Monday, June 07, 2004

The New York Times > Week in Review > The Sheik Takes Over: In Iraq's Next Act, Tribes May Play the Lead Role

Maybe it is time to bow to the inevitable--civilization can never defeat or assimilate the barbarians: at best it can contain them.

Domestically, we've been trying to civilize the barbarians and introduce law and order in urban slums for decades, working without much success to wipe out gangs, curtail violence and assimilate the underclass into civil society. It may be time to take a new tack and recognize that we can only govern the underclass in the US and abroad through tribal war lords, sheiks, paramount chiefs, big men and gang leaders.

It's time to call a truce: to get out of Iraq and to cede the slums to gang leaders: grant the Bloods, the Crips, the Sopranos and the rest semi-autonomous status and stop interfering in their affairs. Let the tribes in the US and abroad conduct their own turf wars, fight battles over women and other booty, negotiate amongst themselves and, if we're lucky, kill one another off so that we can be done with them.


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