.
I WENT FOR MYSELF, I WENT TO
IRAQ TO SEE WHAT EXACTLY WAS
THIS EXPEDITION IN IRAQ ALL ABOUT.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Fouad Ajami. Johns Hopkins University. Iraq and the struggle for the Arab world. Donner Canadian Foundation Lecture. September 28, 2004."

Fouad continues I WENT THERE AS
A CHILD OF THAT ARAB WORLD, BOTH
IN TERMS OF BACKGROUND, AND OF
COURSE AS AN AMERICAN.
I ALSO WENT THERE, AND I SHOULD
OWN UP TO THIS, AS SOMEONE WHO
FAVOURED THE IRAQ WAR.
FAVOURED IT NOT
IN THE SENSE THAT I WAS OUT IN
THE STREETS WITH PLACARDS
SAYING, LET'S GO TO MESOPOTAMIA,
THAT WASN'T REALLY THE IDEA, BUT
I FAVOURED IT, I UNDERSTOOD THE
MOTIVATIONS BEHIND THE WAR.
I ALSO UNDERSTOOD THAT THERE WAS
SOMETHING, IN A WAY, THAT THERE
WAS THIS TERRIBLE SKY IN THE
ARAB WORLD, AND IT NEEDED A
MIGHTY STORM.
AND SO I CAME AROUND TO
BELIEVING THAT THIS WAR WAS
INEVITABLE ANYWAY, IT WAS A
CHRONICLE OF A WAR FORETOLD, IF
YOU WILL, A CHRONICLE OF A WAR
FORETOLD.
AND ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2001, I CAN
TELL YOU AND YOU CAN CHECK ME ON
THIS, BECAUSE I DO DO A FAIR
AMOUNT OF MEDIA WORK.
I WORK AS A CONSULTANT FOR CBS
NEWS, AND I WORK AS A
CONTRIBUTING EDITOR FOR U.S.
NEWS AND WORLD REPORT, WHERE I
HAVE WRITTEN A COLUMN FOR THE
LAST 15 OR 16 YEARS.
I ALSO HAVE WORKED FOR CBS SINCE
1985.
AND I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT ON
SEPTEMBER 12, 2001, I SAID THERE
WAS A HIGHWAY AND THAT THIS
HIGHWAY WOULD GO FROM KABUL TO
BAGHDAD, THAT THERE WAS A
CHRONICLE OF A WAR FORETOLD,
THAT WE WERE DESTINED TO BE IN
BAGHDAD.
I ALSO WANT YOU TO KNOW, THOUGH
I MADE MY SHARE OF MISTAKES, AND
I WANT YOU TO KNOW SO...
THAT THIS WAR HAS HUMBLED
EVERYONE, CONSERVATIVES AND
LIBERALS ALIKE, HAWKS AND DOVES
ALIKE, PEOPLE WHO BELIEVED THAT
THE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
AND OTHER KINDS AS WELL.
SO FOR ME, IT WASN'T SO MUCH
ABOUT THE HUNT FOR WEAPONS OF
MASS DESTRUCTION, BECAUSE I
NEVER BELIEVED THAT THE IRAQI
REGIME HAD THESE FABLED WEAPONS
OF MASS DESTRUCTION, AND THE
PEACE AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS THAT
MY FRIEND DR. MOHAMMED QUOTED,
NEVER REALLY NEVER PLAYED THE
THEME OF WEAPONS OF MASS
DESTRUCTION.
IT PLAYED THE THEME OF SEPTEMBER
11th, 2001.
FOR I GENUINELY BELIEVED THAT WE
WOULD END UP I THE ARAB WORLD.
THOSE 19 WHO STRUCK AT AMERICA,
THOSE 19 YOUNG MEN WHO SHATTERED
THE AMERICAN PSYCHE ON SEPTEMBER
11th, 2001, AND WHO CAME TO THE
CITY WHERE I LIVE, NEW YORK.
THOSE 19 WERE NOT AFGHANS, THEY
WERE NOT PAKISTANIS, THEY DID
NOT COME FROM INDONESIA, AND SO
IT WASN'T SO MUCH A CRISIS OF
ISLAMIC FUNDAMENTALISM.
THOSE 19 WERE CHILDREN OF THE
ARAB WORLD.
THEY CAME FROM ARAB LANDS.
THERE IS A PREACHER OF SYRIAN
BACKGROUND IN LONDON.
IT'S ALWAYS NICE, YOU KNOW, THE
RADICALISM IS ALWAYS VERY ALIVE
IN THE LANDS OF THE WEST, AMONG
THESE MUSLIM PREACHERS.
AND THIS MUSLIM PREACHER OMAR
BAKRI MOHAMMED, OF SYRIAN
BACKGROUND, DESCRIBED THE 19 AS
THE MAGNIFICENT 19, WHO DIVIDED
THE WORLD.

A flyer pops up on screen. It shows the faces of 19 men, most of them wearing Keffiyehs. It reads “Islamic Conference, September 11th 2003. The Magnificent 19 that divided the world on September 11th. There were youth who believed in their Lord and ‘we increased them in guidance’. Kahf:15.”

Fouad continues SO WE LOOK AT THOSE 19, WE KNOW
ABOUT THEM WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW.
WE KNOW THEY CAME -- WE KNOW
THAT 15 OF THEM HAILED FROM
SAUDI ARABIA.
WE KNOW THAT ONE OF THEM, THE
LEAD HIJACKER, THE LEAD PILOT OF
DEATH, MOHAMMED ATTA, CAME FROM
EGYPT AND WAS A SON OF A LAWYER,
A PRODUCT OF THE EGYPTIAN
BOURGEOISIE.

A picture shows a clean-shaven man in his early forties.

Fouad continues WE KNOW THAT TWO CAME FROM THE
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES.
AND WE KNOW THAT ONE, AND HE IS
OF SPECIAL INTEREST TO ME, ZIAD
JARRAHI, WAS AT THE CONTROLS OF
THE PLANE THAT CRASHED IN PENNSYLVANIA.

Another picture captioned “Ziad Jarrahi” shows a man in his early thirties.

