Is the anti/war contingent anti democracy?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
The other day I got into it with some academics. I'm not saying whether I'm pro or anti war, what's done is done.



But I realized that so many people (including the pro war americans) want Americans out of Iraq ASAP. The US is saying they want to stay for 2 years.



To me this is the most utterly idiotic unrealistic timeline possible, especially for the middle east. 24 months? 24 years would work, but not months.



The ONLY way to seed democracy in Iraq would be to disarm it completely and then protect and police it for a number of years, gradually placing first police and then military back into their own control. They must be restricted to solely civic concerns and development for at least one full generation if we are to have any hope of a peaceful transition to democracy.



Just look at Afganistan, there are still international troops there, though much reduced, and already Afganistan is hanging on by a thread.



It seems to me now, that if people are pro peace, and stable democracy is the best bet at lasting peace, then occupation is the ONLY plausible solution. But it takes time and money i guess.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 118
    I read that giving Iraqis democracy would almost guarantee a freely elected theocracy in that country.



    Is that the neo-con position?
  • Reply 2 of 118
    aquafireaquafire Posts: 2,758member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by ShawnPatrickJoyce

    I read that giving Iraqis democracy would almost guarantee a freely elected theocracy in that country.



    Is that the neo-con position?






    I doubt if the Kurds would like that to happen.

    It might push them into re-igniting there Independence drive & then in comes Turkey & Iran & bang goes the neighbourhood.
  • Reply 3 of 118
    To the Iraqi people, this must be somewhat like the deposing of the Shah, so what else would you expect but a strong desire for a theocracy?
  • Reply 4 of 118
    fellowshipfellowship Posts: 5,038member
    I would hardly expect the Iraqi people no matter their ethnic makeup to adopt to a secular democracy overnight. Religion etc. is part of their makup and quite frankly it is their country to govern. I wish them the best and one fact remains at the end of the day being Saddam is now history and I think the future for the Iraqi people will be a much greater prospect.



    Fellowship
  • Reply 5 of 118
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Then we shoulda just left it alone. Nothing about the iraqi people suggests they will be able to make a peaceful transition, or even a successful one, to responsible self government.



    A real occupation, designed to protect the country from agressors, while allowing civil institutions to recover and grow is the only possibility for a meaningful advancement of Iraq.



    Personally, I don't think an American Empire is that bad, if it's honest, rather than empire by proxy, they get in there and make a real contribution.



    I realize this is horribly naive, but it is the only thing that would really work. It just a matter of time before Afganistan goes to shit again, Iraq will take longer, but we may have reached a point where we can not wait for countries like Iraq to achieve a level of civic enlightenment and have to get in there and teach them how to form a robust nation, and make some protected space where they have time to learn it. Yay, now it sounds racist and elitist too, but it remains the only avenue for a real (and relatively safe) improvement in Iraq.
  • Reply 6 of 118
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    I think one of the key traits of the anti-war movement is an almost universal disregard for the reality of the situation on the ground in Iraq.



    The concerns of the anti-war (now "anti-occupation") movement have always been far more broad moral and philosophical concerns. Once the only viable real-world gripe they had (tens of thousands of civilian casualties) was gone it has all gone to theory and philosophy 100%. Reality on the ground in Iraq is far too powerful to combat for them at this point, at best they can hope for turmoil and violence, and don't doubt for a second that some of them do.



    Our immediate withdrawal from Iraq would be disasterous to say the least.

    Worst-Case Scenario: Iranian rabble-rousers would push the religious fundamentalist angle on the Shi'ite majority and a serious of very violent power struggles (remember the Sunni is there and they were in brutal power for decades) to see how remains in power. The Sunnis won't like a Shia theocratic rule and the Kurds wouldn't like either group ruling theocratically. You piss the Kurds off and they decide to go independent you have a real risk of Turkey coming in to protect Turks within Iraq. You have chaos, to say the least.



    And this isn't some scenario like "a thousand bin Ladens" because we can see how that would happen now. We have 2 million Shi'ites marching, many carrying banners and chanting that they want an Islamic theocracy. You had reports of Turkish troops moving into Iraq and some diplomatic communication to nip that in the bud and the Kurds having to pull out of Iraqi cities with large Turk populations early in the war. This isn't ambiguous, it's right there.



