Kinds of Quagmires

by Kieran Healy on September 1, 2003

In some quarters, using the word “quagmire” to describe the emerging position of the U.S. in Iraq provokes yells of rage, snarklets of glibness, or even reasoned objections. It’s fair to say that optimists like the OxBloggers have convincingly rebutted the main comparisons that have been made to Vietnam. The United States isn’t going to be losing about a hundred troops a week in an ongoing war of attrition against a dug-in enemy with strong local support. But there are other ways to get stuck in the mud.

John McCain’s recent piece in the Washington Post calls for an urgent injection of military and civil personnel devoted to rebuilding Iraq:

[Ambassador L. Paul Bremer’s] operation is nearly broke, and he admits Iraq will need “tens of billions” of dollars for reconstruction next year alone. … [C]ontrary to administration assurances, our military force levels are obviously inadequate. A visitor quickly learns in conversations with U.S. military personnel that we need to deploy at least another division. … as well as a significant increase in civilian experts in development and democracy-building.

More troops now, more money now, and nation-building for the long haul. This is the emerging consensus across much of the political spectrum, left and right. We’ve come a long way from the arguments used to justify the war, which had very little to say about long-term commitments of this sort. The new view, in essence, is that now we’ve invaded we need to follow through. There’s a lot to be said for this. Trying to clean up after yourself is clearly more responsible than installing a puppet government and bailing out as fast as you can. The domestic goal is to get the public used to the idea. McCain speaks freely of billions of dollars in the short term and a “generational commitment” for the long run, frankly acknowledging that the U.S. will be stuck in Iraq for years.

He justifies this commitment in two ways. First, he articulates the Domino Theory of Democratization, saying that

Iraq’s transformation into a progressive Arab state could set the region … on a new course in which democratic expression and economic prosperity, … define a modernity in the Muslim world that does not express itself in ways that threaten its people or other nations.

For this reason, “America’s mission in Iraq is too important to fail.” I find the new domino theory about as convincing as the old one. More important, any policy that is “too important to fail” risks becoming a self-justifying sinkhole, as Billmon recently argued:

In the end, policy mistakes—particularly big ones—tend to produce a kind of circular reasoning—in which those in charge try to justify the policy by citing the need to avoid, at all costs, the failure of the policy.

McCain’s second line of argument fits Billmon’s diagnosis. “Let there be no doubt,” he says,

Iraq remains the central battle in the war on terror. We must succeed in Iraq because every bad actor in the Middle East … has a stake in our failure. They know Iraq’s transformation would be a grave and perhaps fatal setback to them.

Now that the U.S. is entrenched in Iraq, it must stay because to withdraw would be to give a victory to “every bad actor in the Middle East.” Iraq is where the war on terror is being fought. But of course it’s being fought there because that’s where the U.S. has chosen to put its soldiers. Which is why it must stay. Around and around we go. That is the logic of a quagmire, and it makes the analogy to Vietnam clearer. There, it wasn’t the sheer number of casualties lost in the jungles or troops fragging their commanders or anti-draft protests at home that were at the root of problem. It was that the U.S.’s presence in the region was, by way of arguments about nation-building there and face-saving here, the very reason for further escalation.

The U.S.’s day-to-day problems in Iraq may end up resembling Northern Ireland rather than Vietnam: car bombings, political assassinations, a general effort by terrorists to violently undermine civil society and resist the occupying power. The cost in terms of soldiers’ lives would be much lower than in Vietnam, but if there’s no viable way to extricate yourself the feeling of the situation may be much the same. Putting the emphasis on the political logic of involvement in Iraq seems to me to be the most plausible way of making the “Quagmire Case.” Involvement there is self-justifying and there’s no clear way to get out of the loop.

The way to argue against it is to say there are predictable changes to Iraqi society that would trigger a withdrawal. Hence the appeals to post-WWII Europe. I’m not convinced by this comparison, but others are welcome to make the case for it. My questions to them are the same ones I was asking back in March: Since WWII, how many autocratic or totalitarian countries have been invaded by a democracy, had the bad guys deposed, and a stable democratic regime installed? And how does this number compare to the number of invasions or other interventions that resulted in puppet governments, friendly autocrats, messy long-term military occupations, or outright disasters?

