Is Democracy Good for the Middle East?

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UPDATE: EVENT MAXED OUT
The Hudson Institute does not have this event noted on its website, but Richard Weitz has assembled an interesting panel discussion regarding Democracy in the Middle East on Monday, 20 November, noon-2 pm that will take place at the Hudson Institute’s offices in Washington.
C-Span will cover the event. It will be taped and broadcast later. C-Span will post the broadcast times on its website.
The speakers include:

Steve Clemons, New America Foundation and The Washington Note
Joshua Muravchik, American Enterprise Institute
Marina Ottaway, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Lee Smith, Hudson Institute
S. Enders Wimbush, Hudson Institute (moderator)

Although he can’t accept any more RSVPs, Richard Weitz is happy to put TWN readers on Hudson’s event distribution list. You can contact him at weitz@hudson.org.

— Steve Clemons

Comments

41 comments on “Is Democracy Good for the Middle East?

  1. Homer says:

    POA: The real irony here is that Israel was far better off with Saddam next door than it will be if a Shiite dominated government in Iraq decides to hold hands with Iran.
    Yes, far better off.
    They are screwed from many fronts now.
    If?
    Judging by the latest polls, which indicate Iraqis are ready to expulse the US, there is no if between Iran and USA.
    With the Al Dawa, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq, and Al Sadr, there is no *if*.
    The first two have over twenty plus years of co-operation with Iran.
    Back to design……Wolfowitz was a student of Strauss. For some reason I just find it un-believable that as a Straussian he would be posing all the years, doing head fakes, mass producing red herrings, etc. all for the sake of the secret purpose of chaos. He, like other members of the PNAC were quite serious about spreading democracy with the US military.
    From the PNAC:
    We seem to have forgotten the essential elements of the Reagan Administration’s success: a military that is strong and ready to meet both present and future challenges; a foreign policy that boldly and purposefully promotes American principles abroad; and national leadership that accepts the United States’ global responsibilities.
    [snip]
    Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today. Here are four consequences:
    • we need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global responsibilities today and modernize our armed forces for the future;
    • we need to strengthen our ties to democratic allies and to challenge regimes hostile to our interests and values;
    • we need to promote the cause of political and economic freedom abroad;
    • we need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles.
    Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and moral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the successes of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness in the next.

    Reply

  2. Pissed Off American says:

    “If the Neocons did all this to pit Sunnis vs the Shiites, to force an internecine war in which many many die, all I can say is that they are evil fuckin geniuses”
    You haven’t taken that concept far enough. You need to take it to the point where the entire region erupts in chaos, neccessitating massive western military “intervention”. If in fact the current situation is by design, THAT is the logical goal of such a plot.
    And you are right. Israel will be in far worse shape if Bush’s definition of “victory” is realized, because just by virtue of doing the math, in a true democracy the majority will prevail. And, as you are fond of pointing out, the Shiite are the majority. That is precisely why Bush’s idea of “victory” will never be realized. Israel simply will not allow a Shiite theocracy to exist right next door to them, even if such a theocracy is intially founded upon a democratic process.
    In the time of Bremer, when Bush’s design was looting the assets of the Iraqis through privatization, imposed by unretractable provisions installed in the first draft constitution, I do not believe the chaos was by design. I believe that as Sistani realized his country was being looted by these provisions, he realized the power of the majority, and was able to successfully block the installation of these provisions within the constitution. Whether he did it by threat of widespread violence, or by back room negotiations, who knows? But, regardless, when the privatization plans were derailed, and Bremer was brought home for his failures, (For which he recieved the Presidential Medal Of Freedom. ironically. Bush just can’t seem to be able to resist rewarding failure after labeling it “success”.), the die was cast for the Shiite majority to start flexing its muscle. And, in my belief, the die was also cast for Israel to start the process of blocking the Shiite efforts to control the political process and the destination of that political process.
    If anyone thinks that Israel is not trying to manipulate and control events in Iraq through covert operations, than they have not been paying attention to how Israel operates.
    The real irony here is that Israel was far better off with Saddam next door than it will be if a Shiite dominated government in Iraq decides to hold hands with Iran.

    Reply

  3. Homer says:

    Carroll,
    The “Clean Break” I read did not even use the word “Kurd”-. Perhaps you can post some excerpts from the original?
    The “Clean Break” I read is about `rolling back’ Syria by deposing SH.
    I can’t think of a single ME expert who would share your view that the chaos in the ME was intended. Your position is precisely the opposite of so many paid professionals.
    Please, post a link or two and I will happily read them.
    Israel is in a far worse position now than it has been in a long time, whereas Iran is in an excellent position. Fundamentalist Muslims have grabbed power throughout the ME thru the legitimate means of voting. The Iraq, Syria, and Iran axis is not healthy for Israel
    This cannot be by design.
    BUT: If the Neocons did all this to pit Sunnis vs the Shiites, to force an internecine war in which many many die, all I can say is that they are evil fuckin geniuses
    ______________________________
    Iraq’s fate hanging on a new axis
    By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
    While the US is actively exploring alternative options to salvage its intervention in Iraq, regional realities are dictating their own dynamic, not necessarily in tune with the United States’ objectives. Slowly but surely, a new realignment is shaping up that is making Washington nervous – a Tehran-Baghdad-Damascus
    SPIEGEL INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD HAASS
    “Iraq Is Not Winnable”
    Haass: Visions of a new Middle East that is peaceful, prosperous and democratic will not be realized. Much more likely is the emergence of a new Middle East that will cause great harm to itself and the world. Iran will be a powerful state in the region, a classical imperial power. No viable peace process between Israel and the Palestinians is likely for the foreseeable future. Militias will emerge throughout the region, terrorism will grow in sophistication, tensions between Sunni and Shia will increase, causing problems in countries with divided societies, such as Bahrain, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. Islam will fill the political and intellectual vacuum. Iraq at best will remain messy for years to come, with a weak central government, a divided society and sectarian violence. At worst, it will become a failed state racked by all-out civil war that will draw in its neighbors.
    The New Middle East
    Richard N. Haass
    From Foreign Affairs, November/December 2006
    Summary: The age of U.S. dominance in the Middle East has ended and a new era in the modern history of the region has begun. It will be shaped by new actors and new forces competing for influence, and to master it, Washington will have to rely more on diplomacy than on military might.
    Can Democracy Stop Terrorism?
    F. Gregory Gause III
    From Foreign Affairs, September/October 2005
    Summary: The Bush administration contends that the push for democracy in the Muslim world will improve U.S. security. But this premise is faulty: there is no evidence that democracy reduces terrorism. Indeed, a democratic Middle East would probably result in Islamist governments unwilling to cooperate with Washington.

