Sunday, June 29, 2003

Bringing democracy to Iraq?

Remember all the bold prewar statements from the US about how they were going to bring democracy and freedom to Iraq? Well, it looks like they have strange ideas about what "democracy and freedom" actually means. A few weeks ago they announced they would be censoring the press, and now they've decided to dispense with elections as well:

U.S. military commanders have ordered a halt to local elections and self-rule in provincial cities and towns across Iraq, choosing instead to install their own handpicked mayors and administrators, many of whom are former Iraqi military leaders.

The reason of course is that if elections were allowed, "rejectionists" - people who want the US gone tomorrow - will win. The US can't allow that, as it would give a voice to that growing public sentiment - fuelled by incidents such as this and this - that the occupation has already gone on too long, and that it is time for the Iraqis to enjoy some of that freedom they were promised.

How does this gel with President Bush's prewar promises that

Any future the Iraqi people choose for themselves will be better than the nightmare world that Saddam Hussein has chosen for them


The United States has no intention of determining the precise form of Iraq's new government. That choice belongs to the Iraqi people

...? It doesn't, and the Iraqis know it. They're not stupid or illiterate; they have access to the global media and know that these promises were made. They know what they are missing out on. If the US doesn't deliver, then they'll do it themselves, with guns and bombs.