There’s some irony—but maybe also some hope—in how the official position on Iraq has evolved. As it has moved away from dealing directly with Al-Qaeda and towards reconstructing the entire political economy of the Middle-East, the administration’s actions have inevitably begun to imply an analysis of terrorism focused on root-causes. In the wake of the September 11th attacks, any talk of root causes was dismissed as watery left-wing handwringing. Terrorists were simply evil and there was no point in thinking about their origins any further. Now the official view is that the way to eliminate terrorism is to turn countries that produce them into capitalist democracies. If there is a realistic exit strategy from Iraq, it may depend on having believable measures of terrorism’s root-causes. It’ll be interesting to see the people who sneered at the very idea of thinking in those terms eventually pointing to such measures as evidence of the success of their policies.

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1

mitch 09.01.03 at 1:31 pm

Both Laos and Cambodia fell to communists shortly after the US withdrawal from South Vietnam; does that count in the domino theory’s favor?

2

the talking dog 09.01.03 at 2:19 pm

Mitch–
They fell after being deeply weakened as a result of the United States’ illegal bombing campaign and intervention in both nations. They may “count”, but not the way you think.

Nice post, Kieran. Though I agree with the Northern Ireland analysis– the West Bank seems even a closer analogue. At least in Northern Ireland, it was First World Protestants battling it out with First World Catholics, as opposed to a First World military battling Third World Arabs; the suicide bombing tactic is also generally not in use in Ulster.

Of course, the real problem is that if we abandon Iraq now, the power vacuum will probably result in a civil war, in which the humanitarian cost will be catastrophic, and Al Qaeda will doubtless take advantage, a la Afghanistan (assuming they don’t set up shop THERE again!)

3

Scott Martens 09.01.03 at 2:58 pm

There is also a very strange inversion in McCain’s editorial. He claims that “We must succeed in Iraq because every bad actor in the Middle East — Baathist killers, terror’s sponsors in Iran and Syria, terror’s financiers in Saudi Arabia, terror’s radical Shiite and Wahhabi inciters, the terrorists of al Qaeda, Ansar al-Islam, Hamas and Hezbollah — has a stake in our failure. They know Iraq’s transformation would be a grave and perhaps fatal setback to them.”

It seems to me that they gain far more if America fails than they lose if America wins, and that destabilising Iraq is likely to be far easier than stabilising it. The whole business has the feel of America falling into a trap. I wonder if 30 years down the road, someone will be writing about how terrorist movements and religious fundamentalism was on the wane in the Middle-East until Osama Bin Laden came up with an ingenious plan to make America fight them in the a way that was to the radicals’ advantage.

4

tom beta 2 09.01.03 at 4:29 pm

Putting the emphasis on the political logic of involvement in Iraq seems to me to be the most plausible way of making the “Quagmire Case.”

You seem to want to talk yourself into the ‘it’s a quagmire’ line. Since you know your goal, you then just look for supporting arguments. This is a bit backwards.

You basically say that:

1. since there does not seem to be a clear exit strategy, and

2. the loop of “we have troops there to fight terrorism; our troops there cause terrorist acts; therefore our troops must stay; therefore terrorism will increase there, etc.”

that this is a quagmire. While this could very well lead to a quagmire, it is far from proof that we are in one now.

Our exit strategy is to have a stable, democratic Iraq to exit from.

Your loop is interesting, but it depends on no real improvements occurring in the situation (a real improvement would not produce a loop). In most of Iraq, however, the country is stable and there have been improvements. Given only a few months, this isn’t bad. It is only in limited areas that your loop is in effect. Could these improvements be reversed? Yes. Could this lead to your loop and quagmire? Yes. But it isn’t a quagmire now, and there’s at least as many good reasons to believe it won’t become a quagmire.

The comparison to Northern Ireland is a good one. I’ll have to remember that.

Your comparison of Western influence/interference in totalitarian regimes that produced stable democracies vs. those that didn’t isn’t really valid. Look at the goals — immediately after WWII, our GOAL was to create stable democracies, at pretty much whatever cost, and we succeeded. After the ’40s, for the most part, our goal was to put a government that supported us in power with a minimum of expense, and we succeeded most of the time in that, too. Success rates in building democracies should be based on the percentage of times we succeeded when trying to build them, not the percentage of times we ended up with one when trying to do something else.

The “Domino Theory of Democratization” is what lead to the US having a huge population of immigrants. People don’t flock to communist countries (except for American actors / actresses), or to Islamic ones; they do flock to democracies. I believe this is an important difference. If you can’t bring Mohammed to democracy, bring democracy to Mohammed, eh?