    Reply

  4. winnipeger says:

    “However the surge among other countries going ahead with talks and proposals on the Isr/Pal conflict without either the US or Israeli imput means the rest of the world is serious about putting an end to this.”
    …and without the involvement and input of the US and ESPECIALLY israel and the palestinian leadership, there cannot be a settlement.
    this is just common sense. until both parties agree to negotiate and, in the end, compromise the conflict will continue.
    and please don’t focus ALL of your disdain on israel in regards to this process. the palestinian leadership has rarely if ever lived up to its responsibilities as a negotiating partner.

    Reply

  5. Carroll says:

    The prime minister hopes the Jewish lobby can rally a Democratic majority in the new Congress to counter any diversion from the status quo on the Palestinians.
    Posted by Pissed Off American at November 21, 2006 12:37 AM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I think they probably can. I also think though that now with Iran added to Israel’s demands, if they continue, the question of the “lobby” among the public will multiply a thousand times over. Olmert and Bibi’s war tour in the US has probably added another whole chapter to Walt and Mearsheimer’s forthcoming book.
    However the surge among other countries going ahead with talks and proposals on the Isr/Pal conflict without either the US or Israeli imput means the rest of the world is serious about putting an end to this.
    Whichever way all of this goes the shit is going to hit the fan if the dems continue past policy regarding Isr and the ME. The public had a taste of political blood in this election and liked it. I think a war with Iran or any more involvement in the ME will produce the long overdue shakeup of both political parties in the US.

    Reply

  6. Carroll says:

    All the Neocons, old and new, should be renditioned to Iraq where they can live in the mess they created.
    Sound fair?
    Posted by Homer at November 20, 2006 09:26 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Sounds fair to me.
    But I still to think that the chaos in Iraq was deliberate for a couple of reasons. First, the Cheney-Isr-Neo goal was to break Iraq into three seperate states. The FT reported early on about that plan. The benefit was to have been a seperate Kurd state (with oil) that was friendly to Israel. That outcome was also a goal of the original “Clean Break Plan”. In order to acheive that you would have to have a reason to justify it, like a civil war, exactly what is going on now. Second they didn’t want any allience between powerful and oil rich Iran and oil rich Iraq once it was self governing. So I guess you can now say that that part of their chaos plan backfired bigtime.
    If is wasn’t deliberate how do we account for the refusal of the US to discuss “post invasion” plans with their main ally, England. Many reports were published about Blair’s concern that the US hadn’t prepared any post plans, even though every country involved, including the UN had asked for such plans and even offered to help.
    I read many public reports by experts on Iraq before the invasion warning that just such chaos would happen once Saddams’s iron hand was removed. It was just too much of a concern and talked about too much to have been met with stone cold silence by the WH and pentagon if that was not their intention.
    “Incompetence”…”we made a “mistake’..all that rot is for public comsumption.

    Reply

  7. Pissed Off American says:

    Hmmmmmm…….
    Looks to me like someone needs to look up the definition of the word “synonymous”.
    http://tinyurl.com/y3lcs7
    “Olmert Counting on Jewish Lobby to foil Baker-Hamilton”
    However, Olmert is foiling any possible progress on this track: On his way home from Los Angeles, the prime minister “calmed” the reporters – and perhaps even himself – by saying there is no danger of U.S. President George W. Bush accepting the expected recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton panel, and attempting to move Syria out of the axis of evil and into a coalition to extricate America from Iraq. The prime minister hopes the Jewish lobby can rally a Democratic majority in the new Congress to counter any diversion from the status quo on the Palestinians.

    Reply

  8. Pissed Off American says:

    Well, the only feasible realm of possibility…
    (if the “victory” Bush describes is sincere, (haha), “an Iraqi government that can stand on its own”)
    …….is a Shiite dominated theocracy under Sharia law, closely allied with Iran. Ergo, the Israelis will NEVER allow “victory” in Iraq, as described by Bush. So, draw your own conclusions about the likelyhood of this current government being able to “stand on its own”.

    Reply

  9. Pissed Off American says:

    Well, the only feasible realm of possibility…
    (if the “victory” Bush describes is sincere, (haha), “an Iraqi government that can stand on its own”)
    …….is a Shiite dominated theocracy under Sharia law, closely allied with Iran. Ergo, the Israelis will NEVER allow “victory” in Iraq, as described by Bush. So, draw your own conclusions about the likelyhood of this current government being able to “stand on its own”.

    Reply

  10. John says:

    I find it entirely plausible that “neocons spent the prime of their lives writing bogus papers, giving speeches filled with red herrings, founding fake think tanks, etc.” They were compensated handsomely to do it.
    To put it bluntly, neocons are mostly hired pens, paid to put lipstick on a pig. The pig is America grabbing for domination of world energy sources and distribution routes. Put in terms of naked American power and greed, most Americans would find their government’s behavior reprehensible, at least until they reconciled themselves to the fact that filling their gas tanks trumps their moral values.
    If they want to succeed, politicians will do everything in their power to maintain their constituents self-esteem. That’s why we’re in Iraq, not for energy, but for freedom, democracy and human rights.
    I find it sad that so many people waste so much time debating the prospects for democracy in the Middle East–so much hot air. The only redeeming outcome would be to create expectations so high that policymakers actually had to create conditions for democracy rather than talking about democracy while behaving autocratically.

    Reply

  11. Homer says:

    RichF: It doesn’t appear that a stable Iraq was the goal. It’s just common sense observation.
    Carroll: I have never thought it was either.
    You actually think that old school Neocons spent the prime of their lives writing bogus papers, giving speeches filled with red herrings, founding fake think tanks, etc. ?
    You really think all that they ever wrote, said, and acted on in re to democratizing the ME was some sort of head fake and that their real goal was chaos?
    I like what you smoke.
    No: The ever unfolding debacle in the ME is due to incompetence in language, culture, history, etc.
    All the Neocons, old and new, should be renditioned to Iraq where they can live in the mess they created.
    Sound fair?

    Reply

  12. Carroll says:

    It doesn’t appear that a stable Iraq was the goal. It’s just common sense observation.
    Posted by RichF at November 20, 2006 08:51 AM
    >>>>>>>
    I have never thought it was either.
    Iraq is a lot like 911…you have only two choices about what to believe..that it was deliberate or that the entire US goverment is incompetent.