Fouad continues ZIAD JARRAHI IS A CHILD OF
LEBANON, OF MY OWN ANCESTRAL LAND.
HE WENT TO THE ELITE FRENCH
SCHOOL, THE ELITE PREP SCHOOL IN
BEIRUT, AND HE SHATTERED MY
STEREOTYPE OF THE JIHADIST,
BECAUSE HE ACTUALLY HAD A
GIRLFRIEND, RIGHT?
BECAUSE I HAD THIS THEORY WHICH
I'LL TELL YOU ABOUT SOME OTHER
TIME, THAT USUALLY THE JIHADIST,
IT'S REALLY ABOUT THIS RELATION
WITH WOMEN IS PROBLEMATIC TO THEM.
BUT ZIAD JARRAHI HAD A
GIRLFRIEND, SHE WAS A SECULAR
TURKISH YOUNG WOMAN, AND ZIAD
JARRAHI WAS A PARTY BOY, AND
ZIAD JARRAHI WAS A CHILD OF AN
AFFLUENT FAMILY, AND YET HE
ENDED UP AT THE CONTROLS OF THAT
PLANE, ON THAT FATEFUL MORNING
OF SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001.
SO ON SEPTEMBER 12, 2001, I
THINK WAS WHEN THE BEGINNINGS,
IF YOU WILL, OF THE CAMPAIGN
AGAINST IRAQ GATHERS FORCE.
NOW I KNOW VERY WELL THAT THERE
WILL BE MANY PEOPLE HERE WHO
WILL TELL ME, AND I UNDERSTAND,
I AM IN THE KNOW ABOUT THIS,
THAT THERE ARE NO CONNECTIONS
BETWEEN THE FUNDAMENTALISM OF AL
QAEDA AND THE SECULARISM OF
SADDAM HUSSEIN.
I DON'T SUBSCRIBE TO THIS, I
DON'T SUBSCRIBE TO THIS, AS YOU
SHALL SEE.
I KNOW, OF COURSE, THAT YOU
COULD HAVE JUST SAID, “WELL WE
WILL JUST STAY WITH THE WAR ON
TERROR.”
BUT I THINK OUR FRUSTRATIONS
WITH THE ARAB WORLD, AND BY OUR,
I MEAN THE AMERICAN FRUSTRATIONS
WITH THE ARAB WORLD, BECAUSE
HERE I SPEAK AS AN AMERICAN, I
SPEAK AS A CITIZEN OF THE UNITED
STATES, THAT THE AMERICAN
FRUSTRATION WITH THE ARAB WORLD
WAS DESTINED TO TAKE US TO THE
ARAB WORLD ITSELF.
WE WERE GOING TO SEEK THE
SOURCES OF ARAB RADICALISM.
AND HENCE, I THINK THAT IT WOULD
BE FAIR TO SAY THAT SADDAM
HUSSEIN DREW THE SHORT STRAW.
HE DREW THE SHORT STRAW.
NOW HE DIDN'T HAVE WEAPONS OF
MASS DESTRUCTION, AS IT TURNS
OUT, BUT YOU SEE, I ALSO LIVE IN
NEW YORK, AS I HAVE SAID, AND I
KNOW IF YOU HAVE A LONG RAP
SHEET, IF YOU HAVE A LONG RAP
SHEET, AND YOU COME OUT AT DUSK
WITH A WATER PISTOL AND AIM IT
AT THE POLICE, YOU WILL BE SHOT
DEAD.
AND THIS WAS THE PROBLEM WITH
SADDAM HUSSEIN.
HE PRETENDED HE HAD WEAPONS OF
MASS DESTRUCTION, HE STRUTTED
AROUND AS THOUGH HE HAD WEAPONS
OF MASS DESTRUCTION.
HE DIDN'T GET OUT OF HARM'S WAY, AND AN
ARGUMENT, IF YOU WILL, DEVELOPED
IN WASHINGTON, A VIEW DEVELOPED,
THAT WE HAD TO TAKE THE FIGHT
AGAINST ARAB RADICALISM AND WE
HAD TO GO TO THE ARAB WORLD, AND
THIS WAS THE INCENTIVE BEHIND
OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM.
NOW OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM DIDN'T GIVE US
EVERYTHING WE WANTED.
IT DIDN'T GIVE US THE THINGS IN
THE ARAB WORLD THAT WE HOPED WE
WOULD FIND.
IT DIDN'T GIVE US FULL ACCESS,
YOU KNOW, THE PEOPLE WHO THOUGHT
PERHAPS WE COULD BRING THE REIGN
OF DEMOCRACY TO THE ARAB WORLD
BY GOING TO MESOPOTAMIA.
PERHAPS THESE DREAMS WERE
EXCESSIVE, PERHAPS THEY WERE NOT
TO BE FULFILLED.
BUT STILL, FOR ME IT WAS A JUST
WAR, AND THE BEST I COULD SAY
ABOUT IT, IT WOULD EITHER BE A
WAR THAT WOULD BRING ABOUT GREAT
DIVIDENDS OF REFORM IN THE ARAB
WORLD, OR THE WORST I COULD SAY,
IT WOULD BE A NOBLE FAILURE.
I FEEL SAFE, BY THE WAY, SAYING
THE EXPRESSION NOBLE FAILURE,
BECAUSE MY FRIEND RICHARD
HOLBROOK, FORMER AMBASSADOR TO
THE U.N. IS NOT HERE TONIGHT.
THAT EXPRESSION, ALWAYS DRIVES
HIM INSANE WHEN I SAY NOBLE FAILURE.
HE SAYS, “NO FAILURE IS NOBLE.”
NO FAILURE IS NOBLE.
BUT THE BEST YOU CAN SAY, IS
THAT ULTIMATELY THIS OPERATION
IRAQI FREEDOM WILL BEGET US A
COUNTRY IN THE ARAB WORLD THAT
IS NOT A MENACE TO ITS
NEIGHBOURS, THAT DOES NOT HEAP
SORROW AND RUIN ON ITS OWN
POPULATION, AND THEN MAYBE THERE
WILL BE SOME DIVIDENDS OF REFORM
IN THE ARAB WORLD.
NOW, IRAQ TURNED OUT TO BE MUCH
MORE DIFFICULT THAN WE BARGAINED
FOR, TO MAKE AN UNDERSTATEMENT HERE.
IT WAS MUCH MORE DIFFICULT THAN
WE BARGAINED FOR.
THE DESPOT HAD WRECKED THE LIFE
OF IRAQ, AND I THINK WE FOUND
THE TROUBLES OF THE ARAB WORLD
AWAITING US IN IRAQ.
WE FOUND IRAQIS GRATEFUL FOR
THEIR LIBERTIES, BUT WE ALSO SAW
AN ARAB WORLD EAGER TO SEE US
FAIL IN THE STREETS OF FALLUJAH,
IN THE STREETS OF NAJAF, AND IN
THE STREETS OF BASRA.
SO WE REALLY DIDN'T HAVE IRAQ,
IF YOU WILL, FOR OURSELVES.
IT WAS MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT.
THERE WERE OTHER PEOPLE WHO HAD
A PIECE OF THE ACTION, IF YOU
WILL, IN IRAQ.
I THINK OF THE SATELLITE
CHANNELS AL JAZEERA AND AL
ARABIA WHICH HAVE BECOME
PROTAGONISTS IN THE STRUGGLE.
I THINK OF OTHER EXAMPLES THAT I
WILL CITE FOR YOU.
JUST A FEW DAYS AGO, AS THE
BATTLE IN NAJAF WAS NEARING A
DECISIVE OUTCOME, AND AS THE
FORCES OF THIS YOUNG BRIGAND,
MUQTADA AL-SADR, WERE ON THE
VERGE OF A MASSIVE DEFEAT AND HE
GENUINELY WAS AND THOROUGHLY
DEFEATED -- HE WAS DEFEATED
MILITARILY BY THE AMERICANS, HE
WAS DEFEATED RELIGIOUSLY BY
GRAND AYATOLLAH ALI SISTANI, WHO
CAME BACK FROM LONDON, FROM
HOSPITAL BED, TO LAY CLAIM TO
NAJAF AND TO BANISH THIS YOUNG
PRETENDER FROM NAJAF.
AS THIS DRAMA WAS PLAYING OUT, A
MAN BY THE NAME OF SHEIK YUSUF
QARADAWI, AND I DON'T KNOW HOW
MANY PEOPLE HERE KNOW WHO SHEIK
YUSUF QARADAWI IS, SHEIK YUSUF
QARADAWI IS WHAT WE CALL THE
TELEVISION SHEIK.
HE IS IN THE MOULD OF THE
TELEVANGELISTS THAT WE ARE
FAMILIAR WITH IN THE UNITED
STATES, MUCH MORE SO THAN YOU
ARE HERE IN CANADA.
SHEIK YUSUF QARADAWI LIVES IN
QATAR, HE LIVES IN THE SAFETY OF
DOHA IN QATAR.
HE, HIMSELF IS OF EGYPTIAN
EXTRACTION.
HE IS A FORMER MEMBER OF THE
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD IN EGYPT WHO
FOUND A HOME AND A SANCTUARY IN
QATAR.
SHEIK YUSUF QARADAWI, ON A VISIT
TO EGYPT, ISSUED THIS FATWA, HE
ISSUED THIS FATWA WHICH
DRAMATIZES THE DIFFICULTIES OF
BRINGING SANITY TO IRAQ, AND THE
DIFFICULTIES OF PREVAILING, IF
YOU WILL, IN IRAQ.
THE FATWA WAS QUITE REMARKABLE
IN ITS EXTREMISM.
THE SHEIK RULED THAT IT WAS AN
OBLIGATION ON MUSLIMS TO KILL
CIVILIANS IN IRAQ.
NOW I WAS, AT THE TIME, I HAD
BEEN -- SPENT SOME TIME IN IRAQ,
LIVING IN THE AMERICAN COMPOUND
WITH SOLDIERS AND CIVILIANS
ALIKE.
I WAS TALKING TO DEVELOPMENT
WORKERS, I WAS TALKING TO FORMER
STUDENTS OF MINE.
I WAS LIVING AND TRYING TO
CHRONICLE THESE YOUNG PEOPLE
FROM THE WORLD OVER WHO WERE
WORKING IN IRAQ, TO TRY TO BRING
SOME ORDER TO IRAQ.
AND THIS IS SHEIK QARADAWI NOW
OPINING THAT THIS IS AN
OBLIGATION ON MUSLIMS, TO KILL
CIVILIANS IN IRAQ.
WELL THERE WAS A STORM THAT
GREETED THE PRONOUNCEMENT OF
SHEIK YUSUF QARADAWI, BECAUSE
THINGS IN THE ARAB WORLD ARE IN
A STATE OF FLUX, THINGS ARE NO
LONGER WHAT THEY USED TO BE.
THE INDULGENCE OF TERRORISM AND
THE ACCEPTANCE OF TERRORISM IS
DRYING UP.
AND A MAN BY THE NAME OF
ABDULRAHMAN RACHED, A VERY
DECENT SAUDI, THOUGHTFUL, QUITE
ARTICULATE, HE HAD ONCE BEEN,
JUST UNTIL RECENTLY, EDITOR OF A
NEWSPAPER FAMILIAR TO THOSE OF
YOU WHO COME FROM THE ARAB
WORLD, IF THERE ARE PEOPLE HERE.
HE HAD BEEN EDITOR OF A
NEWSPAPER CALLED, ASHARK ALAWSAT.
NOW HE IS-- HE PRESIDES OVER THE
SATELLITE CHANNEL AL ARABIA.
SO THIS SAUDI MAN LOOKED AT THIS
FATWA BY THIS PREACHER, SHEIK
QARADAWI, AND WONDERED ABOUT THE
ETHICS OF SHEIK QARADAWI, WHO
HAD TWO DAUGHTERS STUDYING IN
ENGLAND, AND A SON STUDYING IN
FLORIDA, ISSUING THIS RULING,
AND SAID, HOW CAN WE BRING
SANITY TO OUR CHILDREN, TO OUR
YOUNG PEOPLE, WHEN MEN IN RIPE
OLD AGE, MEN IN RIPE OLD AGE,
ISSUE FATWAS THAT SANCTIFY AND
SANCTION MURDER, AND SEND YOUNG
PEOPLE TO THEIR DEATHS, STRAPPED
WITH EXPLOSIVE BELTS, WHEN THEY
SEND THEIR OWN CHILDREN TO
SCHOOLS IN ENGLAND AND THE
UNITED STATES.
THIS WAS THE DEBATE, THE DEBATE
WAS JOINED, IF YOU WILL.
WHEN SUDDENLY, A FEW DAYS LATER,
SHEIK QARADAWI, CAREFUL ABOUT
HIS IMAGE, CAREFUL ABOUT NOT
BEING CAUGHT, IF YOU WILL,
ISSUED A RETRACTION, AND THE
RETRACTION ITSELF IS QUITE
REVEALING IN ITS OWN RIGHT.
THE RETRACTION SAID, “AH, I
NEVER SAID IT WAS PERMISSIBLE --
IT WAS PERMISSIBLE TO KILL
CIVILIANS,” SHEIK QARADAWI SAID,
“SOME PEOPLE,” HE AGAIN ADDED,
“HAVE BUILT CASTLES OUT OF SOME
GRAINS OF SAND.
THEY PLUCKED A WORD OR TWO OUT
OF WHAT I SAID, AND THEY
INDICTED ME IN THIS KIND OF
FASHION.”
BUT THE SHEIK, COULDN'T RESIST,
AND COULDN'T HELP HIMSELF, AND
SO HE ADDED, SO HE ADDED, “BUT
THEN ANYWAY, WHO IS TO TELL
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A
CIVILIAN AND A SOLDIER IN THE
BATTLEFIELD OF IRAQ.
NOW WHAT'S
INTERESTING ABOUT QARADAWI IS
THAT HE IS NOT AN IRAQI, AND
THERE WERE PREACHERS AND SHEIKS
AND MUFTIS IN IRAQ WHO MADE THE
POINT, AND THEY SAID, IF WE
NEED--
IF PEOPLE HAVE THE RIGHT TO
PRONOUNCE ON THE LIFE OF IRAQ,
THEY SHOULD BE IRAQIS.
AND IRAQ HAS
ENOUGH
[word in Arabic],
THAT MEANS
SOURCES OF IMITATION, RELIGIOUS
AUTHORITIES, WHO COULD PRONOUNCE
ON IRAQ'S CONDITIONS.
SO A FIGHT, I THINK IS PLAYING
OUT IN IRAQ.
ON THE ONE SIDE, IF YOU WILL,
THERE IS THIS GREAT AMERICAN
PUSH, AND I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY
PEOPLE HERE BELIEVE IT WAS JUST
OR UNJUST, IT DOESN'T MATTER
NOW.
WE ARE THERE IN THE ALLEYWAYS OF
IRAQ.
WE ARE DEEPLY COMMITTED TO THE
OUTCOME OF IRAQ.
SO HUNKERED DOWN IN THIS GREEN
ZONE WHERE I LIVED IN AUGUST, I
SAW THE BEGINNINGS, IF YOU WILL,
OF THIS NEW IRAQI PROJECT, THIS
NEW IRAQI POSSIBILITY.
IT WAS REDEEMED AND IS BEING
REDEEMED AT A TERRIBLE PRICE, AT
A HIGH PRICE, 1,050 AMERICANS BY
LATEST COUNT HAVE BEEN KILLED IN
IRAQ.
1,050, WE SEE THEIR PICTURES IN
THE NEWSPAPERS.
THIS IS NOT CHEAP.
THIS EXPEDITION WAS NOT CHEAP.
IT COMES AT A TERRIBLE PRICE.
NOW IN THIS GREEN ZONE, WITH
THIS IRAQI GOVERNMENT, THERE IS
THIS AMERICAN PRESENCE.