Finally, on root causes, a number of pro-war blogs said, way before the war, that we’d have to be in this for the long haul and really get in and solve the problems that cause terrorism. We were talking about root causes long before the war, but we didn’t use that term, and many made fun of those who did, because it’s primarily used by people who go way out of their way to blame everything, no matter how ridiculous, on evil Amerikkka. It was the idiocy that was opposed, not the concept of solving the problems that lead to terrorism.

Could Iraq become a quagmire? Sure. It could certainly become one. Is Iraq a quagmire now? No, and it’s pretty silly to call it one in such a short time. The problems in Northern Ireland lasted more than 30 years, but in all that time I never heard the word “quagmire” used about it as much as I have about the American/allied occupation of Iraq in the last few months.

5

Matt Davis 09.01.03 at 4:31 pm

I wonder if 30 years down the road, someone will be writing about how terrorist movements and religious fundamentalism was on the wane in the Middle-East until Osama Bin Laden came up with an ingenious plan to make America fight them in the a way that was to the radicals’ advantage.

I feel pretty sure that someone will. Osama and G-Dub are both intolerant bastards, convinced of the rightness of their own positions–and Osama is both far brighter and far more pious than G-Dub.

This can’t possibly end well.

6

Matt Davis 09.01.03 at 4:38 pm

tom beta2: Success rates in building democracies should be based on the percentage of times we succeeded when trying to build them, not the percentage of times we ended up with one when trying to do something else.

We should note, however, that a democracy that chooses not to sell us oil on an advantageous basis–or chooses not to become friendly with Israel–will be a complete non-starter with the instigators of this invasion; so one can only employ the term ‘democracy’ here loosely.

7

jimbo 09.01.03 at 4:54 pm

They fell after being deeply weakened as a result of the United States’ illegal bombing campaign and intervention in both nations.

No, they fell because of a 20-year campaign by the Hanoi regime (backed by the Chinese and the Soviets) to undermine them, not least by brazenly using their territory to pursue their war against the South.

8

james 09.01.03 at 5:48 pm

Kieran

There is indeed an irony that the neocons revolutionary mideast democratisation plan (if we accept that this is the policy of the Bush admin) adopts a “root causes” analysis of terrorism, given that so many of the administrations supporters tend to dismiss “root cause” explanations as “blame America first” morally obtuse nonsense.

But then there is also an irony in the widespread failure of Bush’s left-leaning critics to acknowledge the “root cause” vision implicit in the said strategy.

The difference is that the neocons address the root causes of the terrorists’ hateful ideology (coming up with the lack of political freedoms etc. in the mid east), whereas the dismissed root cause explanations address the question of “why America?” (usually coming up with the sins of American foreign policy).

Personally I find the former analysis (whatever about the resultant policy) more convincing – after all, why weren’t the hijackers Vietnamese, or Chilean or Guatamalan, nationals who might be argued to have greater grounds for grudges?

9

zizka 09.01.03 at 6:55 pm

McCain has always been more militaristic than Bush and I have been baffled by some Democrats’ enthusiasm for the guy. Being straightforward is nice, and everything, but look at what he’s saying.

I think that the dishonest way the war was sold has a lot to do with the current negative mood. We’re getting about what we should have expected, and if what we’re doing is worth it, the level of casualties we’re seeing is not high. (I sometimes wonder whether the war was, in effect, motivated and planned entirely on domestic-political grounds, with planners ultimately believing their own puffery. If so, the only way they can bail themselves out now is with another crisis and war, which I think is not unimaginable).

Frankly, looking at the Bush-neocon attitude toward democracy in general, the most that we can expect is some kind of Singapore-style “guided democracy” or whatever they call it these days. Certainly no evil populist plebiscite democracy where public opinion gets involved in making the big decisions.

A final objection to the idea of making Iraq a shining example is that, before the first Gulf War, in many respects it already was. More secular, less sexist, more prosperous, better educated, better public health, etc. It was a cruel dictatorship, but compared to Syria, the Saudis, or Egypt, not a shockingly bad one. It had aggressive aims, but that is typical in that part of the world.

Fisk away, but what I just said is pretty much true. It is not in any way an endorsement of Saddam or even a rejection of Gulf War I. It merely is a statement of the condition of the Middle East, and of the way that modernization and secularization have worked out there.

10

bleh 09.01.03 at 7:47 pm

There may be irony in the administration’s shift from domestic to Iraqi issues, but there is also an almost inexorable logic.

