Did someone say de-Baathification?

As everyone should know by now, transition from an institutionally entrenched dictatorship to a pluralistic society almost always involves a period of lawlessness, chaos and public unrest. Post-war Germany and Japan are exceptions. Apparently, Allied occupation administration did its job well, and the citizens were so accustomed to orderly ways that they became second nature. With old institutions gone, like the Baath party network, the new, foreign administration has no structure to support its order-restoring measures, which have been inadequate. The problem could and should have been anticipated by Washington’s military planners, but — who knows — perhaps they didn’t care?

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