Blogs > Cliopatria > Decapitation of Iraqi Civil Society Continues

May 1, 2004 2:10 am


Decapitation of Iraqi Civil Society Continues



Three months ago, I wrote about this happening: Iraqi intellectuals and experts being killed or intimidated. It's still going on, though the scale may not be what was originally reported. Which means that we have made little or no progress in creating order or security and that we're going to be handing Iraq back to a society whose best-educated and most productive professionals have been systematically killed or driven away or intimidated into silence. I don't know what the solution is. I do know that we should have done something about it in the interim, and we haven't.

Thanks to Anne Zook for the reference, and check out her elegant defense of rational secular epistemology in response to our Pasadena Cliopatriarch. She's evenhanded, and passionate, and as a fellow enraged moderate and professional agnostic, I heartily approve. It applies pretty well to his article below, as does Brian Ulrich's citation [Thanks, Ralph] from the late, great Edward Gibbon, who argued that while religions may speak the truth, the truth so rarely succeeds in this world that more human explanations are necessary.

Non Sequitor: NYTimes cites historian Peter Stearns in critique of anti-fat fad.


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Name Removed at Poster's Request - 5/3/2004

Speaking of the Vietnam war, we assassinated Vietnamese villagers, too, most notoriously through the Phoenix Program. I don't know if we were aiming for intellectual decapitation or solely used other criteria.


Name Removed at Poster's Request - 5/3/2004

I think it may be an old technique. The first thing the Nazis did in Poland was exterminate Polish intellectuals, if my historical memory is correct. The Soviets also helped with the Katyn Forest massacre, which if memory serves killed officers of the capitalist Polish government in exile's Armie Krajowa, many to most of whom were educated professionals.


Oscar Chamberlain - 5/3/2004

By all accounts a similar strategy by the NVA and Viet Cong in South Vietnam was effective. They targeted the most competent anti-communist village leaders for assassination.


Jonathan Dresner - 5/3/2004

Yeah, and like most techniques of warfare, declared and otherwise, if it works it'll be copied elsewhere. Another really good reason to figure out who's doing it and shut them down, hard.


Name Removed at Poster's Request - 5/3/2004

Jonathan,
Thanks for posting on the decapitation of Iraqi society. The intimidation and killing of Iraqi intellectuals seems to be going on quietly but steadily. It deserves notice.

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