Their first political task was to build up support for the invasion, which was exclusively a domestic matter. Nuance, or even basic facts, about Iraq were a distraction or a hindrance. But now the task is to get (mostly) out of Iraq as quickly and cheaply as possible, and that’s a problem that has to be solved, at least in part, in Iraq.

That means a shift in topic, but not in quality of information. They may be talking about Iraq, but the imagery will be just as distorted (or fabricated) as before, with a different political end in mind.

As to “democracy” and the “democratic domino theory,” I don’t really think the administration or its thought-leaders want real democracy there; consider, for example, that the Shiites are the largest political group and the largest force among them, the Sadrists, is pretty radical. I have a feeling what they want is something more like Saudi Arabia or the Shah’s Iran: a reasonably stable form with a reasonably indigenous character that, in order of importance, (1) allows them to claim victory domestically, (2) provides a framework and a facility for increased US politico-military influence in the Mideast (and big money for oil and oil-related businesses), and (3) reduces the likelihood of a future Afghanistan or North Korea.

To that end, I would look for explanations of “root causes” that emphasize Baathist remnants, disaffected minorities (conveniently not the leaders of a new “stable, democratic Iraq”), and perhaps outside agitators (again, conveniently from countries whom we feel like pressuring, e.g., Iran, but not from those we don’t, e.g., Saudia Arabia, Pakistan). I would also look for stories about a “political center” that “rejects terrorism” and “values a continuing US partnership as a force for stability and prosperity.”

11

zizka 09.01.03 at 11:33 pm

“Disaffected minorities”: not just the Shias, but the Assyrians, Chaldaeans, and Mandaeans have to be closely watched!

12

zizka 09.01.03 at 11:34 pm

x

13

Kieran Healy 09.02.03 at 12:11 am

Tom Beta 2 –

You seem to want to talk yourself into the ‘it’s a quagmire’ line.

No, I don’t. I was thinking out loud about whether it was at all plausible.

Our exit strategy is to have a stable, democratic Iraq to exit from.

One question my post raises is whether this is a real target, or whether it will forever be a shining goal, just out of reach over the horizon, and thus a permanent reason to stay in Iraq just a bit longer.

The “Domino Theory of Democratization” is what lead to the US having a huge population of immigrants.

No, it’s not. The Domino theory is about neighboring nations following in the path of leading nations who adopt a new political system — originally communism, and now apparently democracy. It’s not a theory about individuals’ preferences about moving to democratic countries.

14

Kieran Healy 09.02.03 at 12:13 am

James –

But then there is also an irony in the widespread failure of Bush’s left-leaning critics to acknowledge the “root cause” vision implicit in the said strategy.

Yeah, there’s a convergence here that people haven’t been noticing. You might say that the neocons are beginning to implement the policies that follow from a left-wing “root cause” analysis, only by military means.

15

GB 09.02.03 at 12:55 am

bleh: I have a feeling what they want is something more like Saudi Arabia or the Shah’s Iran

1) With friends as Saudi Arabia USA does not needs enemies in the War of Terror(TM).
2) Shah’s Iran – everybody knows what it led to.

Bleh, your arguments just support the idea that Iraq is 1) a quagmire, or 2) lost cause.
Think something better.

16

Elliott Oti 09.02.03 at 8:28 am

Tom beta 2 wrote:
“People don’t flock to […] Islamic [countries]; they do flock to democracies.”

Completely untrue. People flock to Islamic countries in truly staggering amounts. The population of some Gulf theocracies has quintupled in the past 40 years, with immigrants often greatly outnumbering natives. 55% of Kuwait’s workforce is foreign. 80% of all UAE residents are foreign. There are 6 billion foreigners in Saudia Arabia alone. There are no Western countries, none whatsoever, who have to deal with immigration on a per-capita scale anywhere approaching the scale in hardline Islamic Gulf states.

17

Elliott Oti 09.02.03 at 8:30 am

Correction:
“6 billion” -> 6 million

18

tom beta 2 09.02.03 at 2:11 pm

From matt davis:

tom beta2: Success rates in building democracies should be based on the percentage of times we succeeded when trying to build them, not the percentage of times we ended up with one when trying to do something else.

We should note, however, that a democracy that chooses not to sell us oil on an advantageous basis—or chooses not to become friendly with Israel—will be a complete non-starter with the instigators of this invasion; so one can only employ the term ‘democracy’ here loosely.

One, this isn’t relevant to my argument because the point was post-WWII historical record, not the record of this administration. Two, can you give examples (just for interest’s sake)?

