Well, Mr. Friedman, I think we probably have your answer. It appears that Iraq is becoming a new Yugoslavia. It is a country that is being torn apart by all kinds of divisions: ethnic, religious and tribal. Could we have avoided this? Possibly. But like you said: this was a "war of choice." And we couldn't have fought it much worse. We went in with "just enough troops to lose." From the very start, we didn't win the peace. You said regarding the Iraq war: "if done wrong, the world will never be the same."
In Friedman's editorial from January 26, 2003, entitled Thinking About Iraq (II) Friedman wrote:
Think of it this way: If and when we take the lid off Iraq, we will find an envelope inside. It will tell us what we have won and it will say one of two things.
It could say, ''Congratulations! You've just won the Arab Germany -- a country with enormous human talent, enormous natural resources, but with an evil dictator, whom you've just removed. Now, just add a little water, a spoonful of democracy and stir, and this will be a normal nation very soon.''
Or the envelope could say, ''You've just won the Arab Yugoslavia -- an artificial country congenitally divided among Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis, Nasserites, leftists and a host of tribes and clans that can only be held together with a Saddam-like iron fist. Congratulations, you're the new Saddam.''
Congratulations! Iraq looks a lot more like the latter than the former.
So what now, Mr. Friedman? How do we put the Humpty Dumpty nation back together again? I realize hindsight is 20/20; but now that we have removed Saddam and his henchmen, how do we stop the sectarian violence? How do we convince people who seem to hate each other more than they love their children to stop their madness?
I certainly don't have the answer. Do you, Mr. Friedman?