    Reply

  13. Pissed Off American says:

    BTW Steve, you are hanging with some real winners. How about that Muravchik clown, eh?
    CONFRONTING IRAN
    Bomb Iran
    Diplomacy is doing nothing to stop the Iranian nuclear threat; a show of force is the only answer.
    By Joshua Muravchik, JOSHUA MURAVCHIK is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
    November 19, 2006
    WE MUST bomb Iran.
    It has been four years since that country’s secret nuclear program was brought to light, and the path of diplomacy and sanctions has led nowhere.
    First, we agreed to our allies’ requests that we offer Tehran a string of concessions, which it spurned. Then, Britain, France and Germany wanted to impose a batch of extremely weak sanctions. For instance, Iranians known to be involved in nuclear activities would have been barred from foreign travel — except for humanitarian or religious reasons — and outside countries would have been required to refrain from aiding some, but not all, Iranian nuclear projects.
    continues at……..
    http://tinyurl.com/y3fqtu
    So Steve, how about a comment from you? Are you now feeding the animals, against the better advice of those of us with the common sense to know which animals we are far better off allowing to starve to death?
    Remember Den’s comments about “monsters” Steve? Well…are you now going to tell this forum what a saint Muravchik is?
    Bomb Iran, my ass. We have troops doing their THIRD God damned tour of duty in Iraq. (How would YOU like to be some young grunt on the ground watching your odds of surviving decreasing with every deployment, Steve?)Do these crazy fuckers like Muravchik REALLY think this country can afford another neo-con/zionist act of imperialism?
    Bomb Iran, my ass. We are seeing the same kind of Bush and Israeli claims of Iran’s nuclear program that we saw coming from these liars about Iraq’s WMD programs. The same kind of disdain for the actual intelligence that belies the claims of these fanatics like Bolton or Muravchik.
    If you are in the same room as Muravchik, Steve, and you aren’t rubbing the blathering idiot’s face in reality, than you ain’t doing your patriotic duty.
    But wait, didn’t the CIA just say that……..
    CIA analysis finds no Iranian nuclear weapons drive:
    report Sat Nov 18, 11:18 PM ET
    WASHINGTON (AFP) – A classifed draft CIA assessment has found no firm evidence of a secret drive by Iran to develop nuclear weapons, as alleged by the White House, a top US investigative reporter has said.
    continues at…….
    http://tinyurl.com/y9ttlf
    So Steve, how about a comment from you? Are you now feeding the animals, against the better advice of those of us with the common sense to know which animals we are far better off allowing to starve to death?
    Remember Den’s comments about “monsters” Steve? Well…are you now going to tell this forum what a saint Muravchik is?
    Bomb Iran, my ass. We have troops doing their THIRD God damned tour of duty in Iraq. (How would YOU like to be some young grunt on the ground watching your odds of surviving decreasing with every deployment, Steve?)Do these crazy fuckers like Muravchik REALLY think this country can afford another neo-con/zionist act of imperialism?
    Bomb Iran, my ass. We are seeing the same kind of Bush and Israeli claims of Iran’s nuclear program that we saw coming from these liars about Iraq’s WMD programs. The same kind of disdain for the actual intelligence that belies the claims of these fanatics like Bolton or Muravchik.
    If you are in the same room as Muravchik, Steve, and you aren’t rubbing the blathering idiot’s face in reality, than you ain’t doing your patriotic duty.

    Reply

  14. RichF says:

    Interesting. I’ve been reading the different references to US covert ops going on inside Iran — Sy Hersh’s accounts, for one.
    What’s the probability that Shiite death squads moved into action to counter-act that very covert assault on Iran’s internal stability? The timeline of events is about right.
    Does anybody know who specifically bombed the golden mosque? (of Samarra?) It doesn’t take a genius to realize there’ve been many acts of outright provocation. It doesn’t appear that a stable Iraq was the goal. It’s just common sense observation.
    Starting right from the moment Gen. Jay Garner was yanked outta Bagdhad.

    Reply

  15. Carroll says:

    http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/061127fa_fact
    Sy Hersh’s latest on the forces at work for attacking or overthrowing Iran.
    Since Hersh has been right more often than he has been wrong I tend to think he is worth listening to.
    I had read the other day that the pentagon under Rumfeld gets 80% of the US intelligence budget, cutting the CIA down to only getting 20%. Someone convince me that the Pentagon and Israel didn’t get some of that missing 90 billion in Iraq to finance the joint Israeli-US covert ops they have going on against Iran. I would bet on it. No one steals that much money without having an inside and no one can hide that much money except a goverment.
    He also mentions once again that all this is going on without any knowledge or oversight from congress…another reason why the pentagon would have a huge secret slush fund to carry out all this.
    Anyway read the whole thing..it’s the same ploy they used to get us into Iraq.

    Reply

  16. Pissed Off American says:

    Posted by DJpjb
    Gads. Can’t this guy pick a screen name and stick with it? Who does he think he is fooling?

    Reply

  17. DJpjb says:

    “These people are the real America haters, they must be destroyed by any means possible before it is too late for everyone.”
    Posted by Carroll at November 19, 2006 02:32 PM
    Go get ’em, Carroll! Didn’t you mention something about “ripping out the Israeli’s intestines and shoving them down their throats”?
    Do it in the name of ending atrocities and torture!
    Oh, the irony.

    Reply

  18. MP says:

    Carroll writes: “Two of the truest things…Israel’s goverment ALWAYS LIES about their actions..every single time.”
    Maybe you could point us to a government that DOESN’T lie. Especially in that region.

    Reply

  19. Carroll says:

    Posted by RichF at November 18, 2006 11:33 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>.
    Hard hitting article.
    Two of the truest things…Israel’s goverment ALWAYS LIES about their actions..every single time.
    And..
    “It’s all beyond comprehension,”
    And what is really beyond comprehension it that my country constantly defends everything Israel does, when if any other country was doing it they would be on the axis of evil list.
    It is the most bizarre aberration in the history of this country that we now support torture, inhuman weapons and violations of international law and everything we have taken a stand against for 230 years.
    It’s a strain of insanity and corruption, whether among the Israelis, their supporters in the US, the neo’s, this adm and congress, it has to be wiped out.
    Every time they “commit” atrocities like torture in Iraq or “defend” atrocities by Israel in Palestine or Lebanon they defile America.
    These people are the real America haters, they must be destroyed by any means possible before it is too late for everyone.

