Tuesday, August 14

Robert Young Pelton, tracking the laughing skull all over the globe

"Hi Pundita,
Thanks for your kind words. Eason Jordan and I are equal partners and owners of Iraq Slogger and we are very proud of building the best 24/7 news source from Iraq.
Robert Young Pelton"

Dear Robert:
Iraq Slogger saves me tons of time, and often the site's coverage of Iraq press puts the reader a day or more ahead of news reports in the Western media. So I sure hope the site continues to be a free resource; it's invaluable for anyone following the situation in Iraq.

Yet the site must be expensive to keep up, so Pundita is happy to give a plug to what I read about Praedict's planned subscription service. I imagine the service will be a boon to anyone wanting to do business in Iraq.

I do have a request, which is that Iraq Slogger carry more of their "Life Goes On" features. I like the reports because they give hope of progress in Iraq.

Even rescue dogs get terribly depressed, if they find nothing but dead bodies in the rubble of an earthquake. So their handlers surreptitiously hide live people in the rubble for the dogs to find, as a means to help the dogs keep their spirits up during the search.

I think humans have at least as much need as dogs for signs of encouragement while investing blood and treasure in a project.

The antiwar crowd treats as a demon anyone who says anything remotely positive about the situation in Iraq. Yet Iraq stands for much else besides conflict. Iraq is all our tomorrows; it represents every problem in the developing world that developed nations put off grappling with during the 20th Century.

At the bottom of the pit is reliance on tribalism and clans as a form of government in an era of megapopulations. The numbers I quote are somewhat arbitrary but once the population gets up past 4,000, tribal government cannot work; past 40,000 the clan system of government collapses.

Then the options are very limited for those who can't do modern government. They invariably fall back on some form of mass murder to cut down the population, and keep the rest in control through a reign of terror. In one sentence, that's what we didn't deal with in the 20th Century. And that's what was going on Iraq by the time the Coalition arrived.

So it's grossly inaccurate to talk about Iraq in terms of reconstruction, in the manner of reconstructing bombed out Europe after World War II. My God, we're trying to build a functioning megasociety from the ground up. For this Herculean task, what do we have? A few thousand contractors, few of which working in concert; many of which working without an adequate knowledge base and funds.

And yet if we can't exactly call it progress, there is a lot of sincere trying going on. If we can just keep trying, and pile on more and more outside help, eventually real progress will come in Iraq. In the meantime, a sense of failure is our worst enemy. Thus, even the smallest signs of progress in Iraq, of the kind Iraq Slogger sometimes feature, translate to more attention on the country from outside.

Yet it's awfully hard to stare Iraq in the face because the country's woes underscore all the failures of central government in this era. You have long put a spotlight on such failures in your coverage of conflicts around the globe. That, too, is an invaluable service. I wish you the best in your endeavors. And come back alive, hear?

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