The E-News site has been inactive since February 2011 and may contain outdated information and/or broken links. For current and up-to-date Tufts news and information, please visit Tufts Now at
Tufts University e-news

Search  GO >

this site people
Tufts University Logo Bottom Search Bottom  
left side photo

Professor: Iraq War ‘Deal With The Devil’

Professor: Iraq War ‘Deal With The Devil’Ina rebuttal to an essay published in the prestigious ForeignAffairs magazine, a Tufts political science professor arguesthat the United States’ rush to war in Iraq was more ofa “power play” than a sincere attempt at democratization.Medford/Somerville,Mass.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [10.28.04] In a response to a piecein Foreign Affairs magazine criticizing the United States’occupation of Iraq, Tufts politicalscience professor TonySmith says that the real problems lay in the “misplacedambitions” that prompted the invasion in the first place,not in a flawed execution of postwar rebuilding.

“Itwas apparent all along that the call for democratic regime changewas an integral part of a power play by Washington to controlthe entire Middle East-for the sake of the ‘war on terror,’to dominate the international oil market, and to reassure Israel,”Smith wrote in the November/December 2004 issue of the magazine.

Smith wrotethe rebuttal to an essay by Larry Diamond, co-editor of the Journalof Democracy and senior fellow at Stanford University’sHoover Institution, which appeared in an earlier issue of ForeignAffairs. Diamond served as an adviser to the now-dissolvedCoalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.

Smith, a memberof the Council on Foreign Relations and author of the book ForeignAttachments: The Power of Ethnic Groups in the Making of AmericanForeign Policy, rebuked Diamond for focusing his criticismon the mistakes made during the occupation, not on the rationalebehind the war itself.

“If[Diamond] wants to tell us ‘what went wrong in Iraq,’he might start closer to home,” Smith wrote.

Smith arguedthat Iraq -- by virtue of its oil holdings, lack of a middle class,absence of a democratic leader and ethnic and religious friction,among other reasons -- did not have the capacity for democratization,making the invasion “a fool’s errand.”

In consideringwhy so many Americans supported the war, Smith contended thatmany backed the United States’ “ill-fated imperialistaggression” as a means to the end of democratizing Iraq.

But the UnitedStates’ actions, Smith says, could not help but be interpretedby Iraqis and their Arab neighbors “not as liberating butas subjugating the region to self-interested outsiders.”

“Thoseinterested in promoting democracy and human rights who collaboratedin Washington's imperial grab made a pact with the devil thatwill come to haunt them,” Smith wrote in the internationalmagazine.

The falloutcould be felt for years to come.

“Inthe failure of America's power projection in Iraq lies the failureof liberal ambitions, now likely set back for a generation, exposedas little more than a fig leaf for U.S. national security concernshere brutally expressed,” he wrote.




Related Stories
Featured Profile