    Having massive US forces in there provides an authority on the security front. If any Shi'ite imam gets his oats all stirred and decides to go on a Sunni-hunt we have troops there with large guns to stop it. Take away those troops and it might happen.



    But that is realistic thinking, which is something the anti-war movement has avoided like kryptonite since the beginning and there's no reason for them to stop now.



    So are they anti-democracy? No. As I've said before they are just anti-Bush and they will take any stance they can get away with to push that. They have tunnel-vision. They hate Bush and they can't be concerned with thinking about any situation involving him with any degree of objectivity. As a group the anti-war movement is just stupid. People in large groups rallying around a single cause are stupid, 9 times out of 10, especially when that cause is to be against a person who isn't clearly a supreme evil.





    Also, I think the ability of the Arab world to accept secular democracy is greatly underrated by us Westerners. I'm not saying they would run to it if given the free choice, but it's not impossible or even discouragingly difficult.
  • Reply 7 of 118
    randycat99randycat99 Posts: 1,919member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Matsu

    But I realized that so many people (including the pro war americans) want Americans out of Iraq ASAP. The US is saying they want to stay for 2 years.



    To me this is the most utterly idiotic unrealistic timeline possible, especially for the middle east. 24 months? 24 years would work, but not months.




    You took the words right out of my mouth, Matsu. I hear the reports that the US will step out in 1 or 2 years, and I just think to myself "whatever..." We'll be out of their hair, but only to watch them self-collapse into even further turmoil and civil calamity just to discover an "identity". I don't believe for a second that a severly broken and dysfunctional nation is suddenly going to know how to run itself as a free and democratic country let alone be self-sufficient/functional just because a despotic regime has been ousted. I agree that this sort of thing really requires the firm guiding hand of occupation over a generation or so (just as you suggest) to really see it take off in the right direction. I don't see that happening either due to public outcry and international tensions that the US should vacate ASAP (so as to stop interfering with ME business). So honestly, I have no idea how this will turn out or if it can turn out for the better due to the sheer number of conflicting interests of all parties involved.
  • Reply 8 of 118
    sammi josammi jo Posts: 4,634member
    Creating democracy in Iraq is like terraforming Mars....ie.. a massive effort is required, for a very very long and sustained period of time...and the results can never never be guaranteed. (Most of) the Iraqi people have no clue about what living under a real democracy is like... the only thing known to majority of Iraqis is the repression of Saddam Hussein. The structure and institutions of a democratic state do not exist, the history isn't there either. The people there, specially the long suffering Shia majority (60% of the Iraqi people) are now clamoring for an Islamic State and are getting more skeptical and angry about the occupation day by day. There are now strong calls for unity between the Sunnis and Shi'ites. How this will play with the Kurdish folk, mostly in N. Iraq, is potentially very messy.



    How will democracy happen anyway? If forced upon them by an outside party then democracy gets off to a ironically dictatorial start. Oh, great! Right now, the US choices of leaders being foisted on the Iraqis are sitting very badly....Ahmad Chalabi is roundly hated there (one of his associates was assassinated 3 days back, and there was an attempt on Chalabi's life also)...and Jay Garner (a weapons dealer with zero diplomatic record) who, according to Theodore A. Postol, (MIT expert in missile technology) was one of a group of senior officers who were lying about the Patriot missile performance during the Gulf War in 1991....stands no chance of acceptance by the Iraqis.



    Anyway what kind of "democracy" are they going to be forced to adhere to? What kind of electoral processes...what kind of representation...what kind of local government...etc etc? Are these to be the choices of the Iraqi people...or will they be dictated to? And if the Iraqi people actually get to choose...then right now it looks as if Islamic fundamentalism is what they will be going for. Iran is also very keen for this to happen..as so are the likes of Osama bin Laden and any number of new fundamentalist terrorist organizations that may be spawned as a result of the recent war.



