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Towards of Theory of Balanced Purges in Post-Conflict Reconstruction Efforts - Essay Example

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History counsels that purges are a seemingly natural consequence of being on the losing side of a war. Leaders and supporters alike are at risk of being purged from political, administrative, and military positions within a country's governing hierarchy. It is significant to note, however, that not all purges are the same…
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Towards of Theory of Balanced Purges in Post-Conflict Reconstruction Efforts
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Download file to see previous pages In Iraq, by contrast, Paul Bremer engaged in a much more systemic and pervasive program of purges. In addition, purges were in many ways based on ethnic and political affiliations. The consequences of these two purges, at least in the short run, could not be more different. Japan stabilized quickly, pursued post-conflict reconstruction in an orderly manner, and exists today as an economic powerhouse. The outlook for Iraq is far less hopeful. Stabilization has not only not occurred, but would seem to be impossible under current conditions. The nature of the purges in each case, and the conditions related to the purges, go a long way towards explaining success in Japan and failure in Iraq.
This essay will assert that deep purges of government, administrative, and military structures, if executed in accord with local conditions, can lead to stabilization in the short-run and prepare the country for an effective and an enduring reconstruction effort. To this end, this essay will discuss the risks and the rewards of the deep purge philosophy. Then more specifically, this essay will present a comparative analysis of deep purge strategies in Japan, Iraq, and Italy.
As a preliminary matter, there are a number of perceived rewards associated with the purging of officials and institutions in enemy combatant states. The first reward, and one which is perhaps more psychological than practical in the short term, is a sense of retribution and punishment. There is a need for ultimate accountability and the purging of top leaders symbolizes victory. Both Saddam Hussein and Mussolini were paraded before the world as obstacles to peaceful reconstruction in their respective countries. The Emperor of Japan, for reasons to be discussed below, escaped the retribution and punishment reward. In his place, MacArthur chose General Tojo. An additional reward is the opportunity to pursue a reconstruction model which is closely aligned with the governing philosophies of the victorious country or countries. From an administrative and a political point of view, in each of the three cases involved here, this involved the transformation of authoritarian regimes into democratically-oriented regimes. Human rights were emphasized, constitutions drafted and implemented, and administrative mechanisms established to grant access and influence to the victors. Finally, and significantly, there were economic rewards associated with deep purges. The old economic elite were pushed aside, stripped of their wealth, and reconstruction contracts allocated to business organizations of the victorious countries. In short, the perceived benefits of a deep purge were associated with the sweeping away of both real and perceived opposition to the pervasive post-conflict reconstruction of the defeated country in the image of the victorious countries.
There are, however, grave risks associated with the deep purging of a country's governing elite. Retribution for example, must be seen as balanced and just. MacArthur allowed Emperor Hirohito to preserve his dignity and thereby avoided potential uprisings against his administration of Japan. Paul Bremer's treatment of Saddam Hussein, on the other hand, was much less delicate. The deposed Iraqi leader was reported to have been hiding in a dirty hole in his underwear when captured. This public humiliation might certainly be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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