The Birth of Democracy

What does the birth of a democracy look like? What happens when a society – that has lived under despotic rule for as long as most can remember – attempts to transform, to evolve itself, to a higher form?

Shiites Told: Leave Home Or Be Killed (registration required)

The Iraqis are working out their future, slowly. Some times they degenerate to the only behavior they know in sorting out the transition and distribution of power. It will get worse before it gets better but I think it at least has the potential for getting better. It was mentioned in the article that religious leaders are making efforts deal with the tensions peacefully. Even giving the Shiites two days to vacate is a step up from simply killing them in place.

It is the popular thing to use each and every news article out of Iraq to bash the current administration anew. I think that’s cheap and easy. Few people really understand the complexities of Iraq. Many people seem to think they do. “It’s all just so obvious, isn’t it?”

Some time ago I listened to an NPR show Fresh Air when they had L. Paul Bremer III on the show. He was on to promote his book “My Year in Iraq: The Struggle to Build a Future of Hope”. It was interesting to hear his telling of events in that first year after the fall of Saddam. He talked about things that never made it into the press. Everything is so clean, easy and unambiguous to us, here in the comfort of our homes.

William F. Buckley, Jr. believes, like many, that It Didn’t Work. That’s definitely the easy view. There will be plenty to cheer and support him. I’m not so sure. In the follow on article, Next Step, Buckley attempts to draw a comparison between Japan and Germany of World War II and Iraq but the comparison is disingenuous. Buckley is comparing apples to oranges and he knows it.

Iraq has no history of democracy that anyone can remember. Iraq has no history of respect for human rights that anyone can remember. What is being attempted in Iraq today is to craft something for which there is no plan and no one knows what it will look like when it is done. The US knows what democracy looks like in Western society but it is foolhardy to think that democracy in Arabic society will look the same. The Iraqis really have no idea what it will look like. They’ve never seen an Arabic democracy before. Not one that works. However, if this article from the Economist is to be believed, democracy is coming to the middle east. They will figure it out, sooner or later.

At this point, the Iraqis have head start. I hope we stay the course as they continue to work out what an Arab democracy looks like. They have some big problems to resolve. Problems that have existed in that society long enough to have hair and teeth. Those problems will not be solved simply.


Today’s run stats:

  • 4 miles in 44:14
  • Pulse one minute after finish: 140
  • Pulse five minutes after finish: 116
  • Times are headed the wrong way here but there is progress and improvement being made.

[posted with ecto]

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