It worked in Bosnia; why not Iraq?

Re “Bush Dismisses the Idea of Partitioning Iraq,” Aug. 16

Meeting with Middle East experts, President Bush rejected a three-way division of Iraq. He said it would be “like pouring oil on fire.” If we really believe in democracy in the Middle East, why not let the Iraqis decide whether they want one, two or three states? Then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke held captive the Bosnian principals until they hammered out the Dayton Peace Accords, and that fragile arrangement has held for 10 years. Sharing the oil wealth would be a problem in Iraq, but determined men of goodwill could resolve it.


Garden Grove



America’s current (and, according to President Bush, unchangeable) Iraq policy has little chance to succeed. So it should come as no surprise that Bush conceded that U.S. forces will languish in Iraq until a new American president is inaugurated. Perhaps it follows, then, that partitioning Iraq is “not even a starter” to this president, but what a shame. Notwithstanding White House Press Secretary Tony Snow’s revisionist history, Iraq is a Western creation, consisting of three very different cultures. If the people of Iraq truly considered themselves “Iraqis,” as Snow would have us believe, why do Sunnis and Shiites kill each other? Why do Kurds in the north have their own language and seek their own independent country?

These disparate cultures were held together by a ruthless dictator, and the neocons who thought that Sunnis and Kurds would happily coexist under Shiite rule were living in the same bubble that Bush still calls home. It worked in Bosnia and it can work in Iraq. Give partitioning a chance to succeed where forced democracy has not.



Santa Monica