    Reply

  20. homer says:

    MP: My sense is that the situation in Iraq is very fluid.
    No. It is as hard as steel. The Baathist are gone. There are no secular powers that are real in Iraq. The fundamentalist Shiites were booted from Iraq during SH’s rein. By deposing SH, Pres. Bush caused the perfect conditions for them to come back from Iran and Syria and to seize the reins of power. By holding `an election’, the Iraqi govt is comprised of Shiite fundies. One such faction is the “Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq” (sic!!).
    MP: I haven’t read much about the Dawa Party.
    Well, most people have not. The MSM, this time around, has completely failed to display the qualities of the Iraqi govt and the groups that comprise it.
    Al Dawa was actively covered in the 1980s, i.e. when they were an enemy aligned with Iran, when it was OK for Saddam Hussein to murder Iran-friendly Iraqi Shiites.
    Here……
    Beirut Bombers Seen Front for Iranian-Supported Shiite Faction, The Washington Post, January 4, 1984
    The terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the bombing of the U.S. Marine compound and the French military headquarters here may be a front for an exiled Iraqi Shiite opposition party based in Iran, in the view of a number of Arab and western diplomatic sources.
    Authorities in Kuwait say their questioning of suspects in the recent bombing there of the U.S. and French embassies indicates a clear link between Islamic Jihad, a shadowy group that says it carried out the Beirut attacks, and Al Dawa Islamiyah, the main source of resistance to the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
    Al Dawa (The Call) has been outlawed in Iraq, where it wants to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state to replace the secular Baath Socialist government of Saddam Hussein, who is a Sunni Moslem.
    It draws its strength from the large Shiite population in southern Iraq. Thousands of its most militant members were expelled to Iran in 1980 before the outbreak of the Iranian-Iraqi war and joined Al Dawa there. But it also has a large following in Lebanon among Iraqi exiles and sympathetic Lebanese Shiites.
    While Al Dawa operates out of Tehran, it is not clear whether its activities abroad are under direct Iranian control or merely have Iran’s tacit acceptance.

    Reply

  21. MP says:

    POA writes:
    “Well, the UN is trying to condemn it. But Israel and Bolton, (the USA), have teamed up to convince the world that Israel and the United States can simply commit ANY atrocity, ANY human rights abuse, ANY international war crime, if it just simply justifies it by tying it to this fantasy called “The Global War on Terror”.
    MP: I don’t support Bolton or the US blocking this resolution. Nor do I support the GWOT as it’s being waged.
    Carroll and I condemn it. And in response we are answered with accusations of being “anti-semitic”. We are consistently stalked and harrassed online by the likes of Winnipeger. Links and sources we post to buttress our comments are ignored, or the information contained is cherry picked of all relevant points with purposeful to deflect the debate to inanities and irrelevancies.
    MP: I have not called you anti-Semites and have said, specifically, that I believe you are not. (I have said that Carroll’s severe downplaying of the role of anti-Semitism in the world and in this mess is curious, to say the least.) I have read most of your links. But I’m not under any obligation to bow down to you or your links, just because you’ve posted them.
    And in turn we are criticised and insulted when we question the patriotism and morals of our representatives who have unflinchingly supported Israel’s criminal prosecution of numerous war crimes and human rights abuses in Gaza and Lebanon. And we are told that the entities that solicit that support are nothing more than harmless lobbies, little more than John Doe, middle America, visiting Washington to solicit funds for a food bank in Podunk, ohio.
    MP: I’m not a supporter of AIPAC insofar as it supports a hard right wing position. However, even M&W admit in their article that AIPAC operates much like any other lobby, though they are much more effective and much more serious. No rep is compelled to take AIPAC money and AIPAC cannot defeat candidates all on its own, except in the usual way, by supporting a candidate’s opponent. The voters decide who gets in, not AIPAC. AIPAC is VERY effective at marshalling its resources. Unfortunately, here and elsewhere, AIPAC are portrayed as the bogeyman with magical powers to control events. Sorry, not true. And, unfortunately, this argument bears a strong resemblance to classic anti-Semitic portrays of Jews as the hidden rulers of the world. Any rep is free to take AIPAC money, or not, and vote his conscience. Period.
    “If true”, MP asserts. What about the undeniables?? What about carpeting Lebanon with cluster munitions? What about the ADMITTED use of phosphorous weapons? What about rabid non-diplomat so called Americans like Bolton throwing hissy fits at the UN because a resolution gets passed by THE WORLD COMMUNITY that states the assembly “regrets” the deaths of innocent civilians? Is it now “anti-semitic” to “regret” the deaths of innocent civilians?
    MP: I condemn the use of phospherous weapons and cluster bombs in no uncertain terms. However, left out of the discussion is Hezbollah’s rearming and their role and intentions in this dispute. I find that odd. Also, no mention is ever made of Syria’s 27-year occupation of Lebanon, while much is made of Israel’s supposed designs on southern Lebanon, the Litani River, and their “role” in the blowing up of the Marine barracks. Israel is simply portrayed as the demon. Sorry, but I can’t buy that, even when Israel is terribly wrong.
    As Israel continues its overflights of Lebanon, and continues to push the limits of the cease fire to the breaking point, will Bolton demand that Israel observe UN resolutions, as he so often tries to use as an incentive to condemn Muslim countries? Are UN Resolutions to be observed by everyone EXCEPT Israel? Is it a crime to lob a missile into Jerusalem, but an act of defense to kill Muslim families in their sleep?
    MP: I hadn’t noticed that Hezbollah was observing the UN resolution. Lebanon doesn’t even have a treaty with Israel, established by the UN in 1948. Hezbollah and its activities are a constant provocation and they are intended to be–Hezbollah believes in the destruction of Israel–and the rest of Lebanon seems hard pressed to restrain them in any way. But no mention of that here.
    How soon will those such as MP cease using the “if true” defense for their support of Israeli crimes, hoping that if they focus on the unproven allegations they can deflect from the indisputable truths?
    MP: It’s not an “if true” defense of crimes. I don’t think it’s too much to demand that Israel’s be proven before I condemn them. Some people believe and say that Israel’s mere existence is a crime–one reason this dispute has gone on so long–but I’m not one of them.

    Reply

  22. Pissed Off American says:

    Here is a fairly interesting read on the concept of Sharia law versus a democratic system. In truth, Saddam seemed to be able to hold Iraq together while still avoiding a Shiite mandated system of Sharia law. Unfortunately for Bush’s ill stated charades of altruism, Saddam also managed to kill far less people while keeping radical Islam at bay. There are a few hundred thousand dead Iraqis that I would wager would far rather be home cooking dinner under Saddam’s government, than rotting on the streets of Bagdad or Ramadi.
    With those such as Sistani or Sadr pulling the strings, you can bet your ass the inevitibkle resulot is a Shiite Theocracy living under the oppression of Sharia law. Unless, of course we “stay the course”, and keep killing, and killing, and killing, and killing…….
    September 06, 2005, 8:22 a.m.
    A Not So Sensible Iraqi Constitution
    Pace Charles Krauthammer, the proposal’s Islamist influence is not mild.
    In his Washington Post column last Friday, the invaluable Charles Krauthammer takes to task those of us “knee-jerk critics” who have not been high on the proposed Iraqi constitution — despite admitting to his own doubts about the enterprise. With great respect, it is not his finest hour, particularly when he addresses the role of Islam.
    continues at..
    http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200509060822.asp

    Reply

  23. MP says:

    Homer writes: “I am looking for a description of the Iraqi govt. If these folks established a theocracy?”
    My sense is that the situation in Iraq is very fluid. I don’t think there is a “government” per se, so it would be hard for me to characterize it one way or another–though I do think that a Shiite theocracy is a strong possibility. I’m not an expert, but someone looking from (way) outside in. So, I’m probably not the right person to ask. But thanks for the links; I’ll look into them. I haven’t read much about the Dawa Party.

