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Decision in Germany by Lucius D. Clay

Decision in Germany

by Lucius D. Clay

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The Iraq fiasco has been widely lamented although similar situations have worked out more positively and provides a precedent for the nay-sayers to consider.

Lucius Clay states:
This government was established under Military Government and it was timely that our remaining task in Germany be transferred to civil authroity. An occupying army had taken the lead in restoring self-responsibility to the German people and in encouraging the formation of democratic government. It was something of which the Army could be proud and which might well set a valuable historical precdeent.

The U.S. military has been a successful occupation force after an invasion in the case of both Germany and Japan that Richard J. Barnet admirably describes.

So what did the heroic generation have that we don't have? Clay describes the difficulty of seizing, managing, and making productive a key industry. In Germany it was the energy resources and in Iraq its oil. He makes it crystal clear that no opposition would be tolerated and notes small examples of resistance that were crushed. The problems of post-war construction were as seemingly as insurmountable as an unilaterally-governed Iraq but Germany was perhaps an even more intractable situation. The additional complication that Clay resolved was multilateral governance in particular given the truculence of the French and of course the hostility of the Russians. Religion was given free reign and Clay was reluctant to interfere in this matters with the U.S. belief that government should be neutral in religious matters.

One main accomplishment may be noted Iraq with the emergence of Maliki and somewhat competent government. This is a recent positive goal that I thought nearly impossible just over a year ago. We are on the right track.

One other striking difference is true in contrasting Germany and Iraq. The incredible good will and personal involvement by ordinary Americans is almost completely absent today. There has been a dearth of activity by ordinary Americans in outreach and in humanitarian efforts and without this type of personal interest it is no wonder that Iraqis find it difficult to believe that Americans have strong values. Democracy does not flourish without involvement and Americans in many ways participate much less in their own democratic affairs much less take an interest in exporting democracy elsewhere. We do not have the leaders of the heroic generation nor do we have the same quality of Americans who would not consider themselves heroic but more simply just being who and what they are.
  gmicksmith | Jun 6, 2008 |
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