Eric Davis is director of Middle Eastern Studies at Rutgers and writes on both the recent history of Iraq and explains why the possibility of making Iraq more moderate and democratic may not be as difficult as some people think. (Thanks to The Corner). Here is how he starts:
"Americans share two misperceptions of Iraqi politics and society. One is that ethnic conflict is endemic to Iraqi society. Another is that Iraqis lack a tradition of civil society, cultural tolerance, and political participation. Both perceptions are contradicted by the historical record. These faulty premises lay behind Washingtons unwillingness to support the Iraqi uprising of 1991, which came close to ousting the Baathist regime. It would be a great tragedy if the United States were to make the same mistake in 2003."