MY GOOD FORTUNE, IF YOU WILL, IN
THIS TRIP WAS THAT I HAVE A
VERY, VERY GOOD RELATIONSHIP
WITH LIEUTENANT GENERAL DAVE
PETRAEUS.
I DON'T KNOW HOW MANY OF YOU
READ NEWSWEEK MAGAZINE.
NEWSWEEK HAD HIM ON THE COVER.
IT SAID, “CAN THIS MAN SAVE
IRAQ?”
THIS IS OUR SCHOLAR SOLDIER,
THIS IS THE STAR OF THE AMERICAN
MILITARY.
FOR THE FIRST YEAR AFTER IRAQ'S
LIBERATION, HIS WRIT RAN IN
MOSUL, AND HE HAD A NICKNAME,
KING DAVID OF MOSUL.
I NICKNAMED HIM DIFFERENTLY,
MORE APPROPRIATELY BY ARAB AND
IRAQI LINGO, DAVID PASHA OF
MOSUL.
HE RAN MOSUL JUSTLY, HE RAN
MOSUL WELL.
HE THEN GOT A PROMOTION AND WAS
SENT BACK TO IRAQ TO DO THE TASK
OF THIS AMERICAN EXPEDITION NOW
IN IRAQ, TO TRAIN 240,000 IRAQI
SOLDIERS, INTERVENTION FORCE,
BORDER GUARDS, AND THIS IS
REALLY, IF YOU WILL, THE HOPE OF
THIS AMERICAN EXPEDITION, THIS
IS OUR EXIT STRATEGY, IF YOU
WILL, IRAQ.
THERE SHALL BE NO FRENCH OR
GERMAN TROOPS THAT WILL RIDE TO
THE RESCUE.
NO CAVALRY WILL COME TO IRAQ
FROM ANY COUNTRY.
I HAVE NEWS FOR SENATOR KERRY,
CHIRAC WILL NOT COME TO THE
RESCUE AND SCHROEDER WILL NOT
COME TO THE RESCUE.
THE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THIS
COALITION, ARE THE ONLY ONES WE
CAN RELY UPON, AND THESE ARE THE
UNITS, IF YOU WILL, THAT REMAIN
COMMITTED TO THIS PROJECT IN
IRAQ.
SO THE HOPE RESTS, THE HOPE LIES
IN THESE IRAQIS THAT WE ARE
TRAINING.
WILL THEY BE LOYAL TO THEIR
TASK?
CAN WE VET THEM OUT?
WILL THEY FIGHT FOR THEIR
COUNTRY, OR WILL THEY BE SUNNIS
AND SHIAS, AND KURDS AND
TURKOMANS?
THE JURY IS OUT ON THEM.
GENERAL PETRAEUS, IN HIS OWN
WAY, SAYS, “THIS TIME, IT WILL
NOT BE LIKE APRIL.”
YOU WILL RECALL WHAT HAPPENED IN
APRIL.
LAST APRIL, WHEN WE WANTED TO
USE THE IRAQI MILITARY, THEY
EITHER MUTINIED, CHANGED SIDES
OR MELTED AWAY INTO THE
POPULATION.
THIS WILL BE THE TEST OF THIS
AMERICAN ENTERPRISE.
CAN WE SHIFT THE BURDEN ONTO
THIS NEW IRAQI FORCE.
AND WHEN WILL WE LEAVE IRAQ?
AND I TELL YOU SOMETHING, I TALK
TO MANY PEOPLE IN THE
ADMINISTRATION, AND I DON'T
THINK THEY KNOW ANY MORE THAN
THE REST OF US KNOW ABOUT WHEN
CAN WE MAKE OUR EXIT OUT OF
IRAQ?
EVEN SENATOR KERRY SPEAKS OF
FOUR YEARS, AS BEING THE
POSSIBLE TIME HORIZON FOR AN
AMERICAN WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAQ.
SO WE KNOW THAT MILITARY
INTERVENTIONS ARE EASIER ON THE
FRONT END THAN THEY ARE ON THE
BACK END.
AND WE KNOW THERE ARE NO
BRILLIANT OPTIONS IN IRAQ.
SO THE OPTION, THE STRATEGY IS
THIS TRAINING OF THESE IRAQI
FORCES, THAT THE IRAQIS WILL
INHERIT FROM US, THEY WILL TAKE
OVER FROM US THE DEFENSE OF
THEIR OWN COUNTRY.
THE IRAQIS NEED 30,000 TO 40,000
BORDER GUARDS.
IRAQ HAS POROUS BORDERS, WE
KNOW.
IRAQ HAS BORDERS WITH SYRIA, AND
THE SYRIANS ARE MAKING OUR LIFE
EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.
JIHADISTS SLIP ACROSS THE BORDER
FROM SYRIA TO IRAQ, NEST IN THE
SUNNI TRIANGLE, AND NEST IN THIS
NOW FABLED CITY OF FALLUJAH AND
BAKUBA AND BEYOND.
THESE BORDERS WILL NEED TO BE
CONTROLLED.
THERE ARE DIFFICULT BORDERS, AS
WE KNOW, WITH SAUDI ARABIA.
THERE ARE DIFFICULT BORDERS, AS
WE KNOW, WITH IRAN.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF IRAN, IF YOU
WILL, IN THE PLAY FOR IRAQ?
WE CANNOT CONTROL THESE BORDERS
FULLY.
THERE IS NO EASY WAY OF
CONTROLLING THE TRAFFIC OF
PILGRIMS AND MERCHANTS AND
SMUGGLERS, AND APPARATCHIKI AND
TERRORISTS WHO WOULD COME EITHER
FROM SYRIA OR FROM IRAQ.
THERE IS NO WAY THAT A YOUNG
SOLDIER, HE OR SHE, FROM VERMONT
OR INDIANA, COULD TELL THE
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A SYRIAN AND
IRAQI.
BUT OF COURSE IRAQIS COULD TELL
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SYRIANS
AND IRAQIS, AND THEY KNOW THAT
THEIR COUNTRY HAS BECOME A
DEVIL'S PLAYGROUND.
THE DEPOSIT FOR THE REFUSE OF
THE ARAB WORLD.
JUST WHAT AFGHANISTAN WAS A
WHILE AGO, SO IRAQ IS TODAY.
IT'S THE LAND ONTO WHICH ARAB
REGIMES SEND THEIR FAILED AND
RADICAL CHILDREN, EXPORT THEM,
TO KILL AND BE KILLED.
AND SO, OF COURSE, IT'S FOR THE
IRAQIS THEMSELVES, I THINK, TO
SECURE THESE BORDERS AFTER THEY
ARE WELL TRAINED AND AFTER THEY
ARE WELL EQUIPPED, AND I THINK
THIS IS WHAT REALLY IS THE MOST
URGENT TASK IN IRAQ.
AFTER NOVEMBER 15, I THINK THERE
WILL--
NEW POSSIBILITIES WILL
MATERIALISE.
OUR ELECTION WILL BE OVER, AND
EITHER BUSH OR KERRY WILL FACE
SOME REALLY UNPLEASANT OPTIONS.
IT WILL BE DECISION TIME IN
IRAQ.
BECAUSE YOU MUST DESTROY THE
INSURGENTS AND YOU MUST DESTROY
THE JIHADISTS AS A PREPARATION
FOR TAKING A GRACEFUL EXIT OUT
OF IRAQ.
AND THEN, OF COURSE, THERE IS
THE ELECTION THAT IRAQ IS
SUPPOSED TO HOLD AT THE END OF
THE MONTH OF JANUARY.
SO I DON'T KNOW
IF IRAQ WAS TERRIBLY IMPORTANT
AT THE BEGINNING, I DON'T KNOW
WHETHER IRAQ WAS THE REAL
BATTLEGROUND OR EV THE BEST
BATTLEGROUND, BUT IT HAS EMERGED
AS THE BATTLEGROUND.
IN THE KIND OF STEREOTYPE THAT
PEOPLE LIKE TO USE, THIS HAS
BECOME THE CENTRAL FRONT IN THE
WAR ON TERROR.
IT JUST HAPPENED, AND IT HAPPENED
BECAUSE WE ARE THERE.
AND IT HAPPENS BECAUSE WE NOW,
THE AMERICANS, SHARE BORDERS
WITH SYRIA, WE HAVE 135,000
YOUNG, PRINCIPALLY YOUNG MEN AND
WOMEN, AND THEREFORE WE HAVE
BORDERS WITH THE SYRIANS.
WE HAVE BORDERS WITH THE
IRANIANS.
AND AT THE BEGINNING, WE BRAVELY
ANNOUNCED THAT THERE WOULD BE
PHASE 2, AND PEOPLE WERE
WONDERING, WILL THE AMERICANS
TURN LEFT AND SACK DAMASCUS, OR
WILL THEY TURN RIGHT AND SACK
TEHERAN?
WELL, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, I
CAN LET YOU IN ON SOMETHING THAT
IS NOT TERRIBLY SECRET THESE
DAYS.
WE'RE NOT GOING TO GO LEFT AND
WE'RE NOT GOING TO GO RIGHT,
BECAUSE WE'VE DISCOVERED THE
DIFFICULTIES OF IRAQ ITSELF.
SO I THINK A NOBLE EFFORT IS
BEING ATTEMPTED, AND I THINK
THIS GOVERNMENT, WHICH WAS PUT
TOGETHER BY THE AMERICANS AND BY
THE U.N., AND BY THE IRAQIS
THEMSELVES, WHICH HAS THE
FOLLOWING DIVERSITY, IF YOU
WILL, 16 SHIAS, THEY'RE THE
MAJORITY OF THE COUNTRY, 10
SUNNIS, 8 KURDS, 1 TURKOMAN, AND
A FRIEND OF MINE SAID, AND A
PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE, IS
ALSO THROWN INTO THE BARGAIN.
ENORMOUS DIVERSITY, SEVERAL
WOMEN -- SEVERAL WOMEN OCCUPY
POWERFUL POSITIONS IN THIS
INTERIM GOVERNMENT.
SO IS THERE SOMETHING NOBLE
THERE BEING OFFERED THE IRAQIS?
I THINK IT IS BEING OFFERED THE
IRAQIS.
HAS IT BEEN DIFFICULT?
OF COURSE.
HAS IT BEEN COSTLY FOR THE
UNITED STATES AND ITS ALLIES?
I THINK IT HAS BEEN PAINFULLY
OBVIOUS AND I KNOW THE MOTHER, I
AM A FRIEND OF THE MOTHER OF A
YOUNG MARINE WHO LOST HIS LIFE
IN KUT, IN APRIL 2003, AND I
THINK THE PAIN OF THIS WAR IS
BROUGHT HOME TO AMERICANS EVERY
DAY, EVERY DAY.
SO, HAS IRAQ RECEIVED, IF YOU
WILL, A GIFT IN THIS MILITARY
EFFORT?
IN MY OPINION IT HAS, AND THIS
BIG HUGE MANUSCRIPT WHICH I
SPARED YOU, IS CALLED, “THE
FOREIGNER'S GIFT,” THE
AMERICANS, THE ARABS AND THE
IRAQIS IN IRAQ, AND IF I CAN
FIND MY WAY TO IT AND I CAN
LOCATE POEM, I'LL JUST END IT
FOR YOU WITH SOMETHING THAT MOST
IRAQIS AND MOST ARABS, IF YOU
WERE TO ASK THEM, WHAT IS THE
MOST BEAUTIFUL PIECE OF WRITING
THAT AN IRAQI HAS PENNED ABOUT
IRAQ, I THINK MOST OF THEM WILL
SAY, OR A LOT OF THEM WILL SAY,
A POEM WRITTEN IN 1960, BEFORE
THE MASS GRAVES, WHEN WE STILL
KNEW THE NAMES OF THE VICTIMS,
OF PEOPLE WHO FELL TO OFFICIAL
TERROR IN IRAQ.
A POET OF BASRA, A POET OF BASRA
NAMED BEDR SHAKIR SAYYAB, PENNED
THIS POEM CALLED, “A SONG OF
RAIN.”
AND BY THE WAY, YOU SHOULD KNOW
SOMETHING ABOUT THE CULTURAL
LIFE OF IRAQ.
THIS IS A COUNTRY OF ENORMOUS
LITERARY AND ARTISTIC
ACCOMPLISHMENT, AND SUFFICE IT
TO SAY THAT BASRA HAD A STATUE
FOR ITS FAVOURITE SON, THIS
POET, BEDR SHAKIR SAYYAB.
SO, FOUR DECADES AGO, HE WROTE A
POEM WHICH I THINK STILL REMAINS
RELEVANT TODAY, AND I JUST READ
AN EXCERPT FROM IT.
THE TRANSLATION IS NOT MINE.
IT WAS WRITTEN IN ARABIC, AND
APTLY ENOUGH, IT WAS TRANSLATED
BY A SCHOLAR, ISSA BOULLATA FROM
MCGILL UNIVERSITY, FROM CANADA.
AND THESE ARE SOME LINES FROM
IT.
“YOUR EYES COME TO MY FANCY WITH
RAIN, AND ACROSS THE GULF'S
WAVE, LIGHTNING BURNISHES WITH
STARS AND SHELLS, THE COASTS OF
IRAQ, AS IF THEY'RE ABOUT TO
SHINE, BUT NIGHT COVERS THEM
WITH A ROBE OF GORE.
I CRY TO THE GULF, OH GULF, OH
GIVER OF SHELLS AND DEATH, I CAN
ALMOST HEAR IRAQ GATHERING
THUNDER AND STORING UP LIGHTING
IN MOUNTAINS AND PLAINS,
GATHERING THUNDER AND STORING UP
LIGHTING IN MOUNTAINS AND
PLAINS.
EVER SINCE WE WERE YOUNG, THE
SKY WAS CLOUDED IN THE WINTER.
AND RAIN POURED, YET EVERY YEAR,
WHEN THE EARTH BLOOMED, WE
HUNGER.
NOT A SINGLE YEAR PASSED BY IRAQ
HAD HUNGER.
RAIN, RAIN, RAIN.
IN EVERY DROP OF RAIN, THERE IS
A RED OR A YELLOW BUD OF A
FLOWER.
IN THE YOUNG WORLD OF TOMORROW,
GIVER OF LIFE, RAIN, RAIN, RAIN.
IRAQ WILL BLOOM WITH RAIN.”
I READ THIS POEM, AND I TOOK IT
ACTUALLY WITH ME TO THE AMERICAN
COMPOUND.
AND I THOUGHT, EVERY NOW AND
THEN I SOUGHT INSPIRATION IN IT
AS I, FOR SEVERAL NIGHTS, IT'S
VERY IMPORTANT.
YOU KNOW, IT GIVES YOU A SENSE
OF--
THAT YOU REALLY WERE DOING
SOMETHING QUITE DANGEROUS.
FOR SEVERAL NIGHTS, WHEN I WAS
IN BAGHDAD, THERE WAS SHELLING
OF THE GREEN ZONE.
AND IN A WAY, THAT WAS IRAQ,
IT'S THE DUALITY OF IRAQ.
THERE WAS INSURGENCY IN THE
STREET, THERE WAS ABU MUSAB
ZARQAWI, THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS
FROM JORDAN.
HE'S NOT IRAQI BY THE WAY, THIS
YOUNG ZARQAWI BEHEADING PEOPLE,
AND PLAYING MOVIE STAR, AND
STANDING THERE WITH BLACK HOOD
AND MASK, AND HAVING HIS VICTIMS
THERE IN FRONT OF HIM IN ORANGE
JUMP SUITS, AND BEHEADING THEM.
SO, AS YOU PONDER IRAQ, YOU KNOW

