Battlepanda: So, would it all be worth it?


Always trying to figure things out with the minimum of bullshit and the maximum of belligerence.

Friday, December 16, 2005

So, would it all be worth it?

Little violence, high turn-out. 'It's been a great day for Iraq'.

Indeed, I am relieved and pleased to see it all go well. I will be even more pleased and relieved if somehow, the Iraqis pull together as a people, transcend their sectarian differences, and not end up either a brutal civil war or Iranian-influenced Shia theocracy. Henry ventures to say that if Iraq ends up with a functioning American-style democracy "then it would have all been worth it." Hmmmm...

When we say that something is "worth it", there is usually an element of vindication involved. In this case I think there can be none for our actions. The odds are still stacked against the Iraqi people -- if they make it, that is to their credit as a people, not our finess and verve as freedom-givers.

"But", it can be argued, "if we did not intervene, Saddam Hussein, the most terrible man in the world (TM)" would have remained in power forever." Where to start? Yes, Saddam Hussein was an awful, awful guy. But he did most of his awful awful things when he was still our S.O.B., our trusty bullwark against the mullahs of Iran. We did the Iraqi people a terrible injustice back in the 80s by bolstering such a man, just as we are bolstering or tolerating cruel dictators all over the world who happens to be on our "side" now. How can we be Iraq's knight in armor when we're still buddy buddy with Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan, who boils people? Our government is not principled and idealistic, it is "realist" in the worst sense of the word -- it pursues courses of action that benefits its own narrow percieved interests while it uses principles and ideals to sucker ordinary people into sacrificing American blood and treasure towards their ends.

So, would democracy ever extend without us taking out the random dictator that pissed us off? Yes, of course it can. Most strong, functional democracies arise not through external forces but from the people. It's how our own democracy began, a history that we cherish and is proud of to this day. It's how the formally communist Eastern European countries regained their freedom. The Kurds, by the way, have risen up against Saddam multiple times -- we never backed them. In fact, we actively betrayed them in 1975 and 1991. We're even kind of screwing them right now -- before Gulf II, an independent Kurdistan was becoming a fact on the ground as a weakened Saddam is kept in check with no-fly zones. Now they are thrown together yet again with the Sunnis and Shias until they can extricate themselves.

I'm cribbing most of this from the Slacktivist, but he actually says it better, so go read.