The Benefit Of A Democratic Iraq

5 07 2007

People are quick to berate the war in Iraq for being a war entered into under a veil of deceit. Which is probably a fair criticism, given the overwhelming amount of evidence that politicians lied to both legislatures and the general public. Some are quick to criticise any war, because war, we’re told, is wrong, and rather than being a tool of social evolution, is instead an archaic anachronism from a bygone era. This, however, is not such a fair criticism. Regime change is a phrase thrown around as some sort of shrouded evil, and yet people seem to disregard the fact that the ultimate aim of WWII was, you guessed it, regime change. One can only imagine the millions of lives that would have been saved had we not been afraid to make that regime change sooner. And now, as if proof were needed that the war in Iraq may be another example of war as a tool of social evolution, we see Lebanon and Palestine unite against Hamas.

Hamas have long been lauded by Palestinians as heroes, and yet now they’re being criticised for being gangsters and thugs who are interested only in their own agenda. Of course it doesn’t help that whenever Israel blows something up, Hamas fronts the money to rebuild it. For a people bereft of true heroes, I can understand why this might be seen as heroic. And now, not only are they being criticised, but they are also being fought at their very roots. Combating incitement by Imams in mosques, the traditional Hamas approach for gaining new foot-soldiers, threatens to weaken Hamas at its foundations. Coups are hard to maintain without grass roots members.

Is it a coincidence that Mahmoud Abbass, chairman of the Palestinian Authority was standing next to Jalal Talibani (unfortunate name with the Afghan war still fresh in the memory) when he made that statement? You are free to draw your own conclusions, but in my view it clearly isn’t. The return of democracy to Iraq has been criticised for the growth in insurgency, which is a fair point, although I do wonder if those same critics realise that the upshot of what they’re arguing is that dictatorship is better than democracy. However, one argument used by some who supported the war was that whilst in the short-term it would be an upheaval, (after all, going from dictatorship to democracy is about as drastic a change as going from communism to capitalism, and you need only to ask the Russians how “easy” that was), in the long-term a democratic Iraq would help to foster a more stable Middle East.

These sorts of arguments were roundly belittled as either being patronising or naive. And yet, here we are, faced with rather incontrovertible proof that there may well have been a shred of truth to them. I don’t claim to be able to predict the future, I don’t know if the insurgency is Iraq will ever stop but I’d be inclined to believe it will. I definitely don’t know for sure if there will ever be peace in the Middle East. What I am convinced of, however, is that peace in the Middle East will be far more attainable with a democratic Iraq than without one.


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4 responses

7 07 2007
JollyRoger

I’ll be the next one to belittle these arguments.

“Iraq” doesn’t exist. The lofty talk about freedom and democracy won’t change a thing on the ground. The notion that those who argue against any more insanity are saying that “dictatorship is better than democracy” is a strawman, since it is impossible to impose any kind of democracy in the former Iraq with the resources we have available to us.

We say that stopping madness is better than slowly bleeding to death. The forces of attrition have already determined what our eventual path in Iraq is going to be, and we simply aren’t going to have the resources. Ever. Those who argue for continuing our presence are arguing for finishing off our Army and Marine Corps for precisely the same end-result that we’d achieve by pulling out now.

7 07 2007
Mr President

Firstly you’re belittling an argument I didn’t make. You talk about pulling out now, but I was talking about justifying the war in the first place. So you’re attacking the wrong thing.

Secondly, I’ll address the points you made. You make a lot of statements with nothing to back them up. “Iraq” doesn’t exist? That sounds like yet more rhetoric which is all your side of the argument has. I didn’t talk about freedom, I talked about democracy. To say it’s impossible to “impose” any kind of democracy is not only more rhetoric, it’s plainly wrong since we have glaringly obvious evidence proving that it is very much possible.