    Reply

  24. Pissed Off America says:

    “assuming the content here is true, it is disgusted and should be condemned by all citizens of the world.”
    Posted by MP
    Well, the UN is trying to condemn it. But Israel and Bolton, (the USA), have teamed up to convince the world that Israel and the United States can simply commit ANY atrocity, ANY human rights abuse, ANY international war crime, if it just simply justifies it by tying it to this fantasy called “The Global War on Terror”.
    Carroll and I condemn it. And in response we are answered with accusations of being “anti-semitic”. We are consistently stalked and harrassed online by the likes of Winnipeger. Links and sources we post to buttress our comments are ignored, or the information contained is cherry picked of all relevant points with purposeful to deflect the debate to inanities and irrelevancies.
    And in turn we are criticised and insulted when we question the patriotism and morals of our representatives who have unflinchingly supported Israel’s criminal prosecution of numerous war crimes and human rights abuses in Gaza and Lebanon. And we are told that the entities that solicit that support are nothing more than harmless lobbies, little more than John Doe, middle America, visiting Washington to solicit funds for a food bank in Podunk, ohio.
    “If true”, MP asserts. What about the undeniables?? What about carpeting Lebanon with cluster munitions? What about the ADMITTED use of phosphorous weapons? What about rabid non-diplomat so called Americans like Bolton throwing hissy fits at the UN because a resolution gets passed by THE WORLD COMMUNITY that states the assembly “regrets” the deaths of innocent civilians? Is it now “anti-semitic” to “regret” the deaths of innocent civilians?
    As Israel continues its overflights of Lebanon, and continues to push the limits of the cease fire to the breaking point, will Bolton demand that Israel observe UN resolutions, as he so often tries to use as an incentive to condemn Muslim countries? Are UN Resolutions to be observed by everyone EXCEPT Israel? Is it a crime to lob a missile into Jerusalem, but an act of defense to kill Muslim families in their sleep?
    How soon will those such as MP cease using the “if true” defense for their support of Israeli crimes, hoping that if they focus on the unproven allegations they can deflect from the indisputable truths?

    Reply

  25. homer says:

    MP: Not entirely sure what you’re looking for here [snip] However, if these folks established a theocracy–that is, a government governed according to religious law and further a Shiite interpretation of that law
    I am looking for a description of the Iraqi govt.
    If these folks established a theocracy?
    [I]t does seem to me that Iraq is in danger of becoming a Shiite-dominated theocracy?
    What exactly do you think has occured politically in Iraq?
    Who do you think is holding the reins of power?
    Do you know anything about the Al Dawa party of Al Maliki?
    Here are a few links that detail the `democratically elected theocracy’ in Iraq and capture the essense of some of the previous actions of the Al Dawa party. (Keywords: Al Dawa, Islamic Fundamentalism, Sharia, Iran and Iraq, terrorism, US Embassy attack)
    1) Iraq: Bush’s Islamic Republic
    By Peter W. Galbraith
    NYRB, Volume 52, Number 13 · August 11, 2005
    [snip]
    SCIRI and Dawa want Iraq to be an Islamic state. They propose to make Islam the principal source of law, which most immediately would affect the status of women. For Muslim women, religious law—rather than Iraq’s relatively progressive civil code—would govern personal status, including matters relating to marriage, divorce, property, and child custody. A Dawa draft for the Iraqi constitution would limit religious freedom for non-Muslims, and apparently deny such freedom altogether to peoples not “of the book,” such as the Yezidis (a significant minority in Kurdistan), Zoroastrians, and Bahais.
    This program is not just theoretical. Since Saddam’s fall, Shiite religious parties have had de facto control over Iraq’s southern cities. There Iranian-style religious police enforce a conservative Islamic code, including dress codes and bans on alcohol and other non-Islamic behavior. In most cases, the religious authorities govern—and legislate—without authority from Baghdad, and certainly without any reference to the freedoms incorporated in Iraq’s American-written interim constitution—the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL)
    2) Large Turnout Reported For 1st Iraqi Vote Since ’58 The Washington Post, June 21, 1980
    In another development today, Al Dawa, a clandestine Iraqi fundamentalist Moslem organization, claimed responsibility for yesterday’s grenade attack on the British Embassy here in which three gunmen reportedly were killed.
    An Al Dawa spokesman told Agence France-Presse by phone that the attack was a “punitive operation against a center of British and American plotters.”
    3) SHULTZ SEES LINK BETWEEN BEIRUT, KUWAIT ATTACKS OFFICIALS IDENTIFY MAN WHO DROVE TRUCK BOMB, The Miami Herald, December 14, 1983
    Secretary of State George Shultz said Tuesday that there “quite likely” was a link between the U.S. Embassy bombing in Kuwait and attacks on American facilities in Lebanon. He warned of possible retaliation.
    (snip)
    The sources said the investigators matched the prints on the fingers with those on file with Kuwaiti authorities and
    tentatively identified the assailant as Raed Mukbil, an Iraqi automobile mechanic who lived in Kuwait and was a member of Hezb Al Dawa, a fundamentalist Iraqi Shiite Moslem group based in Iran.

    Reply

  26. MP says:

    Sorry…”disgusting.”

    Reply

  27. MP says:

    RichF writes: Little light reading for y’all.
    Assuming the content here is true, it is disgusted and should be condemned by all citizens of the world.

    Reply

  28. MP says:

    Homer writes: “I cannot wait for your response to mine below. Please bear with me while I set it up with some hard facts. You are going to respond are you not?”
    Not entirely sure what you’re looking for here, but I’ll take a stab at it. It certainly would be possible for the Iraqi Shiites to elect a government of all Shiites. However, if these folks established a theocracy–that is, a government governed according to religious law and further a Shiite interpretation of that law–then the democratic origins of the government would be wiped out by its policies whose purpose would be to force all people, regardless of religion or sect, to follow Shiite interpretations of Islamic law. So the democratically elected Shiite government would be setting up an undemocratic theocracy.
    I can’t speak to the factual accuracy of the assertions in your post, but it does seem to me that Iraq is in danger of becoming a Shiite-dominated theocracy. But I wouldn’t wager on any predictions about Iraq.

