Saturday, March 05, 2005

Mideast perestroika?

Much is being said about fresh winds of democracy which now appear to be blowing across the Arab world in Iraq, Lebanon, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia (1).

Arabs disagree about how much American influence is shaping forces for greater democracy in the Mideast, but they agree that the message of the Bush administration that it will no longer support repressive governments has helped.

Nevertheless, even for Arabs impressed with the January 30th election turnout in Iraq, "the country remains a synonym for frightening, violent chaos," said Ghassan Salame, a former Lebanese cabinet minister, who questions whether "democracy deserves such instability and such a sacrifice of people."

Meanwhile, Americans should ask themselves if these changes couldn't have been achieved without 1500 American casualties, over 11,000 American wounded, the subversion of truth and manipulation of intelligence, and the committing of troops into harms way without a formal declaration of war as required by the Constitution.

Furthermore, movements for democracy in the Mideast have been crushed before. Parliamentary elections allowed in a handful of elections in the 1990's proved ineffectual, and foreign influence has stifled people's desire for democracy in many instances (United States' support for Saddam Hussein just for starters).

Obviously, democracy is the form of government people deserve, but we might also want to ask what is the best way to support democratic movements--with 150,000 troops ready to pull a trigger? Ultimately, the people themselves must have the courage to stand up for their rights.

"You need democrats to produce democracy," said Mr. Salame. "Neither American tanks or domestic institutions can do it, you need democrats."

Furthermore, the Bush administration, and the neocons for whom he is a pliant minion, don't want democracy for the Iraqis. They want democracy for corporations. Long before Bush stole the 2000 and 2004 elections, Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Perlowitz, among others, wanted to destabilize the Middle East so that corporations could plunder its oil and economies (2).

1) Neil MacFarquhar, "Unexpected Whiff of Freedom Proves Bracing for the Mideast", New York Times, 6 March 2005.

2) "Post Iraq II," Realtique, 5 March 2005.


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