My argument was that those who argue we were better off leaving a dangerous dictator in charge are clearly arguing that dictatorship is better than democracy, because you’re arguing that an attempt to return democracy to a country that, lest we forget, has one of the longest histories of democracy, longer than that of the US, for example, is worse than having a dictator in charge.

Forces of attrition? Lack of resources? We’re talking about the wealthiest nation in the world, with one of the largest military budgets going, against an enemy that is losing its resources, both manpower and financial, far more quickly. Not to mention the fact that any lack of resources might have to do with the nations like France that sit on the sidelines.

Those arguing for withdrawal are using the very same arguments used by the Americans who opposed American involvement in World War II. And, whilt American boasts of winning the entire war are off the mark, it certainly could not have been done without the American assistance. Just think of the millions of Jews whose lives were lost because of America’s late involvement. Lives lost because of the same sort of arguments you peddle now.

With all due respect, you’re simply wrong. The proof is staring you in the face in an Iraq that is actually improving, but the left won’t admit it. Even the media which has been berating the war effort from Day 1 has had to admit that it is finally seeing success. Time to admit the truth; you were wrong all along.

8 07 2007
JollyRoger

Sorry, but my statements have plenty to back them up. Unless you can show me a central authority that can assert itself in all of the territory we call Iraq, you cannot dispute the accuracy of my observation. I’ll go you one better and point out that even within the City of Baghdad, this doesn’t exist.

Further, even when we get a handle on one city (or a section of one city,) the violence simply relocates itself elsewhere. We have had to return time and time again to Baghdad, Samarra, Fallujah, Mosul, Hillah. I disgaree with your speculation that anything in Iraq is “improving” (save for those areas now controlled by the Mehdi Army,) and I’m afraid raw statistics back me up. I’ll take the stats over Tony Snow or Joe Lieberman any day of the week.

You’re wrong, but you let me have my say, something I find myself denied with increasing frequency on the right-leaning blogs. You do not have my support, but you have my respect. Take care 😉

8 07 2007
Mr President

As the great man Disraeli once said, “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”. I’ve never been overly fond of using statistics to “back up” an argument because statistics are all about interpretation. The very same “raw statistics” you use to back up your argument can be used by me to back mine up, rendering them worthless. To use your words, I’ll take analysis over statistics any day of the week.

I didn’t say there was a central authority that controls all of Iraq, or even Baghdad. If anything Baghdad is one of the hardest territories in all of Iraq to control. Urban warfare is something the US military is not very good at, which is why Baghdad would have been better left to the British.

Having said that, I even accepted as a starting point that this would be the case for a very long time. It may take upwards of 15 years to get to that situation. We’re talking major cultural upheaval here, that can take up to a generation to achieve. Noone said it would be easy.

You can’t say I’m wrong because, quite frankly, my entire argument is predicated upon the idea that the LONG-TERM future of Iraq is better this way and we’re by no means into the long-term. To see slight improvements now is quite frankly amazing and bodes well.

However what you’ve missed in the entire argument is the impact of a democratic Iraq on the situation with Hamas in Gaza. What you’ve yet to refute is that the comments made by Abbass would not have been made had Saddam still been in power in Iraq.

I do not for one second believe the unification of forces against Hamas has happened by chance; it’s happened because of the change in policy from Iraq. Saddam was famed for encouraging unrest in Gaza because it suited his political agenda. My point was that getting rid of him has already proven to have benefits for stability in the region.

As for letting you have your say, look around, I get a lot of comments from those more towards the left than the right. Perhaps I’m more welcoming to them because I’m a moderate, a Libertarian not a Republican, but I’d like to think it has more to do with the fact that I have respect for different opinions because without it political discourse would be rather boring. Also, Freedom of Speech is very important to me.

It’s funny you should mention you being denied that respect on other right-leaning blogs as I find myself being denied the same level of respect by too many left-leaning blogs. Partisanship is tearing apart American politics these days, a return to a moderate road may be best. One of the beauties of our political system is that different views are encouraged. Only by consensus amongst divergent opinions can Democracy be truly served.

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