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Good luck, Iraq

Iraqis are going to the polls. I hope the whole process goes well. I came across this link here which gives all kinds of information about the election and the participants. Cynics may dismiss the whole process and of course the problems of that tortured country will remain for a long time. As an uncertain supporter of the war to topple Saddam, my main reason for deposing the vile Baathist regime was that its removal was in my view the least-bad option, but the chance of sowing the seeds of liberal democracy in the Middle East was a key bonus. I hope that the citizens of Iraq can start to look forward to a better future.

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14 comments to Good luck, Iraq

  • I'm suffering for my art

    It seems to me that many critics of the election won’t be happy with anything less than a nigh-on perfect process. Demanding this is wishful thinking. Surely a rough and ready election, even with a small minority of Sunnis voting, is as best as we can hope for – and if that occurs, it should be considered a triumph.

  • Verity

    I know Perry doesn’t like democracy, but I found it heartening so see those thousands of people lined up to have their first-ever say in how their country is governed. And they have the Coalition of The Willing to thank for this mind-bloggling freedom.

  • Julian Morrison

    This strikes me as “the day the insurgents lost”. They promised a bloodbath, barely managed to blow up a handful. And everyone defied them to turn up anyway. The main weapon the insurgents had, their myth of extreme dangerousness, is basically blown to shreds.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if after this, a great many entrenched insurgents get “ratted out” by their no-longer-scared neighbors.

  • I know Perry doesn’t like democracy

    Verity – in the absence of any reposte from Perry at this stage, let me paraphrase Churchill who said democracy is the worst form of government – apart from all the others.

    Democracy is a pretty bad way of deciding what to have for tea or whether people should be allowed to smoke in pubs. It is tyrannical to use democracy to impose preferences on people when individual choice and private property do som much better – but whe choosing a government, however minimal (and the smaller the better), voting is the best way we have available.
    I am encouraged by the way Iraqis are lining up to vote precisely becuase it is far better than the alternative.

    Being realistic about it, they will probably elect some Shia government although in the best case they will run a secular-ish State. We can only hope it will be moderate enough to allow democracy to continue because with stability and rising prosperity, Iraqis will get fed up with religious leadership and become increasingly secular.

  • mike

    Well let’s hope the Assembly can make a success of drafting a constitution without too much interference from the Iranians next door. They of course will be seeking an Islamic ally, if not from the content/wording of the constitution under which any future Iraqi gov would have to work, then in the first particular Iraqi gov elected in December (assuming any referendum on the constitution is won). The Iranians will surely be hoping to establish some influence with a majority Shi’ite Assembly.

  • Harry

    It has been heartening to watch the BBC with endless sick looking reporters who are bloodbathless.
    Democracy may not be perfect but is a lot better then what went before in Iraq.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    I hope there are plans afoot to heavily guard the recently elected representatives and their families. It would be a catastrophic blow if, whilst the West was busy patting itself on the back for a job well done, insurgents neutered the fledgling government by assassinating a large number of these newly-minted politicians as they come out of hiding to rebuild Iraq.

  • I'm suffering for my art

    Wow…I went cliche crazy in that last post!

  • Andy Mo

    At last some good news out of Iraq….

    How hard would it be to install democracy in Saudi Arabia? As US allies surely they should be next on the ‘list’. With Pres Bush Jnr modeling himself as the democracy installing crusader isn’t it a bit hypocrytical that S Arabia is still a undemocratic monarchy.

  • Verity

    Andy Mo – In case you missed it, Iraq was chosen because it is a secular society. Therefore, in the judgement of President Bush, Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld it was a better bet for encouraging the first democracy in the Middle East than, say, oh, a corrupt, oil-rich theocracy. Especially one that is considered the epicentre of Islam. So far, the President, Condi and Donald seem to be thinking pretty clearly.

    isn’t it a bit hypocrytical that S Arabia is still a undemocratic monarchy.” Perhaps you’d let us know what timeframe you have decided would be appropriate, Andy Mo.

  • mursfo

    Can I just remind everyone who put Saddam in charge of Iraq by training & funding him & help staging a revolution in the first place. That’s right the US, while I’m here the US funded & trained the Taliban & perhaps inspired & fuelled their gung ho zealous attitude all throughout the 80s. Oh I might be wrong but didn’t the US overthrow the Iranian Prime Minister & install a dictator in Iran in 1953. Hmmm seems to be a pattern emerging. I hope (although it’s very unlikely)the Iraqis elect the Communists (or other hardliners) & they renationalise the infrastructure that might teach the greedy thieving yanks that sometimes their meddling ain’t so profitable. In fact if the Iraqis ever do get a truly free election the Americans might be very surprised at what ends up happening.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Mursfo, you say the U.S. funded the Taliban and supported Sadam. Supposing that what you say is true and that the Coalition powers had in the past supported the very regimes now deposed. So what? George W. Bush cannot be blamed for the fact that his predecessors followed short-sighted foreign policies.

    I have never understood the logic of those who claim that because America or Britain followed bad policies in the past that it is therefore hypocritical for them to pursue different ones now. The fact is that Bush has made it clear that America has made a serious error in the past in propping up nasty regimes, doing so in an underreported speech in Britain more than a year ago. The days of Kissingeresque cynicism or “realist” policy are over. Not before time.

  • mursfo

    What I’ve said is true, & is historical fact. & as quoted elsewhere on this site before Saddam there was 60 years of peace in Iraq & if correcting mistakes is your agenda be up front about it. I’ve not heard this stated publicly & it should be if this is the reason, but the main point is that the US is still meddling, whose to say that Hamid Karzai, or Allawi(or more than likely their succesors) will have to be ousted in 30 years time. The US needs to do some humble apologising before the rest of the world will have anything but hatred for the US. Lets hope that the course of unilateralism that the US has chosen to take leaves it out on it’s own with the rest of the world carrying on without her, which is a likely prospect if the $ does’nt stabilise over the long term. The US is ruled by Liars & if you don’t believe that you are totally deluded. With the rise of the east & especially China the US might actually end up being surplus to requirments. The days of the nonchalant swagger will be over soon. Pension reforms, a disaster waiting to happen, After Enron? Soon enough it will be everyone in the US living on the breadline including the middle classes once their pensions have been ‘mis managed’/robbed, well don’t grumble then, is all I ask.

  • Johnathan

    Mursfo, Iraq had peace in the 60 years before Saddam? So what do you imagine happened in Iraq during WW1 and WW2 then?

    You are also wrong about the pensions issue. America faces a pensions crunch, but then so does Japan, most of w. Europe and other places as well. In places like Germany, Spain and Italy the crunch is likely to be far more serious as their birthrates are far lower than in the USA.