Maple Ridge, Wednesday, October 8th, 2006: Assume for a moment that the United States, guided by the Chief Executive, but against the wishes of the United Nations, launched its assault on the Iraqi nation some years ago in the name of bringing to Iraq the universally accepted rule of democracy; a rule designed and enacted to enable the will of the people upon government. Forget for a moment any other distraction, such as the notion of weapons of mass distraction, or a general fight against international terror; and ignore even the slightly absurd inference of a son going to war to take down a dictator just to make daddy proud.
With the sole aim of bringing democracy to Iraq war does, in retrospect, seem an odd way for the proponents of democracy to demonstrate their good intentions. With yesterday’s mid-term elections taking down the Republicans in both houses one wonders if this event itself would not adequately demonstrate that, in the right hands, democracy does indeed work.
The fall of Republicans yesterday was followed closely by today’s announcement of Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation. Of itself the Rumsfeld departure comes as not a surprise to anyone, and if anything is seen as a blessing by many. It is as clear today as it was all along that Rumsfeld did nothing but ‘follow orders’ and no one is in doubt as to where the orders found birth. The war, now more than ever, seems to have been and continues to be an appalling waste of human life. The economic loss is irrelevant, for it is a matter of morbid statistics, that the US economy seems to thrive as much in peace as it does in war.
This week too saw one Dictator condemned to death while a Decider has been democratically condemned to a slow and arduous 2 year death as he serves out his time in virtual political purgatory in Washington. So with the protagonists gone and foot soldiers fired what should we expect next? The future is by no means certain.
We (and none of us in the West should deny that we were implicitly involved) went to war in the hope of bringing Democracy to Iraq. We have failed. The way in which we chose to register our failure was to pressurize the US electorate into removing the first problem – a Republican dominance in Congress – and we will continue to fight for the removal of Republican influence altogether in the Whitehouse.
The irony lost is that the citizens of the US, by their actions at the polls this week have more successfully demonstrated the virtues of democracy than any invasion or war ever will. Sadder yet is that this irony is lost where it is most needed, in the Middle East and in Iraq more than ever.