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Monday, August 29, 2005

The future of Iraq

This Op-Ed from The Daily Telegraph sums up a lot of my opinions on the prospect for Democracy succeeding in Iraq (and also castigates BBC coverage.):

The Iraqis have a long way to go before their blueprint for a democratic future becomes a reality. But they are on their way to that goal. Hatred of President Bush, and scepticism about justifications for the presence of coalition troops in Iraq, seems to be blinding too many observers in Britain to the possibility that the US-led 'occupation' may yet turn out to be Iraq's salvation. It has made democracy possible in a situation where the only other options are the nightmares of tyranny and civil war. The overwhelming majority of Iraqis are desperately eager to make democracy in their country real. We should applaud them for their zeal.
I believe that democracy in Iraq will succeed because I believe in the people of Iraq. I believe that for the most part, they are good, decent people who, like us, want to live in freedom and have a civil society that guarantees their rights. Unlike us, they have not inherited this state from their forefathers. They will have to earn it, and build to with blood, sweat and tears. They will have to learn to trust one another, which may be the most difficult challenge of all given that their recent regime built its power by systematically destroying any trust in their society, leaving a legacy of fear and betrayal. This task is made even more difficult by foreign powers, some sovereign states and others non-state actors, that are determined to thwart any democracy in the region. They are willing to fund a bloody campaign, focused primarily against the Iraqi people themselves, in an effort to make sure that fear and hatred triumph over desires for individual liberty. Despite all that, the Iraqi people seem to be strong enough to overcome this threat. I read Iraqi blogs, and I observe dramatic evently like last January's elections. I certainly can't claim to fully understant the character or the resolve of the Iraqi people, but what I have seen impresses me to no end. I wonder if I would be as brave. I look at all of this, and it is clear to me which side is just, and which side is not. It is still possible of course that our hopes for Iraq will fail. That the liberation of Iraq will be followed by a cataclysmic civil war and we will long for the days when Saddam was in power. That could happen. I don't believe it will happen though.


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