March of Democracy

December 2005


The Bush Administration tried to justify the Iraq war by claiming WMDs, and when that didn't work they justified it by saying we were bringing democracy to Iraq. Just how are we doing this?

When trying, initially, to gain support for a war with Iraq, the Bush administration painted a very clear picture of a dangerous tyrant who was holding a gun to the head of Uncle Sam and threatening to pull the trigger. The gun was WMDs, both conventional and nuclear. When it became clear that Iraq had been no threat to us (had no chemical, biological, or nuclear WMDs), at first the administration tried to claim that Iraq had been a training ground for terrorists. When most of the intelligence and security experts replied "no" to this assertion (it was true of Afghanistan, but not of Iraq), the administration fell back on its current explanation: we're bringing democracy to the people of Iraq.

Ok, so now we've replaced the vicious, evil dictator and they have an elected government that technically has sovereignty over most of its territory. So, why are our troops still in combat all over Iraq? The administration tells us that it takes time to teach the Iraqi people how to run a democracy. Evidently we're there to train them. What are we doing to train them in the inner workings of democracy?

Recent reports suggest that we have done such a good job of training the Iraqi security forces that they are emulating the example of other security forces we have trained in the past, such as in El Salvador, Chile, and Indonesia*. In consequence, many international journalists have begun to refer the some groups of Iraqi security forces as "death squads."

* Most of these security and counter-insurgency teams were trained at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation aka School of the Americas. This institution has a thoroughly documented history of alumni later convicted of human rights abuses and genocide

Of course we're giving Iraqis a good dose of Bush-style democracy, just like we're getting at home:

Iraq U.S.A.
Random arrests and detentions. Refuse to produce ID on a public bus - go to jail
Torture in local prison Extraordinary Rendition - torture in secret CIA prison or "friendly" foreign country, like Jordan or Saudi Arabia
US creates fake "news" favorable to US for broadcast by Iraqi media US produces thousands of "news" items favorable to the Bush Administration for broadcast by US media

But that's really beside the point. We're not trying to deomcratize Iraq. Why would we do that? If they really had a real democracy, they'd vote in a government hostile to the US in a heartbeat. The Bush administration certainly does not want that. They want a stable, friendly, compliant Iraq with 17 permanent US military bases on their soil, so that we can bully the other middle east nations more efficiently. They also want huge concessions to US-based multinational oil companies.

But the Bush administration has a real problem with honesty. They just can't seem to tell the truth. They're caught in the old trap of deceit, about as deep as any government in recent history and almost a third of the American people are in denial about it. That's an improvement. It used to be almost half of the American people who were in denial.

What we need to do in Iraq is clear: we need to stop spending billions of dollars every month trying to support a puppet regime that will collapse as soon as we bring our troops home. We need to bring our troops home and let the Iraqi nation make its own choices without our military or diplomatic interference -- maybe we could replace our troops with UN security forces for a little while, just so that the transition is less bloody. We need to apologize to the Iraqis for invading their country and take steps to earn back the respect and friendship of most of the nations of the earth, by behaving like a responsible, adult nation instead of a spoiled child.

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