Fouad says OF COURSE, THAT
ZARQAWI IS IN THE STREETS, LOOSE
IN THE STREETS OF BAGHDAD, AND
YOU KNOW THAT THERE IS AN
INSURGENCY IN THE STREETS OF
BAGHDAD, AND YOU KNOW ABOUT THE
ROADSIDE BOMBS, AND YOU KNOW
ABOUT THE SUNNI TRIANGLE
REFUSING TO ACCEPT THAT THE ERA
OF SUNNI HEGEMONY IS OVER, AND
THAT THEY COULD ACTUALLY HAVE A
DECENT LIFE IN THE NEW IRAQ
WITHOUT BEING TYRANNICAL MASTERS
OF THIS NEW IRAQ.

Fouad says AND THEN YOU SEE
DECENT IRAQIS, THE SPEAKER OF
THE PARLIAMENT, IT'S PRESIDENT,
IT'S DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER, YOU
SEE A DEFENSE MINISTER WHO IS A
SHIA FROM THE SOUTH, MAKING THE
STAND FOR IRAQ AGAINST IRAN,
WHICH I THOUGHT WAS VERY
IMPORTANT AND VERY POSITIVE,
THAT THE POINT MAN AGAINST THE
IRANIAN ROLE IN IRAQ BE SHIA,
AND BE FROM SOUTHERN IRAQ.
SO I THINK THERE IS A DUALITY OF
IRAQ.
THERE IS GREAT PROMISE, THERE IS
GREAT TRAGEDY, AND I THINK FOR
AMERICA, HOWEVER WAY WE TOOK
THERE, IT DOESN'T REALLY MUCH
MATTER.
WE STAND THERE, AND I THINK OUR
HOPE LIES SO THAT THIS MISSION
NOT BE IN VAIN, IF YOU WILL, IT
LIES IN THE IRAQIS THEMSELVES
STEPPING UP, AND SEIZING
RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN
COUNTRY, CLAIMING IT FOR
THEMSELVES.
AND I KNOW THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO
SAY THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS
IRAQ.
A FRIEND OF MINE BY THE NAME OF
LESLIE GELL, KNOWN TO SOME OF
YOU, HE WAS FORMER PRESIDENT OF
THE COUNCIL ON FOREIGN
RELATIONS, ON WHOSE BOARD I SIT,
AND IS ONE OF MY CLOSEST
FRIENDS, WROTE A PIECE IN THE
NEW YORK TIMES CALLED, “THE
THREE STATE SOLUTION.”
HE SAID THERE WAS NO SUCH THING
AS IRAQ.
IT WAS AN IMPERIAL CONCOCTION.
YOU SHOULD DIVIDE IT INTO A SHIA
PART, A SUNNI PART, A KURDISH
PART AND BE DONE WITH IT.
I'M NOT THERE YET, I'M NOT
THERE.
I REMAIN HOPEFUL, I REMAIN
HOPEFUL THAT THIS AMERICAN
MISSION IN IRAQ, THIS AMERICAN
MISSION, BACKED BY PEOPLE AND
NATIONS THAT CHOOSE TO BE WITH
US -- JAPAN, WHICH STRETCHED
ARTICLE 9 OF ITS CONSTITUTION TO
SEND NONCOMBATANT SOLDIERS TO
IRAQ, ENGLAND, BLESSED ENGLAND,
WHICH CAME WITH US, UKRAINE,
POLAND, ITALY.
WE DIDN'T HAVE EVERYONE ON
BOARD, WE DIDN'T HAVE EVERYONE,
PEOPLE MADE THEIR OWN CALL, THEY
MADE THEIR OWN DECISION, WHETHER
THIS WAS A DISTRACTION, WHETHER
THIS WAS AN IMPERIAL BID,
WHETHER THEY SHOULD SUPPORT, OR
NOT SUPPORT THE UNITED STATES,
SUPPORT, OR NOT SUPPORT THE NEW
IRAQ.
SO I THINK IT JUST HAPPENED.
THIS IS THE TURN IT TOOK, BUT WE
STAND THERE, AND I THINK IF WE
CAN CREATE THIS ARMY, IF WE CAN
TRAIN THESE IRAQIS, IF WE CAN
SHORE UP THIS IRAQI NEW ORDER,
IF IRAQIS COULD HAVE DECENT
ELECTIONS IN JANUARY AND BEGIN
TO SEE THEIR WAY OUT OF THIS
TERRIBLE DARKNESS OF RECENT
IRAQI HISTORY, I THINK OPERATION
IRAQI FREEDOM WILL BE
VINDICATED.
I THINK I HAVE TALKED LONGER
THAN I HAD WANTED TO, BUT THANK
YOU FOR YOUR INDULGENCE, AND I REALLY...