    Reply

  29. erichwwk says:

    Marcia:
    A doable first step might be to not fund the “Reliable Replacement Warhead” (RRW) and the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) facility at Los Alamos.
    As long as we defy UN Resolution #1, and insist on being the sole nuclear power, it deludes us into believing might is the way to security and prosperity, while giving incumbent politicians a lucrative source of “no bid” funding that contributes to maintaining this illusion.
    http://www.eldoradosun.com/Mello.htm
    http://lasg.org/campaigns/PUPitProd.htm
    http://tinyurl.com/rq3sc
    As Einstein said “One cannot simultaneously prepare for war and for peace.”

    Reply

  30. Marcia says:

    “It seems that the United States and its allies were blinded by possibilities in Iraq: freeing the Iraqi people of a brutal regime; ensuring that a hostile dictator did not possess weapons of mass destruction; and creating a democratic government in the Middle East. The US-led coalition was determined to pursue those ambitious objectives despite a lack of broad support for pre-emptive military action and warnings that state-building would be fraught with difficulties. Those have now become painfully clear and the lofty aims have given way to a desperate effort to arrest a downward spiral towards chaos across much of the country.”
    No honest discussion can take place founded on dishonest premises.
    This administration was never blinded. The pyramid of public lies that culminated in Powell’s show at the UN was executed by all the cabinet members in every public appearance. The association of false facts, deliberately repeated in various forms to instill fear and stifle reflection was the leitimotiv of every performance from the President on down.
    This invasion was undertaken for control of the ME oil reserves, was supposed to have established American world hegemony and protect Israel. The plan to withdraw troups from Saudi Arabia to Iraq in permanent bases, the mega embassy was common knowledge and the object of discussion at dinner parties world-wide..
    How anyone can believe this administration places any value whatsoever on democracy while witnessing the dismantling of our own society seems pure illusion.
    The shifting reasons given to the public by Bush and Blair to justifiy their military actions were astounding only in that the press and public swallowed them hook line and sinker.
    Now the situation is a disaster and this mottley crew of fossilized thugs from the Bush 41
    gang have come out of retirement to try to save, “American Interests.”
    If past behavor is any indication of future action, the administration’s should be change the subject, instill fear, create or take advantage of conditions that allow consolidation of power. Is this possible now that they have their backs to the wall? They most certainly will not give up all that oil without a fight but we should be spared the song and dance about democracy.
    If there is any sane person out there, who is not a member or major stockholder of an oil company or in Nethanyahou’s inner circle, with an idea of how to get out of this military, political and human tragedy, now is the time!

    Reply

  31. Homer says:

    MP: Does the term “democratically elected theocracy” really make sense except MAYBE in a society where everyone is of the same religion and the same strain of the same religion?
    Great question!
    I cannot wait for your response to mine below. Please bear with me while I set it up with some hard facts. You are going to respond are you not?
    During the twenty plus years prior to the deposing of Saddam Hussein, Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq tried through violent means to overthrow Saddam Hussein and transform Iraq into a Shiite fundamentalist state. (see below)
    Thanks to the democratic election, Al Dawa and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution of Iraq (sic!!), and Muqtada Al Sadr for that matter, are in fact holding the real reins of governmental power in Iraq.
    They are all Shiite fundamentalists functioning with power due to a democratic election.
    With these facts in mind, how would you describe the govt of Iraq which has extremely close and long standing ties to the Mullahs of Iran?
    It sure as hell ain’t secular.
    It sure as hell ain’t pro-Western, pro-Israel, etc.
    Here’s some info on Al Dawa….
    Looking fwd to your response MP…
    1) Message From Iran Triggered Bombing Spree In Kuwait, The Washington Post, February 3, 1984
    Al Dawa, for example, is no household name in the United States.
    But it is a name important to this story.
    It leads us back to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the ruling figure in Iran; to Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, the militant Lebanese Shiite leader who has been implicated–despite his denials–in the Marine and French bombings in Beirut; to Hussein Musawi, Fadlallah’s strong-arm lieutenant; to the Hakim brothers in Iran and their connections to the Middle East terrorism industry.
    2) Baalbek Seen As Staging Area For Terrorism, The Washington Post, January 9, 1984
    Al Dawa, according to Arab and western sources, is believed to have had a role in the Oct. 23 suicide bomb attacks on the U.S. Marine and French military compounds in Beirut.
    3) Beirut Bombers Seen Front for Iranian-Supported Shiite Faction, The Washington Post, January 4, 1984
    The terrorist group that claimed responsibility for the bombing of the U.S. Marine compound and the French military headquarters here may be a front for an exiled Iraqi Shiite opposition party based in Iran, in the view of a number of Arab and western diplomatic sources.
    Authorities in Kuwait say their questioning of suspects in the recent bombing there of the U.S. and French embassies indicates a clear link between Islamic Jihad, a shadowy group that says it carried out the Beirut attacks, and Al Dawa Islamiyah, the main source of resistance to the government of Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
    Al Dawa (The Call) has been outlawed in Iraq, where it wants to establish a fundamentalist Islamic state to replace the secular Baath Socialist government of Saddam Hussein, who is a Sunni Moslem.
    It draws its strength from the large Shiite population in southern Iraq. Thousands of its most militant members were expelled to Iran in 1980 before the outbreak of the Iranian-Iraqi war and joined Al Dawa there. But it also has a large following in Lebanon among Iraqi exiles and sympathetic Lebanese Shiites.
    While Al Dawa operates out of Tehran, it is not clear whether its activities abroad are under direct Iranian control or merely have Iran’s tacit acceptance.
    4) 10 Pro-Iranian Shiites Held in Kuwait Bombings, The Washington Post December 19, 1983
    Kuwait announced yesterday the arrest of 10 Shiite Moslems with ties to Iran in terrorist bombings that killed four people and wounded 66 last Monday at the U.S. Embassy and other targets.
    “All 10 have admitted involvement in the incidents as well as participating in planning the blasts,” Abdul Aziz Hussein, minister of state for Cabinet affairs, told reporters after a Cabinet session, United Press International reported.
    Hussein said the seven Iraqis and three Lebanese were members of the Al Dawa party, a radical Iraqi Shiite Moslem group with close ties to Iran.