From Kieren Healy:

Tom Beta 2 –

You seem to want to talk yourself into the ‘it’s a quagmire’ line.

No, I don’t. I was thinking out loud about whether it was at all plausible.

Fair enough.

Tom Beta 2 –

Our exit strategy is to have a stable, democratic Iraq to exit from.

One question my post raises is whether this is a real target, or whether it will forever be a shining goal, just out of reach over the horizon, and thus a permanent reason to stay in Iraq just a bit longer.

Do you mean to question whether it’s an achievable goal, or do you mean that the administration might intentionally keep this as an unreachable goal in order to keep us in Iraq?

If it is intentional, then it will change when the administration does and our “quagmire” will abruptly end. In which case, the current administration would be dispicable bastards and should all be hung (okay, just some of them).

If it’s an unachievable goal, and we are really intent on achieving it, then that would just suck; we’d be very honorable, noble, losers. And everyone would still hate us.

Back to Kieren Healy:

(from me:)
The “Domino Theory of Democratization” is what lead to the US having a huge population of immigrants.

No, it’s not. The Domino theory is about neighboring nations following in the path of leading nations who adopt a new political system — originally communism, and now apparently democracy. It’s not a theory about individuals’ preferences about moving to democratic countries.

You are right; I had a brain blowout and jumped about three steps ahead of my argument. However, the Communist dominoes didn’t fall because their revolution never caught on in neighboring countries. People saw what happened after Communists took over and decided they didn’t want that (basically, persecution and poverty). A lot of people DO seem to want what democracy provides, and maybe they might agitate to get some of it if they saw a neighboring state both enjoying and prospering from it.

From elliot oti:

There are no Western countries, none whatsoever, who have to deal with immigration on a per-capita scale anywhere approaching the scale in hardline Islamic Gulf states.

The immigrants to these countries move there because they are recruited and paid to immigrate to fill certain types of jobs. You can’t immigrate to Saudi Arabia without having a job waiting there for you, and I suspect that is true of the UAE and Kuwait as well. On the other hand, people will PAY outrageous sums and risk their lives to be smuggled into the US on the hope things will work out well. I suspect this is not true of these hardline Islamic countries. I believe this is a significant difference.

19

Elliott Oti 09.02.03 at 4:00 pm

tom beta 2 wrote
“The immigrants to these countries move there because they are recruited and paid to immigrate to fill certain types of jobs.”

On the contrary: the immigrants to these countries move there not because they are recruited, but because they want to: all Gulf states have huge numbers of illegal immigrants. Immigrants (as opposed to refugees) emigrate chiefly for economic reasons, not political, and almost never out of ideological reasons.

“On the other hand, people will PAY outrageous sums and risk their lives to be smuggled into the US on the hope things will work out well. I suspect this is not true of these hardline Islamic countries. “

Then you suspect wrongly. Despite the fact that, for instance, domestic servants are often raped by their masters, and despite the fact that victims have no legal recourse and even wind up being the ones punished for adultery, there are vast numbers of Philipino women lined up anxious to get into Gulf States to work there as domestic servants.

The reason is money, pure and simple: economics as the key to a better life.

This is the reason the US is so attractive to immigrants, legal or illegal. It is the reason Africans pay huge amounts to be smuggled in rubber boats across the Mediterranean to Spain. It is the reason Chinese immigrants suffocate or die of hypothermia in the cargo areas of refrigerated freight trucks crossing the Channel to England.

This is why people are scrambling over each other to live in some of the harshest theocracies on Earth.

If the US were dirt poor, tom, then no matter how free or democratic it may be, it would not have an immigration problem at all. People, especially young people, would be emigrating – to places like Saudi Arabia.

20

Rodan 09.02.03 at 9:48 pm

The question I am not seeing in any blogs is an answer to ‘How’? How to get out of the mess in Iraq on good terms. It is easy. Find a ‘FDR’ or ‘Lincoln’ and put him out there for the folks to look at and then vote for. But… Saddam and his mafia shot all those types. For a gov’t ‘of the people, by the people’, the judges and courts are in place and starting to operate. Elections of the legislature shouldn’t be hard to do. But the lead man, that is looking impossible. I suggest the US immediatly put up $2 billion to quickly build up electrical power generstion and put a native group of Iriqis in charge of the Interior ministry to get the job done quickly. A/C and friges working full time calm people very well. The ministers would then be heroes and perceived as people showing an ability to lead. Then hold national elections. Our spin doctors could handle the publicity to help these people to emerge. With a dozen Ministries to work with, a political base could quickly evolve. There is more, but later, ok?