[Applause]

A black slate reads “Question and answer session.”

A man in his late twenties with long black hair says
MY QUESTION IS, I STILL...
I LISTENED TO YOUR WHOLE TALK,
AND YOU TALKED ABOUT THIS ROAD
FROM KABUL TO BAGHDAD, AND HOW
THIS WAS THE LOGICAL PLACE, BUT
I NEVER GOT ANY REASONING FOR
THAT, EXCEPT THAT IT HAPPENED TO
BE IN THE ARAB WORLD.
15 OF THE HIJACKERS WERE FROM
SAUDI ARABIA, AND SAUDI ARABIA
HAS LONG BEEN DOCUMENTED AS, YOU
KNOW, PROVIDING THE FINANCIAL
BACKBONE FOR THIS MOVEMENT, AND
YET YOU KNOW, THERE HAS BEEN
VERY LITTLE IN TERMS OF ANY KIND
OF REPRIMAND, AND WHY IRAQ?
YOU KNOW, IT JUST SEEMED LIKE,
YES IT'S HAPPENED, AND WE'RE
THERE NOW, BUT I'D LIKE TO
UNDERSTAND WHY, BEFORE, YOU
THOUGHT IT WAS JUST.

Fouad says WHAT'S
INTERESTING ABOUT THE WAY THE
LANDSCAPE PRESENTED ITSELF IN
THE AFTERMATH OF SEPTEMBER 11th,
2001, IS THAT IF YOU TAKE A LOOK
AT AL QAEDA, IN TERMS OF
FINANCING, MEMBERSHIP,
LEADERSHIP, IT WAS A JOINT
EGYPTIAN SAUDI ENTERPRISE.
IT WAS A JOINT EGYPTIAN SAUDI
ENTERPRISE.
THE SAUDIS SAY THAT THE EGYPTIANS ARE THE
SENIOR PARTNERS, RIGHT?
THE EGYPTIANS SAY, AH, THERE ARE
A FEW EGYPTIAN MISFITS THERE,
BUT IT'S REALLY A SAUDI
ENTERPRISE, BUT IT CAME TOGETHER
THIS WAY.
AND THE GREAT HISTORIAN BERNARD
LEWIS, CAME UP WITH THIS
TAXONOMY, IF YOU WILL, OF THE
MIDDLE EAST IN THE AFTERMATH OF
SEPTEMBER 11th.
HE SAID THE REGION IS DIVIDED
INTO THREE KINDS OF CATEGORIES.
ONE, PRO AMERICAN REGIMES AND
ANTI-AMERICAN POPULATIONS,
RIGHT?
PRO AMERICAN REGIMES AND ANTI-
AMERICAN POPULATIONS, EGYPT,
SAUDI ARABIA AND JORDAN ARE PRO
AMERICAN REGIMES BUT THEIR
PEOPLE ARE ANTI-AMERICAN.
ANTI AMERICAN REGIMES AND PRO-
AMERICAN POPULATIONS, IRAN AND
IRAQ, WE PICKED IRAQ, WE CAN
ARGUE ABOUT THAT TILL DAWN, IF
YOU WILL.
AND FINALLY, HE SAID, IT'S ALSO,
THE THIRD CATEGORY IS PRO
AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS AND PRO
AMERICAN POPULATIONS, AND HE PUT
TURKEY AND ISRAEL.
WE CAN ALSO ARGUE ABOUT TURKEY.
TURKEY HAS DECIDED TO HAVE
SECOND THOUGHTS, BY THE WAY,
ABOUT AMERICA.
YOU KNOW THAT, THE TURKEY THAT
AMERICAN SECURITY THINKERS AND
POLICY WONKS USED TO LOVE IS GONE.
AND THE MORE TURKEY
EUROPEANISES, THE MORE IT
BECOMES ANTI-AMERICAN.
HOW DID SADDAM GET TO BE SO
LUCKY, OR UNLUCKY?
I THINK YOU ASK A VERY
LEGITIMATE QUESTION.
WE WERE NOT GOING TO GO OUT AND
SACK THE EGYPTIAN AND SAUDI
REGIMES.
AND I LET YOU IN ON JUST A KIND
OF, YOU KNOW--
AT ONE POINT, IN THE WAY THAT
SCHOLARS WHO HAVE SOME ACCESS TO
GOVERNMENT, YOU KNOW, THERE IS
ONE MAGAZINE, AT ONE POINT,
DESCRIBED ME, AND I THOUGHT, IF
THEY THOUGHT I WAS GOING TO BE
SOMEWHAT CHASTENED BY THAT, I
WASN'T, AS “THE PENTAGON'S
FAVOURITE ARAB.”
I THOUGHT I WAS FIGHTING OVER
THAT HONOUR WITH MOHAMMED
SHELABY, MY FRIEND FROM IRAQ.
BUT AT ONE POINT, I DID WRITE
SOMETHING FOR THE BOWELS OF OUR
GOVERNMENT.
IN FACT, POINTING OUT THE
DANGERS OF THE MUBARAK
GOVERNMENT, AND I DID SAY, IF
WE'RE SERIOUS ABOUT DEMOCRACY IN
THE ARAB WORLD, IF WE'RE SERIOUS
THAT WE ARE BRINGING REFORM TO
THE ARAB WORLD, WE HAVE TO
EXAMINE OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH
SAUDI ARABIA.
WE ALSO HAVE TO EXAMINE OUR
RELATIONSHIP WITH THE EGYPTIAN
RULER, WHO IS PREPARING HIS SON
FOR SUCCESSION, WHO IS GETTING
READY, FAILING THAT, TO RUN FOR
I DON'T KNOW, TERM NUMBER FIVE
OR SIX.
HE'S BEEN THERE SINCE 1981.
SO I THINK WE HAVE PROBLEMS WITH
OUR ALLIES, AND PERHAPS FUTURE
HISTORIANS, WHEN THEY ARCHIVE
OUR WAYS, AND THEY ARCHIVE THE
WAYS OF THE PAX AMERICANA IN THE
YEAR 2001 AND 2002 AND 2003, MAY
CONCLUDE THAT, OUT OF
FRUSTRATION WITH THE ARAB WORLD,
OUT OR WASHINGTON'S FRUSTRATION
WITH ITS OWN ALLIES, A DESIRE
WAS FORMED TO HEAD STRAIGHT INTO
ARABIA AND PLUCK THE ONE REGIME
THAT WAS THE MOST VULNERABLE
REGIME, THE MOST ISOLATED.
THERE IS AN ARGUMENT THAT OUT OF
OUR FRUSTRATION WITH THE ARAB
WORLD, WE TOOK OUT SADDAM
HUSSEIN, AND WE THOUGHT WE WOULD
MAKE AN EXAMPLE OF HIM, THAT
THERE WAS A DEMONSTRATION
EFFECT, A DEMONSTRATION EFFECT.
WE HAVE AN ARABIC SAYING, BY THE
WAY--
OF COURSE YOU WILL NOTICE I
SOMETIMES SAY WE FOR AMERICANS
AND WE FOR ARABS, IT'S A NICE
LITTLE KIND OF GAME HERE.
I FEEL VERY DEEPLY BOTH, IN
DIFFERENT WAYS.
BUT WE HAVE AN ARABIC EXPRESSION
THAT SAYS, “I SPEAK TO MY
DAUGHTER-IN-LAW SO MY NEIGHBOUR
COULD HEAR ME.”
YOU KNOW, I TRASH MY DAUGHTER-
IN-LAW HOPING THAT MY NEIGHBOUR
WILL GET THE MESSAGE.
I THINK SADDAM, HE JUST BECAME
OUR DAUGHTER-IN-LAW.
WE JUST TOOK HIM OUT IN ORDER TO
SAY TO REGIMES IN THE ARAB
WORLD, A PRICE IS PAID BY THOSE
WHO TRAFFIC WITH RADICALISM AND
RUIN.
NOW DID KADDAFI GET THE
MESSAGE?
DID MUAMMAR KADDAFI GET THE
MESSAGE?
DID HE WATCH THE FLUSHING OUT OF
THE SPIDER HOLE OF SADDAM
HUSSEIN, THE HERO OF ARABISM,
COME OUT OF A SPIDER HOLE AS THE
MAN WHO CAPTURED HIM, SOMEONE I
WAS HONOURED TO MEET AND SPENT
TIME IN HIS COMMAND, MAJOR
GENERAL RAYMOND ODIRNO SAID, “HE
SURRENDERED LIKE A RAT.”
NOW DID THAT MAKE AN IMPRESSION
ON KADDAFI?
YOU BET.
WAS HE WILLING TO TURN IN HIS
“NUCLEAR MATERIALS?”
SURE.
DID HE HAVE SOME?
I DON'T KNOW, MAYBE HE JUST
SAID, “HEY, GET ME SOME NUCLEAR
MATERIALS SO I CAN TURN THEM IN.”
[Audience laughter]
YOU KNOW, MAYBE HE SAID, “BLAIR
AND BUSH NEED TO SHOW DIVIDENDS
OF THEIR VICTORY IN IRAQ.
GIVE ME SOME--.”
HE MUST HAVE, YOU KNOW, CALLED
A.Q. KHAN IN PAKISTAN AND SAID,
“I NEED SOME NUCLEAR MATERIAL SO
I CAN PLEA BARGAIN MY WAY OUT OF
TROUBLE.”
I THINK IT WAS A
VERY DIFFICULT ARAB WORLD, IT
WAS A VERY DIFFICULT ARAB WORLD.
AND I THINK THE FACTS OF THE
ARAB WORLD ARE KNOWN TO US, AND
I THINK THAT SADDAM HUSSEIN WAS
THIS ONE CONVENIENT TARGET THAT
WE PICKED.
NOW, WAS IT WISE, COULD WE HAVE DONE IT
DIFFERENTLY?
WELL OF COURSE WE COULD HAVE
DONE IT DIFFERENTLY.
AND WHAT ABOUT OUR ATTEMPT, IF
YOU WILL, TO GET ACCESS TO OTHER
ARAB COUNTRIES?
I DON'T THINK WE'VE HAD AN EASY
TIME OF IT.
I'LL GIVE YOU ONE MINOR EXAMPLE,
AND I'LL MOVE ON.
I THOUGHT IT WAS A MISTAKE FOR
PRESIDENT BUSH TO MEET HOSNI
MUBARAK IN THE RANCH -- AT THE
RANCH IN CRAWFORD, TEXAS.
I THOUGHT THE RANCH SHOULD BE
RESERVED FOR GOOD FRIENDS,
SPECIAL FRIENDS, THAT THERE IS
NO POINT IN BEING PALS WITH THE
EGYPTIAN DICTATOR, THERE IS NO
POINT IN THAT.
BUT THAT WAS NOT THE CALL THAT
THE ADMINISTRATION MADE.
SO IRAQ BECAME THIS ONE
CONVENIENT ARAB TARGET, YOU'RE
ABSOLUTELY RIGHT.

