Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Betraying Iraq

Last week, the Washington Post reported that the US was lowering its sights on what can be achieved in Iraq - to the extent that it

no longer expects to see a model new democracy, a self-supporting oil industry or a society in which the majority of people are free from serious security or economic challenges...

Today, we have an example of just how low that is, with the news that the US is supporting an Islamic republic rather than suffer the bad PR of seeing the new Iraqi constitution delayed by another week. Islam would be "a primary source" of law, and clerics would have authority over divorce and inheritance and possibly sit on the Supreme Court. This is what America's grand crusade for democracy has come down to: the establishment of a shitty theocracy which practices torture. And they killed 25,000 innocent civilians for this?


I cannot imagine a worse backfire in all of human history than the Iraq war.

I'm including all the times Russia got invaded in the Winter.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/23/2005 04:39:00 AM

Now, everyone who would have voted for Bush on the grounds that he was the better war president, I have your servings of crow over here. Talking tough don't mean crap when you're only listening to the yes-men (and the yes-lady) when you ask what the situation is on the ground.

And boy, I only wish I'd gotten to take the number of holidays that bastard's taken over the past 5 years. Every now and then he's got to stand up and write a speech someone else wrote for him. And of course he occaisionaly has to pretend for the media that he takes part in the decision making processes behind the scenes. Boy, tough job!

Posted by Anonymous : 8/23/2005 07:01:00 AM

what strtegy are you arguing for?
Should they renew their resolve not to permit an islamic state?

Posted by Genius : 8/23/2005 07:02:00 AM

Genius - Bush persisted - against the clear exhortation of the left -in digging a huge and unstable hole. So now it's up to us to figure out what miracle of civil engineering can prevent it's collapse...? I don't think so..

Posted by Anonymous : 8/23/2005 08:00:00 AM

Of course you have to totally misrepresent the US position to come to this conclusion.

The US has pushed for a more secular constitution with democratic principles explicitly included. The problem is that the various Iraqi factions have to come to a compromise on this issue - (it is after all their country and they are not controlled by the US despite what the Left thinks). Which is what has occurred - but it is not a total victory for Islamic fundamentalists.

So it is not true that the US is supporting an Islamic republic - they are supporting a compromise. A compromise that may very well prevent a civil war. Which outcome do you prefer Idiot?

Given that the antiwar movement is doing absolutely nothing to help the cause of liberal values in Iraq, showing no solidarity what so ever with liberal forces, I find it hard to believe that this sort of outrage over the influence of religion is all that genuine.

Posted by Sock Thief : 8/23/2005 08:28:00 AM

Given that the antiwar movement is doing absolutely nothing to help the cause of liberal values in Iraq ...

Errr, this is a surprise to anyone? The anti-war movement in America is predominantly anti-America and anti-liberalism.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 8/23/2005 09:07:00 AM

Thx Sock, if we want the official US State dept position, we can get a copy of it from Scoop.

If you'd hold your nose long enough to spend some time reading Juan Cole, you'd know the configuration bequeathed the Iraqi parliament by Bremner has been very effective in undermining the forming of a stable government and exacerbating factionalism.. it's not some accidental byproduct of a messy country.

Whether or not the intention was produce an Islamic state is an interesting question though.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/23/2005 09:10:00 AM

Duncan - That's ridiculous. How can American citizens be "Anti-America"?!
That's like saying I'm anti-myself.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/23/2005 09:14:00 AM

They're Anti-America in the sens of being opposed to traditional American values. Most are anti-capitalist, anti-freedom, and anti-liberalism.

FWIW, all of the constitutional Islamist weirdness is going on in Iraq is a natural progression from their asinine Interim Constitution.

See my critique here:

A Libertarian Critique of the Interim Constitution for Iraq

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 8/23/2005 10:32:00 AM

Duncan, that's still ridiculous on two counts:
1. Is a country/culture owned by the long dead or the presently living?
2. Many (most?) of the anti-war critiques of Bush et al are based on the undermining of freedom and democracy (eg Patriot acts, lying at the UN etc). If that's anti-liberal, someone has rewritten the dictionary while my back was turned.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/23/2005 12:34:00 PM

Quick answer: by the living, and no - check out Protest Warrior to get an on-the-ground glimpse into the activities of 'anti-war' protestors in the U.S.A.

If you're short of bandwidth or on dialup, let me know and I can mail you a CD I put together which contains some of their videos. It's interesting to watch protestors complaining about The Man silencing their views suddenly turn around and get the Police to evict counter-protestors :-)

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 8/23/2005 12:49:00 PM

Isn't there something a bit more important going on here than interpreting these constitutional developments as a mere a poke in the eye for Bush?

At present in Iraq there is the very real conflict between different ethnic and religious groups who are attempting to sit down and negotiate a frame work for living together. And we know that the alternative is very disturbing and very real.

At some point in time, after the collapse of Saddam and the removal of the authoritarian repression that kept them all together, they would have had to go through this process. Whatever the US did or didn't do.

The issue of fundamentalist religion vs. liberal democratic values was always going to rear its head - its part of the dynamics of Iraqi society and the Middle East in general. It may be more help to those who are involved in this process if we started looking at it in terms of the local context instead of through pro/anti-war glasses.

I for one don't want to see conservative religious values gain ground in Iraq but at the same time what is going on is a series of negotiations and it may well be that some compromise is necessary. But it is still early days and it will be a while before we know how the constitution as a whole will treat religion.

Posted by Sock Thief : 8/23/2005 01:29:00 PM

Sock Thief - agreed, but do you really think the final Constitution will be any more secular than the Interim Constitution? I can only see it going downhill myself.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 8/23/2005 02:13:00 PM

> Bush persisted - against the clear exhortation of the left -in digging a huge and unstable hole.

The "left" seems to be proposing as a solution compromise - if you get what you ask for and declare it to be terrible you are calling yourself terrible infact worse than your opposition who at least tried to resist you.

> That's ridiculous. How can American citizens be "Anti-America"?!

thats pretty stupid - lets say hitler was half jewish (maybe he was) does that prevent him from bein antisemetic? the terms loose meaning in your definition.

Bush may have hoped that he could make Iraq heaven on earth but if he did he was just living in a dream world - similarly those on the far left may think that they ahve some quick and easy solution but in most cases we are lucky they will never see the reigns of power.

Posted by Genius : 8/23/2005 07:46:00 PM

I think you're missing the point Sock Thief. The tragedy in Iraq could have been avoided if there had been competent leadership in the White House. Their post-Saddam plan seemed to be "protect the oil ministry , protect the airport and pay our buddies to build us some nice new bases". The ignored the people who were insisting that it was going to turn into a quagmire.

But of course, competent leaders wouldn't have invaded without a UN mandate and a half decent coalition behind them in any case. And they would have made sure they had a casus belli that wasn't such a complete fabrication.

Duncan, the Bush Administration is anti-freedom, anti-justice, and anti-truth. I'm just talking about what's going on in their own country, never mind what they're doing in Iraq. I think one could argue quite strongly that _they_ are the ones who are anti-American.

Posted by Anonymous : 8/23/2005 07:50:00 PM