Friday, August 31, 2007

The Point of Iraq

Our goal in Iraq should not be simply establishing "democracy". As pointed out by Paul J. Cella on Redstate, jihad is a fairly popular item in the Muslim world. I think we need a new word.

The problem boils down to the ambiguity of the word "democracy". We say we want a democracy in Iraq when what we mean is that we want a government that supports all of:

  • Human rights, including freedom of religion
  • Rule of Law
  • Representative democracy
  • Non-imperialism (and renouncing terror)
  • Capitalism, both for the native and the alien

I think the use of "democracy" is a kind of unfortunate shorthand for being a good international citizen. In a way, it may be President Bush's root mistake, in that a failure to accurately describe our goals in Iraq encouraged everyone to take "forming democracy" literally as being the sum of our goals.

Then again, maybe not. After all, what word is there to describe a modern member of the democratic club
with a functioning economy and high regard for the rights of Man?

That leaves aside the question of whether Islam, and a nation whose society is dominated by Islam, is at all likely to become such a place.

We can only hope.

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KnightErrant said...

So we need to impose an enlightened despot, perhaps even a Philosopher King, upon Iraq. The concept is really more Platonic than Socratic.

Loren Heal said...

I think imposing any kind of particulars on the structure of the Iraqi government is a mistake. We should, more and more, treat them as we should any other nation: respect their sovereignty but insist on certain things, chiefly non-imperialism and renouncing terror. We should separate those things from the things we'd also like, chief among them being respect for human rights. Democracy and capitalism are both consequences of respect for human rights.

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