A woman in her fifties says
I JUST AM SOMEWHAT
SHOCKED THAT SUCH A GREAT
INTELLECTUAL AS YOURSELF SEEMS
TO SAY THE USE OF FORCE IS THE
WAY TO GO, YOU KNOW?
I REALLY CAN'T UNDERSTAND THAT,
AS A PERSON WHO FEELS VERY
STRONGLY IN DEBATE, AS MANY
CANADIANS DO, WE BELIEVE IN
DEBATING AND DEBATING, WHETHER
THAT'S SITTING AT THE U.N. FOR
10 YEARS IF IT TAKES, RATHER
THAN ONE, FRANKLY, YAHOO, SAYS,
“I'M GOING IN AND I'M GOING TO
TAKE THESE PEOPLE OUT AND MAKE A
POINT OF IT.”
SO I DON'T UNDERSTAND, AS AN
INTELLECTUAL, HOW YOU CAN
JUSTIFY THAT.

Fouad says WELL, I FEEL GUILTY.
I MEAN I HAPPEN TO JUST BELIEVE
THAT THIS PAX AMERICANA IF YOU
WILL, THERE IS AN AMERICAN
BURDEN, THERE IS AN AMERICAN BURDEN.
IT'S NOT A CANADIAN BURDEN, IT'S
NOT A FRENCH BURDEN, IT'S NOT A
GERMAN BURDEN, IT'S NOT A
JAPANESE BURDEN, IT IS AN
AMERICAN BURDEN.
WE PROVIDE THE SECURITY IN THE
PERSIAN GULF, WE PROVIDE--
THIS PAX AMERICANA UNDERPINS,
UNDERPINS, THE PEACE AND THE
COMMERCE OF THE WORLD.
SO OBVIOUSLY OUR ATTITUDE--
WE HAVE A DIFFERENT ATTITUDE
TOWARD FORCE.
IT DIFFERS FROM THE CANADIAN
APPROACH, IT DIFFERS OF COURSE
FROM THE EUROPEAN APPROACH.
ROBERT KEEGAN, A COMMENTATOR ON
A FAMOUS PIECE ON THE DIFFERENCE
IN, YOU KNOW, I THINK IT'S
CALLED, AMERICANS ARE FROM MARS,
EUROPEANS ARE FROM VENUS, RIGHT?
AND HE MAKES THE POINT, HE SAID,
YOU KNOW, WE ARE DIFFERENT THAN
THE EUROPEANS, WE'RE THE
SHERIFF, AND THE EUROPEANS ARE
THE SALOON KEEPER.
AND THE OUTLAW DEALS WITH THE
SHERIFF VERY DIFFERENTLY THAN HE
DEALS WITH THE SALOON KEEPER.
SOMETIMES FORCE IS JUSTIFIED IN
THE WORLD, AND THE U.N., PEOPLE
HAVE FAITH IN THE U.N., AND
ABOUT THE U.N. SOMEONE COULD ASK
THE FAMOUS QUESTION, THAT STALIN
ONCE ASKED ABOUT THE POPE, AND
THAT'S, HOW MANY DIVISIONS DOES
KOFFI ANNAN HAVE?
NOT MANY, NOT MANY, AND WE HAD
THIS BURDEN, WE HAD THIS TRAUMA.
I LIVE IN NEW YORK, WE HAD THE
TRAUMA OF SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001,
WHICH JUSTIFIED THE USE OF FORCE
IN THE LANDS OF THE ARAB AND
ISLAMIC WORLD.
THAT'S, YOU KNOW, IT'S WHERE
PEOPLE DIFFER.

A man in his early thirties says
ONE GETS THE FEELING
THAT IRAQ WOULD HAVE NEVER BEEN
INVADED IF THERE WASN'T ANY OIL
THERE.
I'M JUST WONDERING, WITH YOUR
CONTACTS IN THE ADMINISTRATION,
DID YOU GET A FEELING THAT THAT
WAS, IF NOT THE OVERRIDING
FACTOR, CERTAINLY A KEY FACTOR,
AND THAT, IF THERE WASN'T ANY
OIL, THEY WOULDN'T HAVE GONE IN.

Fouad says WELL, WAS THIS A
WAR FOR OIL, IF YOU WILL, THIS
IS THE HEART OF THE QUESTION.
I REMEMBER, AS SOMEONE WHO WAS
BORN IN LEBANON, I REMEMBER IN
1990-91, MANY LEBANESE SAID,
“WHY DID AMERICA COME TO THE
RESCUE OF KUWAIT, BUT THEY DID
NOT RESCUE LEBANON?
IS IT ABOUT THE THREE-LETTER
WORD, OIL?”
AND IN A KIND OF MOMENT OF
HUMOUR, I SAID, WELL, LEBANON
HAS CEDARS, AND KUWAIT HAS OIL,
AND WE'RE NOT GOING TO GO TO WAR
FOR CEDARS, RIGHT?
WELL IT'S NOT REALLY ABOUT OIL.
IN A SENSE, AGAIN IT'S ONE OF
THESE THEOLOGICAL ARGUMENTS.
THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO GENUINELY
BELIEVE THAT IT'S ABOUT OIL.
IT'S NOT ABOUT OIL, BUT OIL IS A
FACTOR IN THE SENSE, WE
SHOULDN'T BE EMBARRASSED TO SAY,
THIS IS A STRATEGIC PART OF THE
WORLD, THAT IRAQ IS IN A VITAL
REGION OF THE WORLD, THAT THE
COMMERCE OF THE WORLD DEPENDS
AND THE PRODUCTION AND THE
PROSPERITY OF THE WORLD DEPENDS,
IN THIS AGE, ON OIL, AND THAT I
THINK OIL ENTERS INTO THE
CALCULATION.
BUT WAS THIS ABOUT OIL?
WHOEVER RAN IRAQ, WHATEVER
REGIME RUNS IRAQ, THE SAME IS
TRUE OF IRAN, THE SAME IS TRUE
OF ALL THE OIL PRODUCING
COUNTRIES.
THEY ALL FIND THEIR WAY TO THE
MARKET.
THEY ALL FIND THEIR WAY TO THE
MARKET.
WE DIDN'T NEED TO GO TO IRAQ IN
ORDER TO SECURE SOME REASONABLE
ACCESS TO IRAQI OIL.
IRAQI OIL WOULD BE AVAILABLE IN
THE MARKET.
LIKEWISE SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE
THAT THIS WAR WAS, AND I'LL
QUOTE--
I'LL QUOTE SOMEONE AND YOU'LL
KNOW WHO IT IS RIGHT AWAY.
SADDAM HUSSEIN, HE TRIED, “TO
KILL MY DAD.”
WAS THIS IT?
WAS THIS ABOUT FILIAL REVENGE,
IF YOU WILL?
I DON'T REALLY THINK SO.
I THINK IT WAS ABOUT A
COMBINATION OF FACTORS.
OIL WAS ONE, WEAPONS OF MASS
DESTRUCTION, WHEN THE HEAD OF
THE CIA SAYS TO YOU, “SLAM DUNK,
HE'S GOT WEAPONS OF MASS
DESTRUCTION.”
AND I THINK SEPTEMBER 11th, 2001 WAS A FACTOR.
WOULD WE HAVE GONE TO WAR HAD IT
NOT BEEN FOR SEPTEMBER 11th,
2001, YOU KNOW, I KNOW QUITE A
NUMBER OF THE PLAYERS IN THE
ADMINISTRATION.
I'VE NEVER MET
THE PRESIDENT, I'VE NEVER HAD
THE HONOUR.
BUT I'VE MET THE VICE PRESIDENT,
THEY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, I'VE
WORKED VERY CLOSELY WITH THE
DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, WHO
WAS MY BOSS AND MY DEAN, PAUL
WOLFOWITZ, AT JOHNS HOPKINS FOR
7 and a half YEARS.
I THINK THERE WERE MANY REASONS
FOR THIS WAR.
THERE WERE ALSO REASONS OF THE
REFORM OF THE ARAB WORLD,
BELIEVE IT OR NOT, TAKE IT
SERIOUSLY, THAT WE WOULD GO TO
IRAQ, WE WOULD MAKE AN EXAMPLE
OF RADICALISM, WE WOULD HELP THE
IRAQIS BUILD A BETTER COUNTRY
AND THIS COUNTRY WOULD BE AN
EXAMPLE TO OTHER ARABS.
MAYBE IT WAS OVERSTATED, MAYBE
IT WAS UNDULY OPTIMISTIC,
PERHAPS A BIT NAIVE IN THE WAY
THAT LIBERALISM IS NAIVE ABOUT
THE WORLD.
I THINK THERE ARE MANY REASONS.

