What We Owe Iraq: War and Ethics of Nation Building

What We Owe Iraq is a blend of Noah Feldman’s precise political analysis of the Iraqi issue and his own memories from this war-torn country. It often serves as a plea to the American conscience to recognize America's responsibility to the Iraqi people for rebuilding the tattered nation. At the same time, it serves as a warning about the importance of re-establishing order for everyday Iraqi citizens and promoting their participation in a stable, secure democratic government

What We Owe Iraq: War and Ethics of Nation Building
Criticizing the current organization of U.S. troops within Iraq, he paints a cautionary tale of the prospect that terrorist attacks could increase if a stable government is achieved without securing democracy, citing the past experiences of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Algeria.

On a moral note, Feldman emphasizes the need to provide suitable living conditions for Iraqis while establishing legitimacy for the new Iraqi government through free and fair elections. Second, he criticizes the lack of troops, which he says has hindered the U.S.’s ability to secure the country and provide the Iraqi people with a reasonable level of safety. This planning oversight, according to Feldman, is just one factor that led some Iraqis to seek refuge in religious organizations or resort to violence. Third, What We Owe Iraq asks that the U.S. not underestimate the power of elections in sustaining the trust of Iraqi citizens. In conclusion, Feldman criticizes the lack of a serious discussion of the Iraqi issue in U.S. political circles. He suggests that the public shift its focus from the setting of a date for the withdrawal of troops to a focus on implementing a committed plan for fostering a successful democracy.

About the Author:

Noah Feldman is Associate Professor of Law at New York University. Between 2003 and 2004 he served as Senior Constitutional Adviser to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq. In addition to his impressive background in scholarly research and field experience, he is the author of a number of other political pieces such as After Jihad: America and the Struggle for Islamic Democracy and Divided By God: America’s Church-State Problem—and What We Should Do About It.
Noah Feldman
Publisher: Princeton University Press

Tuesday, December 2nd 2008
Taqrir Washington

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