Clearly, many of the monarchies and dictatorships surrounding Iraq are already in perilous condition. Revolution and anarchy in Iraq will feed already-powerful internal opposition groups in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Egypt. Turkey, terrified of a nationalist alliance between Turkish and Iraqi Kurds, could move in.
"[S]uch a war would render the Middle East more repressive and unstable than it is today," said Shibley Telhami, a Brookings Institute senior fellow, in an Oct. 7 op-ed piece. "Democracy cannot be imposed through military force, even if force is used successfully to oust antidemocratic dictators. . . . [M]ost Arabs and Muslims will see in the war American imperialism."
In his Oct. 2 testimony before Congress, Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O'Hanlon said Iraqi postwar chaos would swallow vast numbers of U.S. troops. "A large stability mission led by the United States would be needed, with the overall force most likely requiring up to 100,000 personnel, if not twice that number, at least at first," he said. "This would not be a short-term commitment."
O'Hanlon's figures far outstrip the optimistic Heritage Foundation prediction and actually approach Vietnam commitments made back in the mid-1960s. That's a scenario that worries even former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
"I am viscerally opposed to a prolonged occupation of a Muslim country at the heart of the Muslim world by Western nations who proclaim the right to re-educate that country," said Kissinger in response to the Oct. 11 New York Times story on U.S. military occupation plans.
When the butcher of the Nixon and Ford administrations—the man who orchestrated the secret bombing of Cambodia and gave the nod to the 1973 Chilean coup and the 1975 Indonesian massacre of East Timorese—counsels peace, it's worth listening.