Sunday, August 20, 2006

360-Degrees: "Alternatives other than Democracy"

Three years ago, before this Iraq business finally hit the fan, I told friends of mine that President Bush's proposed action in Iraq had only two possible outcomes. The first possibility being that the US actually allows the true democratic will of the Iraqi people to rule the day. Under that scenario I envisioned the people using that power to enshrine Iraq as a Shiite Islamist state aligned with Iran. The second possibility was the opposite, that the US would deny true democracy to Iraq in order prevent scenario one from coming to fruition. This option would require a crackdown on dissent reminiscent of the regime they were there to topple. Neither outcome is one which most Americans would deem worthy of the sacrifice required to acheive it.

I had to sit back and tolerate a lot of bloviating condemnation for that position. But time, she is bitch, isn't she? And she's on my side.

Via David Sirota comes this gem, this pearl, this ultimate expression of Bush administration policy in action. Intentionally hidden deep within a New York Times story entitled, "Bombs Aimed at G.I.’s in Iraq Are Increasing" is the following revelation that I just find infinitely fascinating and, frankly, a bigger news story than the headline:

“Senior administration officials have acknowledged to me that they are considering alternatives other than democracy,” said one military affairs expert who received an Iraq briefing at the White House last month and agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity.

Alternatives other than democracy! I suppose it should come as no surprise. It's clear they've more than considered these same alternatives for the US itself. Why not Iraq too? So we have come full-circle. We are swiftly approaching the point at which the United States of America has sacrificed over 2,600 of its sons and daughters, tens if not hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians, all of it's built-up international goodwill and credibility and, when it's all said and done, over $1-trillion of the national treasury on a project to replace a secular, bloodthirsty dictator with ties to western governments with another secular, bloodthristy dictator(s) with ties to western governments. But it's OK because it's necessary due to WMD, ties to Al Qaeda, freedom, ____________ (insert new rationale here).

So in the end it seems we're planning on giving them exactly what they had before, plus depleted uranium and a nation littered with corpses. It is now official. They really were better off with Saddam. Who knew?


Gabriella said...

Great post! Many people bitched and complained about how unpatriotic it was to assume that the United States would never truly allow the same democracy of the Iraqi people as we have here in the U.S. It doesn't suprise me things have turned out this way, since it was quite clear that we were not going to allow the Iraqi people to choose their own path of government and rule, since the clash of groups would prevent this from being effective. The question is what will happen now. At least under Saddam, it was a rule they knew. They know not how to exist in a democratic government which is a world apart from the rule they have existed under for so long. We are forcing a culture shock upon a people who didn't ask for such a change.

Brian said...

What I think is impressive is the fact that Saddam was able to hold down so much outrage and hatred within his own country. Sure, he had to kill and threaten thousands to do it... but somehow he was not getting too much flack from the press about it. Well, it was a somewhat closed society, so I am not super surprised.

Yes, maybe the only acceptable rule is absolute rule, and it is a mistake to think that people inherently want to be free to choose. But, by the HUGE voter turn-out it might seem otherwise. This could just be a small minority causing huge problems. Time will tell how this can be solved. Perhaps the trouble makers are the ones that were set free out of the Iraqi prisons?? I think as long as Al-Qaeda is kept at bay there, it will solve itself sooner rather than later.