Thursday, March 15, 2007

The pull-out method

So it’s commonly known that there is an ideological problem with democratizing Iraq. Commonly known to everyone but George Bush, and his millions of followers. It seems safe to say that democracy is a better system in the protection of individual rights than Authoritarianism. Just by the very fact that our standard of living is much higher and freer than any authoritarian state, at least yet. There are of course (I repeat) ideological and religious reasons that democracy is unacceptable, but lets not forget that there was a time when the separation of Christianity and the state was considered ridiculous. There are obviously Muslims today that are living under democracy, so as George understands, it is possible for Muslims to democratize. Anything is possible… with time and energy. Time in Iraq is not being considered. Energy is, but its type is certainly questionable for the effect being striven for.

Lets first look at the need of time. Iraqis are not democratic and they never have been. There is a political theorist named Harry Eckstein who developed something called the congruence theory. Without getting into great specifics, for those of you who aren’t theory nerds, the basic premise is, for a democracy to succeed there must be a congruency or sameness of institutions all through society (from government, to schools, small governments, clubs, families and down to the people.) All of these things need to be somewhat democratic for a democracy to work. It really makes sense, if all parts of a society are organized democratically, it is a sign that the people of that state are thinking democratically (they feel that they have the right to influence their own future.) This is not the case in Iraq. We can not expect to stop and old authoritarian government and have a democratic one take its place overnight. Even if everyone in the state wanted it (they don’t) it still wouldn’t work because the people don’t know how to be democratic. How to educate people is a question that I and anyone else is hard pressed to answer. The only thing known is that democracy seems to be learned better by example than by schooling. Since the U.S (a democracy “ish”) has invaded Iraq and occupied it very undemocratically it can be safely assumed that the example we are showing is not a very good one. I would go so far as to say this might be the worst way to try to democratize Iraq. Which leads me into the next section, “energy.”

It takes energy to make a democracy, but who should do it, and how should it be done? The biggest problem with democratizing is that it seems nearly impossible to jump start it without the use of violence (is it?). Saddam was not going to one day say “ok make a democracy” to his people. People are most likely going to die, and war may ensue. I will leave it up to you to decide whether you think war for freedom is moral. I might venture to say that it is more moral if it is for your own freedom. This isn’t for the U.S’s freedom. The greater problem in Iraq, more so than moral (wow, more than moral?!?) is the strategic problem of outside force. The prospective citizens of a new democracy first of all must want to democratize, it cant be decided for them, (that’s undemocratic!.) The force that we use against the Iraqis will cause them to run from democracy, not internalize it. You can’t force someone to not want to be forced anymore.

I’m obviously looking at a very narrow section of the Iraq situation, there are many more variables effecting it. I think however that it is important to point out these problems. I think it shows that what the U.S wants and what they are actually doing in Iraq are counter-intuitive and counter- productive. Iraq isn’t our toy. It’s a state full of people that are going through a lot of shit. They have been going through shit for a long time, but we have changed what kind.

Now that we have changed things should we really pull out and leave them to settle it themselves? Yes and no. That’s my opinion anyways. We’ve done the harm, we’ve put the country into shambles, we can’t leave it that way, look into the U.S history of war, when we do that, it's not so good for the other country. On the other hand we would really like to see Iraq democratize, and its fairly safe to assume that in time they will want it too, but that transition has a much smaller chance of occurring if a democratic state is enforcing a will on them violently. We need to stay there but change our course. Demonstrating democracy while helping stabilize and re-build the country wold seem to be a better sort of operation.

The cause to pull out our troops now, is backward. (sorry Cindy) It’s a nice concept but doesn’t make a lot of sense. Certainly leaving completely now would save American lives, but if we are truly to be moral beings we must weigh consequences pan-nationally. Us leaving now would cause more death to the world. If America is going to use its army to help other countries liberalize (this is considering that this is not simply an excuse) then we are going to have to update our military. Our old methods are not going to be able to appropriately manage our new goals. If we want to liberalize countries we are going to need a peaceful, democratic army that expresses those very attributes which we wish other countries to emulate. That is something to strive for. I would join that army. It’s too late to pull out, the damage has been done, now we have to do what we SAID we were going in for.

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