News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: Iraq, the Land of Democracy

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Iraq, the Land of Democracy

Some people are accusing Iraq war critics of missing the good things that are happening in that country, thanks to the American presence. What improvements? The Iraqi government is run by the US as a satellite state. The country has been in a civil war (by many standards, most notably the Lebanese civil war) for some time, and areas under insurgent/militia control continue to grow (most notably Basra, as well as northern Iraq).

The prospect of a US pullout from Iraq is nowhere in the cards for at least 50 years, contrary to Bushco propaganda and the continual false impression that it's even a possibility which the press continues to foster by asking the inane question, "when are we pulling out of Iraq?"

It is perhaps sobering to realize what everyday life in Iraq means. The Baghdad morgue can't handle the number of dead rolling in. Fear is a constant presence--a mortifying fear not only for the present but for women facing a future filled with the inevitability of losing the small freddoms to dress, walk, work, and act like they wanted to under Hussein.

On the other hand, you say, there's democracy. But this word in the mouths of Bushco and most people these days just about means as much as you want it to mean. Does anyone dare even think that Iraq will be democratic in any way that resembles the US or any other nation that can reasonably be called democratic? How many years to accomplish this, then?

Maybe that's what those super-bases are for: to ensure that Iraq is democratic. Yes, I imagine that Iraqis will find it edifying to see the American way of life through barbed wire, concrete berms, and soldiers with automatics patrolling the perimeters--to make sure the natives stay out.

What is democracy supposed to be while looking into this mess? I imagine democracy means whatever ensures that the US gets what it wants, whatever ensures its security, makes us all feel warm and fuzzy at home while the horrors vistied on the natives go undocumented, unheard, unseen.

Of course, much of this will sound like pacifist claptrap to those who wallow in visions of ersatz wars against the armies of darkness. But even a soldier's soldier, or at least a soldier's academic, agrees. Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld (whose books are required reading at West Point) recently wrote in his article, "Costly Withdrawal Is the Price To Be Paid for a Foolish War," that this war is the worst military blunder in over 2,000 years.

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