A woman in her early thirties says
AS I'M SURE YOU KNOW,
THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT CHOSE
NOT TO SEND THE ARMED FORCES OF
CANADA INTO IRAQ, CHIEFLY NOT
BECAUSE THEY OBJECTED IN ANY WAY
TO THE REMOVAL OF SADDAM
HUSSEIN.
THAT CLEARLY HAS BEEN AN IMMENSE
BENEFIT TO THE MIDDLE EAST AND
TO IRAQIS IN PARTICULAR, BUT
BECAUSE THEY WERE CONCERNED THAT
THE METHOD OF PROCEEDING WAS NOT
CONSISTENT WITH INTERNATIONAL
LAW, AND WHILE YOU'VE ALREADY
ADDRESSED THIS IN PART, I WAS
WONDERING IF YOU COULD COMMENT
ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THAT
DECISION BY THE UNITED STATES,
TO ACT IN A MANNER THAT HAS, TO
MANY COUNTRIES THAT HAVE
TRADITIONALLY BEEN VERY
SUPPORTIVE OF THE U.S., BEEN
DEEMED TO BE NOT IN KEEPING WITH
ACCEPTED NORMS OF INTERNATIONAL LAW.

Fouad says SURE.
I MEAN I THINK WE HAVE TO TAKE
JUST A KIND OF SIDE GLANCE IF
YOU WILL AT ANTI-AMERICANISM.
NOW JEAN-FRANCOIS LAVELLE CALLS
ANTI-AMERICANISM, I THINK IT'S A
NICE LITTLE TURN OF PHRASE, “A
WEAPON OF MASS DISTRACTION,”
A WEAPON OF MASS DISTRACTION.
THERE IS ANTI-AMERICANISM IN THE
WORLD, AND IT WASN'T WORKED UP,
BY THE WAY, BY GEORGE BUSH.
A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY, AH, FRANCE
BECAME ANTI-AMERICAN BECAUSE
THEY DON'T LIKE THIS COWBOY
STYLE OF GEORGE BUSH.
YOU KNOW WHAT?
AMERICAN WAS UNPOPULAR IN FRANCE
DURING THE 90s, DURING THE AGE
OF GLOBALIZATION.
THEY WERE CONCERNED ABOUT
[word in Arabic]
THAT WE WERE
DESTROYING THEIR WONDERFUL
CUISINE, AND MAKING THEIR
CHILDREN -- FORCING THEIR
CHILDREN TO EAT McDONALD'S.
WE WERE BUYING THEIR COMPANIES
AND SO ON AND SO ON.
SO, YOU KNOW, THERE WAS THIS
ANTI-AMERICANISM.
AND I THINK, I DON'T THINK IT
WAS ABOUT INTERNATIONAL LAW,
BECAUSE PEOPLE WHO PROSECUTED
THE WAR, WOULD TELL YOU THAT
THEY HAD SO MANY COUNTLESS
UNITED NATIONS RESOLUTIONS, AND
PRIME MINISTER BLAIR AND
PRESIDENT BUSH, AND THE ITALIAN
PRIME MINISTER, ETC., THE PEOPLE
WHO CHOSE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE
WAR, BELIEVE THAT THEY HAD THE
RELEVANT UNITED NATIONS
RESOLUTIONS.
NOW, I PERSONALLY, I DON'T
REALLY GET INTO THE U.N.
RESOLUTIONS AND INTERNATIONAL
LAW ALL THAT MUCH.
I THINK IT WAS, WE WERE GOING TO
GO TO WAR, PEOPLE WERE GOING TO
MAKE THEIR CHOICES.
DEMOCRATIC GOVERNMENTS MAKE
THEIR CHOICES.
I THINK--
I DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT CANADIAN
POLITICS, I THINK YOU JUST
HAPPENED TO HAVE A PARTICULAR
PRIME MINISTER AT THE TIME, WHO
ALSO DIDN'T BELIEVE--
HE DIDN'T LIKE OUR PRESIDENT, HE
DIDN'T BELIEVE THAT THIS WOULD
BE A JUST WAR, OR A CORRECT
THING TO DO.
AND THIS WAS THE CALL THAT WAS
MADE HERE.
OTHER NATIONS MADE DIFFERENT
CALLS.
AND I DON'T THINK INTERNATIONAL
LAW WAS THE ISSUE.
BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY, THE PEOPLE
WHO CHOSE TO TAKE PART OPERATION
IRAQI FREEDOM BELIEVED THAT THEY
SHOULD DO IT, AND THERE WAS
ENOUGH LEGALISM, IF YOU WILL, IN
THIS U.N. RESOLUTION, THAT SADDAM
HAD VIOLATED TO PROSECUTE THIS
WAR.
WE COULDN'T HAVE WAITED FOREVER,
WE COULDN'T HAVE WAITED FOREVER.
AND BY THE WAY, I MEAN, I
PERSONALLY, NOT THAT IT MATTERS
CONSIDERABLY WHAT SOMEONE WHO
WRITES, THE PUNDITS, THE
CHATTERING CLASSES ARE LESS
IMPORTANT THAN THEY THINK.
MY VIEW OF THE MATTER WAS, LOOK,
MY COUNTRY, MY ADOPTED COUNTRY,
MY ONLY COUNTRY, WHOSE
CITIZENSHIP I CARRY, IS GOING TO
WAR.
I ACCEPT, THIS IS THE WAY THE
DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM IN OUR COUNTRY
DECIDED THAT MATTER.
NOW I KNOW, I KNOW, HAD FLORIDA
TURNED OUT DIFFERENTLY IN THE
YEAR 2000, IT'S AN INTERESTING
IRONY OF HISTORY, THE WHAT IFs
OF HISTORY.
WHAT IF GORE WAS PRESIDENT?
WOULD HE HAVE PROSECUTED THE WAR
IN IRAQ?
I SUSPECT NOT.
WOULD HE HAVE PROSECUTED THE WAR
IN AFGHANISTAN?
IS SUSPECT YES, THE COUNTRY
WOULD HAVE FORCED HIM.
AND THEN HE WOULD HAVE STUCK TO
HIS KNITTING AND STUCK TO THE
WAR ON TERROR.
PRESIDENT BUSH MADE A DIFFERENT
DECISION, AND I THINK IF YOU
REALLY ARE LOOKING AT IT THROUGH
THE EYES, IS THIS A GIFT TO THE
IRAQIS, A BOON TO THE IRAQIS,
DOES IT GIVE THEM SOMETHING
DECENT?
I THINK SO, AND I THINK THE
PEOPLE WHO CARPED ABOUT THE WAR,
OR THOUGHT IT WAS NOT THE RIGHT
WAR, IT'S TOO LATE NOW.
THE MOST IMPORTANT THING NOW IS
TO TAKE PART IN ENABLING THE
IRAQIS TO BUILD A BETTER LIFE.
I DON'T THINK WE CAN GO BACK AND
REHASH THE JUSTICE OF THE WAR.
DONE DEAL, DONE DEAL.
EVEN JACQUES CHIRAC NOW -- GUESS
WHAT?
HE NOW ACCEPTED THAT NATO WILL
HAVE TO PLAY SOME ROLE IN THE
TRAINING OF IRAQIS.
HE STEPPED ASIDE.
HE STEPPED ASIDE, BECAUSE I
THINK HE NOW UNDERSTANDS THAT HE
NO LONGER FACES GEORGE W. BUSH,
HE FACES ILAD ALLAWI, AND BADHAM
SALWEH AND RAZI AWAL, AND IF HE
DOESN'T GET ON WITH THE PROGRAM,
THEY WILL REMEMBER WHAT HE DID.
AND THEY'VE TOLD THE GERMANS AND
THE FRENCH THAT IT'S NO LONGER
ABOUT THE UNITED STATES.
THERE IS NOW A SOVEREIGN IRAQI
GOVERNMENT, AND THE SOVEREIGN
IRAQI GOVERNMENT WILL REMEMBER
WHAT NATIONS DID OR DIDN'T DO,
WHEN THE TIME COMES FOR THE
AWARDING OF CONTRACTS, FOR OIL
DEALS AND THE LIKE.
SO I THINK IT'S TOO LATE.
I THINK WE CANNOT DWELL--
WE CAN'T CONTINUE TO DWELL ON
THE REASONS AND THE
JUSTIFICATION OF THE WAR.
IT'S TOO LATE, IT'S TOO LATE.
WE ARE DEEP INTO THE WAR, AND A
DECENT GROUP OF IRAQIS, THE
POLITICAL CENTRE, AS I TOLD YOU,
MADE OF SUNNIS, SHIAS AND KURDS,
ARE TRYING THEIR BEST TO BRING
ORDER TO IRAQ.
AND I THINK
EXCESSIVE MORALISING ABOUT THE
JUSTICE OR THE INJUSTICE OF THE
WAR IS AN ALIBI FOR LEAVING THE
AMERICANS AND THE IRAQIS WITH
THE BURDEN OF THIS WAR.
AND I THINK IT'S ABOUT IRAQIS NOW.
IT'S NO LONGER ABOUT THE PAX
AMERICANA.
DO WE BELIEVE IN THE RIGHT OF
THE IRAQIS TO HAVE A DECENT
LIFE?
DO WE BELIEVE IN THE RIGHT TO
LIVE WITHOUT THAT TERRIBLE
DESPOT?
DO WE BELIEVE THEY'RE BETTER OFF
WITH SHEIK GHAZI YAWWER, OR THAN
THEY WERE UNDER SADDAM HUSSEIN.
FOR ME, EASY CALL.
I MET SHEIK GHAZI YAWWER, I KNOW
SHEIK GHAZI YAWWER NOW.
I TRUST HIM, I HAVE DEEP
AFFECTION FOR HIM.
IRAQ HAS A CHANCE.
NOW HOW IT GOT THAT CHANCE IS A
TANGLED ROOT, BUT WE HAVE
ARRIVED THERE.