    Reply

  32. MP says:

    Homer asks: “Should it not be regarding “Democratically Elected Theocracies in the Middle East”?”
    Does the term “democratically elected theocracy” really make sense except MAYBE in a society where everyone is of the same religion and the same strain of the same religion?
    Seems to me that religion is, by definition, undemocratic. You can’t vote on “ultimate truth.”
    If someone is enlightened or filled with grace or a sage, they haven’t been voted into that state–and their authority doesn’t come from people agreeing or disagreeing with them.

    Reply

  33. km4 says:

    Hmmm is Bush/Cheney Cleptocracy Good for the Middle East?
    “We do not have the God-given right to shape every nation in our image or as we choose”.
    Bush vs. Robert McNamara’s Lessons from Vietnam
    Bush
    • freedom takes time to trump hatred.
    McNamara’s 11 lessons from “The Fog of War”
    • We misjudged then — and we have since — the geopolitical intentions of our adversaries … and we exaggerated the dangers to the United States of their actions.
    • We viewed the people and leaders of South Vietnam in terms of our own experience … We totally misjudged the political forces within the country.
    • We underestimated the power of nationalism to motivate a people to fight and die for their beliefs and values.
    • Our judgments of friend and foe alike reflected our profound ignorance of the history, culture, and politics of the people in the area, and the personalities and habits of their leaders.
    • We failed then — and have since — to recognize the limitations of modern, high-technology military equipment, forces and doctrine…
    • We failed as well to adapt our military tactics to the task of winning the hearts and minds of people from a totally different culture.
    • We failed to draw Congress and the American people into a full and frank discussion and debate of the pros and cons of a large-scale military involvement … before we initiated the action.
    • After the action got under way and unanticipated events forced us off our planned course … we did not fully explain what was happening and why we were doing what we did.
    • We did not recognize that neither our people nor our leaders are omniscient. Our judgment of what is in another people’s or country’s best interest should be put to the test of open discussion in international forums. We do not have the God-given right to shape every nation in our image or as we choose.
    • We did not hold to the principle that U.S. military action … should be carried out only in conjunction with multinational forces supported fully (and not merely cosmetically) by the international community.
    • We failed to recognize that in international affairs, as in other aspects of life, there may be problems for which there are no immediate solutions … At times, we may have to live with an imperfect, untidy world.
    • Underlying many of these errors lay our failure to organize the top echelons of the executive branch to deal effectively with the extraordinarily complex range of political and military issues.
    As I told you, I am not going to comment on President Bush,” McNamara said, patting his briefcase. “I refer you again to the 11 principles. You apply them! …You don’t need me to point out the target. You’re smart enough!”

    Reply

  34. Eli Rabett says:

    Why is one reminded of Ghandi’s reply to the question of what he though about European civilization: “It would be a good thing”

    Reply

  35. Homer says:

    Steve,
    Should it not be regarding “Democratically Elected Theocracies in the Middle East”?
    Will Haas, Gause, or Galbraith participate?
    The New Middle East
    Richard N. Haass
    From Foreign Affairs, November/December 2006
    Summary: The age of U.S. dominance in the Middle East has ended and a new era in the modern history of the region has begun. It will be shaped by new actors and new forces competing for influence, and to master it, Washington will have to rely more on diplomacy than on military might.
    Can Democracy Stop Terrorism?
    F. Gregory Gause III
    From Foreign Affairs, September/October 2005
    Summary: The Bush administration contends that the push for democracy in the Muslim world will improve U.S. security. But this premise is faulty: there is no evidence that democracy reduces terrorism. Indeed, a democratic Middle East would probably result in Islamist governments unwilling to cooperate with Washington.
    Iraq: Bush’s Islamic Republic
    By Peter W. Galbraith
    NYRB, Volume 52, Number 13 · August 11, 2005
    [snip]
    SCIRI and Dawa want Iraq to be an Islamic state. They propose to make Islam the principal source of law, which most immediately would affect the status of women. For Muslim women, religious law—rather than Iraq’s relatively progressive civil code—would govern personal status, including matters relating to marriage, divorce, property, and child custody. A Dawa draft for the Iraqi constitution would limit religious freedom for non-Muslims, and apparently deny such freedom altogether to peoples not “of the book,” such as the Yezidis (a significant minority in Kurdistan), Zoroastrians, and Bahais.
    This program is not just theoretical. Since Saddam’s fall, Shiite religious parties have had de facto control over Iraq’s southern cities. There Iranian-style religious police enforce a conservative Islamic code, including dress codes and bans on alcohol and other non-Islamic behavior. In most cases, the religious authorities govern—and legislate—without authority from Baghdad, and certainly without any reference to the freedoms incorporated in Iraq’s American-written interim constitution—the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL)

