News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: State Dept. Lauds Iraqi "Democracy"

Thursday, March 09, 2006

State Dept. Lauds Iraqi "Democracy"

One of the themes used by Bush/Rove in recent speeches has been the idea that democracies experience "growing pains." Citing the early days of the American republic, these speeches describe incidents where early Americans reacted somewhat violently against the creation of the new nation. The Bush speeches use these historical instances as analogous to what's happening in Iraq now.

The fallacy here is known as a "false analogy." That is, there are more differences between the violence in the early American republic and what's happening in Iraq today. The violence in early America was not ethnic, religious, or as violent. No early Americans attacked and destroyed relgious and sacred sites. Nor did the opposing sides kidnap, torute, shoot in the head, and behead their opponents. ...

Attempting to carry on the analogy and idea that democracies experience growing pains, Condoleeza Rice's State Department has issued a report on human rights abuses. In its section on Iraq, this report cites numerous varieties of violence and incipient civil war. Yet, carrying on the notion of democracy, the report disingenuously attempts to put these abuses down to the "stuff happens" and "democracy is messy" philosophy of Donald Rumsfeld.

According to The Washington Post:

The State Department yesterday depicted efforts to guard human rights in Iraq as badly hampered by a climate of "extreme violence" and by sectarian militias that often act "independently of governmental authority."

The critical assessment came in the department's annual review of the human rights records of nations around the world. Although balanced by a positive appraisal of Iraq's moves toward democracy and development of an army that has remained generally free of allegations of abuse, the section on Iraq marked a bleaker view than the one a year ago of the government's ability to protect basic rights.

"A climate of extreme violence in which people were killed for political and other reasons continued," the report said. "Reports increased of killings by the Iraqi government or its agents that may have been politically motivated. Additionally, common criminals, insurgents and terrorists undermined public confidence in the security apparatus by sometimes masking their identity in police and army uniforms."
No wonder the Bush admin is trying to slink away from its anemic rhetoric about democracy in the mideast. The facts on the ground simply show that this administration has no sense of history, no understanding of cultural diversity, and little awareness or appreciation for personal responsibility.

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