A man in his forties says
PERHAPS THERE ARE TWO
THINGS I'D BE INTERESTED ON YOU
COMMENTING ON, AND ACTUALLY IN
PARTICULAR, PERHAPS USING YOUR
EXPERTISE ON LEBANON, AS PERHAPS
A CASE STUDY.
THE TWO THINGS, REALLY, THAT
NEED TO HAPPEN, ARE, OR THE TWO
CHALLENGES PERHAPS, THAT IRAQ
FACES, IS NUMBER ONE, TO BUILD
APPROPRIATE POLITICAL
INSTITUTIONS, NOW YOU TALKED
ABOUT THERE BEING DEMOCRATICALLY
MINDED INDIVIDUALS IN IRAQ, AND
I'M ABSOLUTELY SURE THAT'S THE
CASE, BUT INDIVIDUALS DON'T MAKE
A POLITICAL SYSTEM, SO ON TOP OF
THAT YOU'VE HAD MANY YEARS OF
DICTATORSHIP, WHICH HAVE
CULTIVATED ETHNIC AND RELIGIOUS
FORMS OF INSTITUTIONS, AND WE'RE
REALLY LEFT WITH VERY FEW, WHAT
WE MIGHT CALL MODERN SECULAR
INSTITUTIONS.
AND THE SECOND CHALLENGE IS
CREATING A UNIFIED IRAQI STATE.

Fouad says THAT'S A VERY--
I MEAN OBVIOUSLY WITH THE
ROADSIDE BOMBS AND WITH THE
INSURGENCY RAGING IN IRAQ, THESE
QUESTIONS HAVE TAKEN A KIND OF A
BACKSEAT, BUT THEY WILL COME TO
THE FORE, THEY WILL COME TO THE
FORE, AND LET ME QUOTE YOU A MAN
I MET IN IRAQ, WHO WAS WORKING
AS THE HEAD OF THE AGENCY OF
INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT.
AND HE BASICALLY SAID, LOOK, IF
THIS WAR ISN'T JUST ABOUT
STABILITY, IT SHOULD ALSO BE
ABOUT DEMOCRACY.
IT SHOULD BE ABOUT A TOLERABLE
DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM IN IRAQ.
SO WE DIDN'T GO TO WAR IN IRAQ
IN ORDER TO HAND POWER TO IYAD
ALLAWI, AND HAVE A STRONG MAN
THERE.
WE DIDN'T DO IT FOR THAT REASON,
AND YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT,
THIS IS A SOCIETY WITHOUT STRONG
INSTITUTIONS, THERE ARE PEOPLE
IN IRAQ WHO WILL COME AND TELL
YOU, TWO PEOPLE HAVE GOVERNED
IRAQ WELL, THEY WILL ALARM YOU
WITH THIS.
YOU WILL SAY, WHO ARE THESE TWO
PEOPLE?
THEY SAY WELL OF COURSE SADDAM
HUSSEIN, HE KNEW HOW TO GOVERN
IRAQ.
AND THEN YOU SAY WHO WAS THE
SECOND, THE OTHER PERSON.
WELL THE OTHER PERSON, THEY
RANGE FAR AND BACK IN HISTORY, A
MAN NAMED HIJAJ BIN YUSEF, WHO
WAS THIS OMAYYAD GOVERNOR WHO WAS
SENT TO IRAQ IN THE LAST YEARS
OF THE 7th CENTURY AND BROUGHT
TO IRAQ A REIGN OF TERROR.
SO THERE IS A VIEW OF IRAQ THAT
ONLY STRONG MEN CAN RULE IRAQ.
THIS YOU HAVE TO BREAK WITH THE
TRADITION.
NOW YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, THE
LEBANESE MODEL IS NOT SUCH A BAD
MODEL.
I MEAN I LIKE THE LEBANESE
MODEL, AND IN FACT IRAQ HAS
FALLEN BACK WITHOUT ARTICULATING
IT, ON ELEMENTS OF THE OLD
LEBANESE MODEL, OLD LEBANESE
MODEL, THE CONFESSIONAL SYSTEM
WHERE YOU APPORTION POWER BY
SECTS.
IT'S NOT PERFECT, BUT IT'S NOT
BAD.
LIKE, THIS BUSINESS OF 16 SHIAS,
AND 10 SUNNIS AND 6 KURDS AND
ONE CHRISTIAN AND 1 TURKOMAN.
I MEAN THAT'S EXACTLY THE WAY
OLD LEBANON WAS.
THE PRESIDENT WAS A MARONITE,
THE SPEAKER OF PARLIAMENT WAS A
SHIA, THE PRIME MINISTER WAS A
SUNNI, AND THIS I ALSO LIKE,
THAT THERE WAS ANOTHER MARONITE
POST IN LEBANON, I GIVE IT
USUALLY AS A POP QUIZ TO MY
STUDENTS, AND THEY CAN NEVER
GUESS WHAT IT IS.
THE HEAD OF THE CENSUS BUREAU,
BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO COUNT.
AS THEY SAY, WHO COUNTS?
IT DEPENDS WHO DOES THE
COUNTING.
SO, IN FACT, IRAQ MAY HAVE TO,
IN A KIND OF TRANSITIONAL WORLD,
IT MUST BE COGNIZANT OF THIS
TRIPOD SYSTEM.
THE KURDS WILL HAVE TO BE
BROUGHT INTO THE LIFE OF IRAQ.
WHEN I WAS IN KURDISTAN, THE
KURDS WANTED ME TO SEE, AND TOOK
ME TO SEE HALEBJAH, THE TOWN
THAT SUFFERED THE HORRIFIC
ATTACKS AT THE HANDS OF SADDAM
HUSSEIN, TO THE SILENCE AND
INDIFFERENCE OF THE ARAB WORLD
AT THE TIME, IN 1988, 5,000
KURDS WERE KILLED ON MARCH 16,
1988.
SO MAY KURDS WILL SAY, BEFORE WE
COME TO IRAQ, BEFORE WE ACCEPT
THE UNITY OF IRAQ, IT MUST BE A
FEDERAL IRAQ.
AND I THINK THE KURDS ARE THE
DEMOCRATIC YEAST OF IRAQ.
THEY HAVE GOVERNED THEMSELVES
WELL FOR THE LAST DOZEN YEARS OR
SO, AND I THINK THEY BRING THIS
EXPERIENCE WITH AUTONOMY AND
SELF RULE INTO THIS NEW SYSTEM.
SO ALL AND ALL, THESE ARE THE
PIECES OF IRAQ, THE KURDS, THE
SHIAS, THE SUNNIS, AND YOU ARE
RIGHT, THEY ARE VERY WEAK
INSTITUTIONS, BUT YOU KNOW, TAKE
HEART.
THIS NATIONAL CONFERENCE, THE
EQUIVALENT OF THEIR PARLIAMENT,
BROUGHT TOGETHER A WIDE VARIETY
OF THE IRAQI PEOPLE, AND TAKE
HEART THAT IF SOMEONE, THAT
LET'S SAY ALLAWI HAS THE
TEMPTATIONS TO BE A STRONGMAN.
THE COUNTRY WILL REJECT THAT
FULLY.
THE COUNTRY WILL SAY, WE DID NOT
SUFFER 35 YEARS OF SADDAM TO END
WITH ANOTHER STRONGMAN.
SO BY AND LARGE,
I THINK THE SUFFERING OF THE
IRAQIS UNDER SADDAM, AND THE
VERY DISBURSED NATURE OF POWER,
LIKE WHO IS THE MOST POWERFUL
PERSON IN IRAQ TODAY.
I DON'T KNOW, IS IT ALLAWI?
COULD BE.
IS IT GRAND AYATOLLAH SISTANI?
COULD BE.
IS IT MASSOUD BARZANI AND JILAL
TALBANI IN KURDISTAN?
COULD BE AS WELL, SO THERE IS
LEGITIMATE AMOUNT OF PLURALISM
IN IRAQ, AND I THINK THIS COULD
BE THE SALVATION OF THIS NEW
IRAQI EXPERIMENT.
ANYWAY, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR YOUR TIME.

[Long applause]

Watch: Fouad Ajami on Iraq and the Struggle for the Arab World