21

Robert Schwartz 09.03.03 at 4:50 am

Bearded Character with face metal and lots of tatoos:

“Its a quagmire man. The movement will grow just like the 60’s man. Far Out, only htis time we’ll have a real revolution and herb will be legal man.”

Announcer: This is brain on Drugs! Just say no to Drugs.

22

contract3d 09.03.03 at 12:00 pm

“Our exit strategy is to have a stable, democratic Iraq to exit from.”

Yeah, we’ll exit as soon as a government willing to recognize Israel, to host American troops as they threaten Islam’s holy land and to endorse secularism over Sharia, is put in office by the will of the people.

I sure am glad there’s a plan.

23

Nabakov 09.03.03 at 3:07 pm

“This is brain on Drugs! Just say no to Drugs.”

Manners please. Say “No Thank You”.

I dunno though, maybe there’s whole level of irony to that there comment I’m jus’ missing.

Returning to the original post – how is it that the most educated, well-skilled, westernised and non-secular middle eastern country, sitting on top of the second largest deposits of the world’s most sort after natural resource and now controlled by the most powerful army in history (with a long tradition of getting practical shit done on the spot) is now being called a piece of flypaper.

It’s a strong arguement for Daniel Davies’s (CT personality cult alert) point – right country, right mission, wrong administration.

24

Robert Schwartz 09.04.03 at 5:31 am

“Its a quagmire man. The movement will grow just like the 60’s man. Far Out, only this time we’ll have a real revolution and herb will be legal man.”

No irony intended. I was just mocking the quagmireistas. I think that they want to rerun the 60’s, complete with the brown acid. They see themselves marching on Washington, bringing they administration down, smoking a lot of ganja and getting laid a lot too. Those were the days. Makes me tear up.

I think they are taking bad drugs and that they should straighten up and fly right.

25

tom beta 2 09.04.03 at 6:25 pm

Hi, Elliot,

First off, I think your concluding paragraph, that immigration is primarily about economics, is right. However, I also think personal freedom plays a part as well. If a Philipina is looking for a new home, given a choice between equivalent job offers in the UAE or the US, and there are no other personal factors involved (e.g., family members in one or the other), I think she will pick the US.

Also, historically speaking, the US was a backwater, much of it dirt poor, for its first hundred years. People still immigrated here. I’m sure a lot of it was economic, but that wasn’t the whole story.

Your immigration statistics are impressive, as long as they are expressed as percentages. However, in raw numbers, the US has 8-9 million estimated illegal immigrants; the total population of Saudi Arabia is only 21.5 million (as of 2001). The total population of the UAE in 2001 was 2.4 million. Kuwait had about 2 million.

The current foreign-born population of the US is estimated at about 33 million — half again as much as the entire population of Saudi Arabia.

(My US stats are from the
Center for Immigration Studies
. My stats for the UAE, Kuwait, and Saudi are from the 2001 CIA World Fact Book, found here. You’ll have to navigate to each country’s page on your own.)

Elliot Oti:

… all Gulf states have huge numbers of illegal immigrants.

What are your sources for the huge numbers of illegal immigrants in the Gulf states? I can’t find much on that.

Elliot Oti:

55% of Kuwait’s workforce is foreign. 80% of all UAE residents are foreign.

When you say that X% of residents are foreign, that doesn’t neccessarily mean immigrant. Many countries restrict citizenship to native bloodlines, regardless of place of birth. For example, in Japan there are people who were born and raised in Japan, whose parents were born and raised in Japan, who still cannot get citizenship because their immigrant grandparents were Korean. Technically, they are listed as foreigners with permanent residency, but I wouldn’t count them as immigrants.

I suspect many Gulf states do the same.

Back to the CIA World Factbook, the US had (2001) a net migration rate of 3.5/1000. The UAE stat is 1.61/1000, Saudi Arabia is 1.32/1000, and Kuwait is 14.31/1000 (Wow!).

26

tom beta 2 09.04.03 at 6:43 pm

By the way, that’s “8 to 9” million illegal immigrants, not 8 9 million.

Also, Elliott, nice blog. And I really apologize for misspelling your name — four times! Arrg.

And, I wasn’t going to, but:

contract3d:

… to host American troops as they threaten Islam’s holy land …

You mean, as opposed to protecting it, and training and supplying its armed forces, like we have been for the last several decades? Personally, I think the US Army should apply to the House of Saud for the official appellation “Defender of Islam.”

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