    The military victory was of course swift, as predicted by everyone, both pro or anti-war....our $400 billion defense budget plays a $1billion one. But no matter how the aftermath pans out, it will be a longterm and extremely expensive affair, and potentially a very bloody mess we just got ourselves into...and it may not be limited to Iraq. We may be in for more 9-11 type incidents in future. If so, then our own democratic institutions will come under further fire and erosion in the name of "greater security". (Patriot Acts 3, 4 and 5?) How the hell can we buy freedom and democracy in Iraq when those very same very ideals that so many died for from 1789 onwards are now being systematically trashed by the Bush Administration?
  • Reply 9 of 118
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by groverat

    rant rant rant



    What the hell are you talking about? Maybe I'm that 1 out of 10 in your mind but by reading your post it's obvious you don't know anything about the 'anti-war people'. Certainly not enough to fill a paragraph.



    Matsu, if anything I think everyone will be anti-democracy if it turns out that the Iraqis elect a theocracy, extreme or not.
  • Reply 10 of 118
    thttht Posts: 3,045member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Matsu

    The other day I got into it with some academics. I'm not saying whether I'm pro or anti war, what's done is done.



    But I realized that so many people (including the pro war americans) want Americans out of Iraq ASAP. The US is saying they want to stay for 2 years.




    Yes, there are some in the pro-war contingent (at the highest levels of the administration) that wants to get out sooner than later. There are some anti-war that realize the need for the USA to be their for years on end, so why did you generalize the anti-war contingent as anti-democracy?



    Quote:

    The ONLY way to seed democracy in Iraq would be to disarm it completely and then protect and police it for a number of years, gradually placing first police and then military back into their own control. They must be restricted to solely civic concerns and development for at least one full generation if we are to have any hope of a peaceful transition to democracy.



    Disarming isn't that necessary, security yes, disarmament no. They should have the right to own firearms, do they not? The hard thing for the administration is to resist good old boy crony capitalism, and to fund Iraqis to rebuild Iraq. And the funding has to be stipulated such that mostly Iraqis are employed, and taxes properly collected (their books have to be open). A middle class needs to be developed to provide stability and to resist fundamentalism. And I would form a constitution with a very thick wall of separation of church and state.



    Quote:

    It seems to me now, that if people are pro peace, and stable democracy is the best bet at lasting peace, then occupation is the ONLY plausible solution. But it takes time and money i guess.



    It's going to take years and years yes. Lets hope the administration will not follow the route they did with Afghanistan.
  • Reply 11 of 118
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    Hate to say it but what should probably happen is to get the UN in their with the Americans to kind of even out the notion of 'Occupation"



    they are having a collective religious orgasm after years of repression and that might just last for a long time and build up to martyrdom opperations (which are like some kind of cultural psycho-sexual release mechanism for fundamentalists)



    we need to move very very fast and get some infrastructure in their and really develope civil-society: as in educating towards humanistic rights based thinking (even if it is ultimately ethnocentric . . . it will result in more freedoms and less over-all injustice then a religious fundamentalism: especially one based on men gleefully getting together, as men(not women) whipping themselves with chains in a collective frenzy of orgasmic masochism . . . and we wonder why they love suicide )
  • Reply 12 of 118
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    THT, I didn't think I generalized it, I wrote it up anti/war, like s/he, just to be efficient in the title thread, but it (to me) gathered both sides into one term. I thought the text of the thread explained it though, meh.
  • Reply 13 of 118
    I was anti-war and I was fully aware that America couldn't just 'beat' the Iraqi's and then leave.



    I remember anti-war posters on this board talking about the insanity of the US Army setting up camp in Iraq for 10+ years.



    I also remember the pro-war side digging up official estimates of 6 months before total withdrawl.
  • Reply 14 of 118
    haraldharald Posts: 2,152member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Matsu

    Personally, I don't think an American Empire is that bad, if it's honest, rather than empire by proxy, they get in there and make a real contribution.



    Oh. My. God.



