Saturday, November 08, 2003

Bush's Middle East freedom

Bush's latest attempt to find an ex post facto rationale for the attack on Iraq is to try to portray it as part of an American move to 'democratize' the Middle East. He said: "The establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East will be a watershed event in the global democratic revolution." This is just funny:

  1. Until they were desperately trying to scare up some money from the international community in order to help pay Halliburton's enormous bill, the Americans did everything they could to deny any move towards democracy in Iraq. They set up a phony group of leaders - the Iraqi Governing Council - to serve as a substitute for democracy, but resisted every single attempt that group made to have any real power or create any real democracy. When the Americans needed foreign money and fodder units, they claimed they would accelerate the process of turning over power, but now that the beg-a-thon is over I would be very surprised if we see any actual power turned over to the Iraqi people in the foreseeable future.

  2. As I've said before, the sole reason there are no real democracies in the area is that the British and Americans set things up that way. The people in the Middle East hate their thuggish dictatorships, but are fully aware that these dictatorships exist only because the Americans want them to exist. The most famous example of American efforts in the area is the CIA's removal of Mossadeq from Iran in 1953, but there have been similar machinations in every country in the Middle East. Even Saddam was under American protection until he moved into Kuwait. If you add on to this history the continuing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people by American agent Israel, it is not difficult to see how ridiculous Bush's speech must sound to those who live in the Middle East.

  3. Bremer of Baghdad allows freedom of the press in Iraq just up to the point where something is printed that might be construed as an attack on the United States, its interests in Iraq, or its occupation. In other words, it is exactly the freedom of the press you would expect in a dictatorship.

  4. The democratization argument is apparently the latest in a string of attempts to defend the indefensible attack on Iraq and subsequent occupation. They've tried Iraqi links to al Qaeda (none), weapons of mass destruction (none), removal of an awful dictator (but the Americans actively support dictators just as thuggish as Saddam), and liberation of the Iraqi people (who are proving that they don't feel liberated by their resistance). Karl Rove is getting desperate. The main political problem of the democratization argument is that it is far too complex for the vast majority of Americans to comprehend. Americans are, without any question, the stupidest people in the world. You could paddle a canoe up the farthest reaches of the Amazon and find people more intelligently aware of the world than all but the top fraction of one percent of Americans. The Republicans have gotten away with using a combination of fright and jingoism to manipulate American popular opinion. Some argument about political science in the Middle East is going to go so far over the heads of most Americans that they would need the Hubble Telescope to see it. Why would Americans spend billions of dollars and suffer thousands of casualties in Iraq to possibly aid in the creation of a political concept in countries most of them have never even heard of, especially when crooked voting machines and the efforts of the Supreme Court mean that this concept of 'democracy' clearly doesn't exist in the United States?

  5. Just as an example of the nuttiness of the speech, Bush somehow manages to criticize Iran for its lack of democracy while praising Saudi Arabia for its progress. Saudi Arabia is an utter dictatorship, with absolutely no freedom of expression and a slight promise of some local government democracy. Iran has a democratically elected leader in a fair election, something the United States can't even boast about, and an extremely lively level of political debate. In contrasting these two countries in Bush's speech we have a clear example of how Americans use the terms 'democracy' and 'freedom' as political weapons to achieve American geopolitical goals which have nothing to do with democracy or freedom.

The only way we will ever see the "establishment of a free Iraq at the heart of the Middle East" is if the Iraqi people kill a lot of Americans, something which, to the credit of the Iraqis, they are endeavoring to do.