The Reconstruction of Iraq

President Bush carried every state of the old Confederacy in 2004, most by substantial margins. White people in those states have generally supported the President’s Iraq policies by greater margins than people in the rest of the country.

Which is odd, because most white Southerners are familiar with some portrayal or other of Reconstruction, which was the 12-year period (1865-1877) after the American Civil War when federal martial law was either a reality or a plausible threat throughout the defeated South.

Given that familiarity, why did so many white Southerners think it would be a “cakewalk” for Iraq to be invaded to free one people from the persecution of another? Or for it to be occupied by federal troops convinced of their moral superiority and with no understanding of or sympathy for the local mores? Or for the right of self-government to be first withheld completely, then granted only subject to military sufferance? Or for the existing elites to be disenfranchised in favor of carpetbagger exiles?

What did they think would happen? Did they think there would be no resistance; no equivalent of the original Ku Klux Klan? Did they think there would be no lynch mobs or brutal lawlessness? Do they think there will be no lasting bitterness; no “Iraq will rise again”?

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