    The neocons accuse us of naivity.
  • Reply 15 of 118
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Well, seeing as how they've already intruded, rather than back one tyrant or another, just get in there and give the Iraqis a real chance at something. AND YES, I realize the horrible naivete of it, but nothing else will work. Certainly not the absentee Empire-ism with which we would be saddled in any case. I'm not against American empire outright, but then I would prefer a degree of responisible rule.
  • Reply 16 of 118
    haraldharald Posts: 2,152member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Matsu

    I'm not against American empire outright.



    Well the rest of the planet is.
  • Reply 17 of 118
    giantgiant Posts: 6,041member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by groverat





    Also, I think the ability of the Arab world to accept secular democracy is greatly underrated by us Westerners.



    Well, if you want to discuss the real reason why folks know that representative democracy is not going to happen, then lets.



    For one, the Pentagon is already backing Chalabi, who has absolutely NO constituency in Iraq. He and his men were airlifted in right around the time Bagdhad fell. Marines have been ordered to take guns from locals and give them to the INC militia, who have been off looting and stealing cars, typical for those who all of a sudden get free reign. Furthermore, maybe you didn't notice that all of the recent surrenders have been to INC troops. The pentegon is working to give legitimacy to Chalabi, who has been working with the neo-con folks since the end of the gulf war.



    Never mind that he has no constituency at all. The plan is to do everything through the INC (you see it beginning with the surrenders) so that it develops, or at least the appearance of it does. Chalabi is already becoming the official spokesperson for Iraq through the platform given to him by the pentagon and neo-cons elsewhere.



    The Iranians, of course, are pushing for the 'one man, one vote' model knowing that those sunnis will be out of power instantly. Pentagon doesn't want this, and has said it repeatedly.



    One of the reasons those AEI folks have now gone after powell is that he opposes installing Chabali, and has repeatedly tried to stand in the way of US favor for him.



    So it's not that Arabs can't handle democracy (which I have yet to see ANYONE claim), it's that the situation does not allow for it. With the Pentagon supporting an outsider, the CIA trying to support another one (Alawi, though they don't have control of the ground situation, so Chalabi is winning out) and the Irans trying to mobilize the shi'as, there are many groups pushing and pulling.



    You are already seeing the attempt to discredit the Shi'a groups with the strong Iranian talk, and I think it's pretty clear that the Pentagon will continue with it's campaign to make them seem radical and opposed to democracy with a preference for an islamic theocracy. By doing so, they can gradually slip Chalabi in there and make it look like the Iraqi people actually want him.
  • Reply 18 of 118
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    Harald,



    No they aren't. Nobody is really against empire, they're against:



    "adjective that doesn't describe me," Empire.



    Given choice between communist regimes, oppressive theocracies, civil war, and genocidal dictators, I say fly the red white and blue, and pass the greenbacks.



    If this comes from Europe, and I like Europe as much as I like America, but they tend to be a bunch of side talking arseholes (the politicos). The ONLY reason why they don't interfere so much is that they can benefit from Amercan interefernce without spending a dime to do to much of their own. They're so good at it that the can even criticise American interference (for the sake of apearances) while all the while thanking their lucky star that the yankees are around to do the job and absorb blame.
  • Reply 19 of 118
    giantgiant Posts: 6,041member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Matsu





    No they aren't. Nobody is really against empire



    yes, most thinking people are.
  • Reply 20 of 118
    matsumatsu Posts: 6,558member
    NO they aren't.



    They can't admit it to themselves, but the most basic operating psychology of any nationalistic group is in a perpetual empire-building epochal state. Some of it may be unrecognizable as a mythic conquering drive, but it never leaves even the thinking people. Some of them may hope an ultimate altruism may win out, but they still hope for it to win. They want to see their ideals prevail.



    What's more, those who object, the revolutionaries, have almost never in the course of history been content to limit their activity to the destruction of an opressor without they themselves becoming an opressive force, especially in politically difficult areas. In fact America, in proportion o the power t their disposal has been one of the most benign empires ever, the most benign, when you think about it.



    Look at the Romans, the portuguese, the Spanish, the English, the Chinese, the Pre war Japanese and Germans. The Pakistani's and Indians.



    America may be ugly, Ok is ugly when you look at it, but it's the prettiest girl at this disfunctional ball
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