Friday, November 17, 2006


The leading voices of the right generally think that they are the great wise ones, and pontificate with endless certainty on the issue du juor. There are so certain because when they go to look upon the world, the only gaze on a mirror. They only see themselves. Reassured that others will act pretty much like they will (if they are good people), they bloviate without hesitation or doubt.

Here is the latest, from Charlie Krauthammer, titled "It's the Iraqis' fault." Shorter version? We are wonderful and gave the gift of democracy to Iraq, but I was shocked to learn that they weren't prepared to radically alter their society at the insistence of the US military. Those ungrateful wretches! He starts:

We have given the Iraqis a republic, and they do not appear able to keep it. (snip)
I think we made several serious mistakes -- not shooting looters, not installing an Iraqi exile government right away, and not taking out Moqtada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army in its infancy in 2004 -- that greatly compromised the occupation. Nonetheless, the root problem lies with Iraqis and their political culture. (snip)
I'm sure our invasion, disbanding of their army and police force, and forcing the entire elite out of the power structure and leaving them at the mercy of militias had nothing to do with it. I'm sure our only fault was not leaving cities in the south while attacking a popular Shite religious figure.

Are the Arabs intrinsically incapable of democracy, as the "realists" imply? True, there are political, historical, even religious reasons why Arabs are less prepared for democracy than, say, East Asians and Latin Americans who successfully democratized over the past several decades. But the problem here is Iraq's particular political culture, raped and ruined by 30 years of Hussein's totalitarianism.
Why, who could have ever predicted that? Oh wait. Everyone with a brain before the election. In cultures that have faced 30 years of chaos and violence, political power doesn't grow out of the ballot box. It comes from the barrel of the gun. They understand that. And if we are trying to force them to use the ballot box, they will use their guns when we aren't around to intimidate and assassinate. You can't push democracy out of the barrel of a gun. A people have to choose that for themselves. So quit faulting them for our incompetent occupation that let anarchy bloom, for bringing the whirlwind of violence into the heart of Baghdad.

Oh, STFU too.

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