    Reply

  36. RichF says:

    Democracy is good for the Middle East.
    But sovereignty is the necessary condition for democracy to flower. It’s gotta be homegrown–or it’s not democracy.
    Bush’s rhetorical campaign to bring democracy to the Middle East is only that, rhetoric, an Orwellian inversion of the process he uses–and of his goals.
    It’s as if you walked up to a guy on the street, pointed a gun at his head, and screamed, “YOU ARE FREE NOW!! I’VE BROUGHT YOU YOUR LIBERTIES!!! Among them Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness!!! AND IF YOU DON’T TAKE THEM, I’M GOING TO SHOOT YOU!!!!”
    It’s an absurdity.
    Our Creator endowed us with certain unalienable Rights. NO guy w/ a gun can make a person free. The obvious corollary is that Our Creator endowed every culture/society/nation with a set of unalienable Rights, starting with sovereignty because that’s the only basis and mechanism for generating democracy. Now, obviously Americans have held these General Truths to be Self-Evident.
    Some folks–the Best & the Brightest–have to learn this the hard way. That: you can’t hold a barn-raising by torching hooches. You can’t ‘bring freedom’ by shattering whole nations. And you can’t install democracy by breaking all basic pragmatic political rules, thus eliminating each and every political ally* and radicalizing a patriotic populace. I refer to *Diem & U.S. policy, of course, which was a textbook case in how to lose a war by losing the political battle. Hearts & minds. You can’t pretend to install democracy in Iraq when you begin by closing down Sadr’s newspaper and issuing warrants for his arrest. There’s nothing wise or legal or politically astute or even anything that builds credibility for ‘the authorities’ about that-—authority is earned, not forced.
    To think that we can ever have a policy of ramming democracy down the throats of other countries–that we can do it for them, or through military means, is wrongheaded and directly contradicts American democracy. It yields only blowback, suffering–and most significantly, a further warping and grotesque distortion of our own internal democracy, in both structure and process.
    No culture is intrinsically at odds with democracy. But obviously that culture has to be respected. That culture has to remain intact, and has to contribute to, complementary democratic forms. The reaction in both Vietnam and Iraq stems directly from a refusal to hold local culture & religious customs inviolate. Frisk every wife and daughter, trash enough homes, disrespect the sacred, violate too many taboos-—you lose the war. Lock up the Catholics, then go after the Buddhists—-you run out of political allies.
    Aside from the enormous cost in blood and treasure arising from an anti-democracy agenda cloaked in the ideological rhetoric of democracy—there is a greater illness, a more basic mistake. I refer to the breach of trust with the American People. This method is a betrayal of Constitutional law and process. When we re-establish the mandated and American requirements for going to war, THEN we’ll be able to effectively assist other nations. When we re-establish a federal governance responsive to the people it claims to serve, in which there’s room for substantive redress of grievances, THEN we will HAVE a democracy to spread. And when the effective, principled, pragmatic solutions flowing from Iowa prevail over the “counsel” of self-appointed ruling wine-sippers in Washington, D.C.–only THEN will we find a LEGITIMATE way into foreign wars, and a SOUND path out of the quagmires they become.
    (Not to be too harsh on the wine-sippers, I’m sure they’re fine people. On a personal level.) But my point holds. You cannot ‘export’ democracy when you’ve got none at home. You cannot successfully wage a battle for democracy when the U.S.: 1) plots to overthrow the democratically-elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh (1953). Or Allende. Or the guy in Guatemala; 2) lies its way into wars (Gulf o’ Tonkin & WMDs); 3) goes to war w/o a Declaration & Decision by Congress–not the Exec (Vietnam & Iraq) (& no, sophistry does not allay or dispose of the point); 4) meddles in elections (long list); 5) trains Latin American dictators to torture (SOA); 6) trains, directs, and operates death squads (Source: NYTs, CIA, & many many other media & scholarly documents) (Phoenix Program, El Salvador, Nicaragua–and Iraq?) (Negroponte prominent in both of the latter two theaters of operations); 7) spends billions of $$$$$$ to support Saddam and the Shah of Iran (etc.).
    You’ll hear a million cheap excuses as to why such means are necessary, why idealism is not pragmatic–and none of those reasons hold a drop of water. The American experience in Vietnam and Iraq are all the evidence anyone needs. The American Revolution DEFINED the relations of power and governance as profoundly PRAGMATIC–which is why we have a Constitution.
    One cannot claim to defend our “freedoms” abroad while shutting down our rights and liberties here at home. One cannot spread democracy when for all practical purposes (think blood&treasure) we’ve got none here at home because we refuse to acknowledge what the Constitution spells out, yes–in black&white–what is required of our elected leaders to uphold that document, revere our troops, serve our people, and live up to their oaths of office.
    IF American Democracy is to be taken seriously–then at some point respected thinkers from all quarters must openly admit that NO Senator, NO President, NO Justice has any ability to suspend the intrinsic Rights and Liberties held by every Citizen in any Nation on Earth. They do not have the right do so, nor do they have the capacity. It’s not a political or legal issue because those Rights were endowed by our Creator–it’s an issue of who employs whom. Who rules whom. There is no legal authority whatsoever to retract the social contract, nor to curtail civil liberties. To think otherwise is to open the door to “signing statements” “executive orders” and the “unitary executive.” The latter stems directly from the religious fealty to the adversarial system within the legal culture. Make any argument, no matter how deviant, and if you get away with it–it must be ok. (!) Apparently, it’s anything goes–if you can get away with it.
    In other words, you can’t “legalize” the illegal. Or the unConstitutional. The internal contradictions generated remove the authority to govern. Whether through code-words, under the cloak of secrecy, or right out there in the open, saying something is so doesn’t make it true or legal. That pattern is willful, conscious, and it is a breach of trust. Despite what lawyers and pols may claim.
    Why? Gee, could it be to spare the country foreign entanglements? To avoid the loss of blood and treasure? To preserve our national security? To ensure that American Citizens have a voice in governance, and the ability to seek redress of grievances? To ensure that ALL of America, from sea to shining sea, is a “free-speech zone”? To ensure our troops are not forced to abuse citizens and families, at home and abroad? The lack of judgment re all these issues among our leaders is appalling.
    Why? Maybe to eliminate the possibility that an unprincipled Executive could unilaterally start unprovoked wars for control of oil (as Bush admitted on Rush Limbaugh) or to hijack the oil bourse of a sovereign nation–rather than for a just cause and for the sake of national defense and national security. Both of which have been radically compromised.
    (btw–none of this is hyperbolae. you can’t find a viable or legitimate counterargument to american history.)

    Reply

  37. selise says:

    john – first, i’d like to know what “democracy” means to panelists. second, i’d like to know what “good” means – and good for who?
    steve – if you haven’t read it already, i highly recommend glenn greenwald’s post: http://tinyurl.com/yn6w73
    “We need a debate and re-examination of the core premises of our foreign policy and our role in the world. That, in turn, requires a willingness to call into question the most sacred orthodoxies, which, in turn, requires real political leaders with the courage, credibility and skills to do that. Does anyone see any of those?”

    Reply

  38. John says:

    Steve,
    Please ask the panelists what they think Bush/Cheney mean by democracy. It’s obvious that they already have their own definition of “freedom”–“economic freedom” for KBR and Western energy companies. They must also have their own peculiar definition of democracy, i.e. the American & British agenda only serves the will of the Iraqi people, which we are uniquely qualified to determine. At least that is what Blair seems to be suggesting in his comments to Aljazeera yesterday.
    “[The situation in Iraq] is difficult because there is a deliberate strategy…to create a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will of the minority for war.”
    Alternatively, they might mean that “democracy” means furthering the self interests of the US, Japan, and Europe, all of which are democratic societies. By serving their interests, we are promoting democracy.

    Reply

  39. Pissed Off American says:

    Steve, these kinds of discussions would hold much more interest for me if they had credible labelings. Wouldn’t the forum be more honestly described if labeled, “Is Democracy POSSIBLE in the Middle East”, considering the glaring differences bewteen Middle Eastern and Western culture and religious beliefs? After arriving at the inevitable conclusion that you will not be able to successfully impose a western style democracy on Islamic society, perhaps the kind of mental masturbation that this forum will undoubtedly engage in will be dropped in favor of more fruitful intellectual discussion.
    I suggest you might want to begin by figuring out how to FEED people, how to provide health care for people, how to educate people, instead of how to indoctrinate them into western style culture and governance. That is how the “War on Terrorism” will be waged, if we are to win it.

    Reply

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