That ‘democratic justification’ for invading Iraq, Part LXIII

It’s Tom Friedman, at it once again in today’s NYT!
Here we are now, almost exactly fourteen Friedman Units (F.U.’s) after George W. Bush’s (heavily Friedman-supported) invasion of Iraq, and the arrogant and over-rated “Sage of Bethesda” is now telling us that the decidedly mixed, and violence-plagued picture of what happened on Sunday’s election day in Iraq was unequivocally “a very good day for Iraq.”
Friedman completely omits to mention the big role that his own writings (and those of many NYT colleagues) played in 2002, in building up the nationwide constituency for the war. Instead, he just notes archly that,

    Some argue that nothing that happens in Iraq will ever justify the costs. Historians will sort that out.

That is, of course, also GWB’s own, famously self-exculpating line about the war.
And the Sage of Bethesda (SOB) doesn’t fail to give us one of his frequent little, faux-intimate verbal sparring matches with a world leader… In this case, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, to whom Tom addresses the following:

    How are you feeling today? Yes, I am sure you have your proxies in Iraq. But I am also sure you know what some of your people are quietly saying: “How come we Iranian-Persian-Shiites — who always viewed ourselves as superior to Iraqi-Arab-Shiites — can only vote for a handful of pre-chewed, pre-digested, ‘approved’ candidates from the supreme leader, while those lowly Iraqi Shiites, who have been hanging around with America for seven years, get to vote for whomever they want?” Unlike in Tehran, Iraqis actually count the votes. This will subtly fuel the discontent in Iran…

Oh my goodness. Do you think the SOB ever actually reads the news from Iraq where, as we know, Ahmed Chalabi’s extremely anti-democratic “Justice and Accountability Commission” intervened on Saturday to suddenly, on the eve of the election, disqualify 55 candidates– additional to the hundreds it had already disqualified, earlier on during the election campaign?
Chalabi is far from being a neutral figure in the election, since he’s running as a member of the Iraqi National Alliance, the Iran-backed list of mainly Shiite politicians.
So those 55 suddenly banned candidates– all of whom were affiliated with other blocs, mainly the Iraqiyya bloc headed by Ayad Allawi– still had their names on the ballots on Sunday; and thus not only were they subjected to last-minute banning, but in addition everyone who voted for them suddenly had their votes rendered essentially meaningless.
As the WaPo’s Ernesto London and Leila Fadel report from Baghdad today,

    If the votes for the newly barred candidates are annulled, it could give the Iraqiya coalition powerful ammunition to allege vote-rigging by rival politicians, including some in the Shiite-led camp of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
    “It will be a very violent reaction,” Allawi said in an interview Tuesday. “A lot of violence will take place, and God knows how this will end. I will tell you there is already an existing feeling that there was widespread rigging and widespread intimidation.”

And it’s not just those 55 suddenly-banned candidates and those who voted for them who’re at risk of having their political rights suddenly stripped from them. Londono and Fadel report that,

    Faraj al-Haidary, chairman of Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission, said Tuesday night that … under Iraqi law, the Justice and Accountability Commission could theoretically bar more candidates in the days ahead if it submits paperwork before the electoral board certifies them as lawmakers.

Ah, but my friend Tom, sitting in Bethesda, can assure us that Iraqis “get to vote for whomever they want”?
The WaPo journos also write about our friend the Iraq specialist Reidar Visser that he,

    said the last-minute disqualification of candidates poses significant challenges for the electoral commission. Because Iraqis were able to choose individual candidates in the elections — as opposed to voting for slates that distribute the seats — disqualifying elected candidates could enrage voters.
    “This could create a major problem for the whole process,” Visser said. “We have seen that there is no legal framework to deal with these eventualities, so they’re creating the framework as they proceed.”

So the post-election period in Iraq this time might well be– just as it was after the last national election, in December 2005– very messy, long-drawn-out and quite possibly even, as Allawi warned, violent.
So please let’s not sing any paens to the triumph of “democracy” in Iraq yet. (As Newsweek did last week, and as far too many other stalwarts of the US MSM seem to have been doing this week, too.)
George Bush’s hastily cobbled-together, back-up main “justification” for invading Iraq in 2003, remember, was– once he finally realized the “WMD justification” was a crock of nonsense– that the US occupation liberation of Iraq would usher in a new era of democratic, accountable, and successful government that would immediately become a model for the striving peoples of the whole of the rest of the region…
(Kind of like what the SOB was still arguing in his mendacious piece today.)
But in the aftermath of Iraq’s December 2005 election, the country was plunged into deeper sectarianism and social collapse than it had ever before experienced, and for roughly 18 months thereafter the violence and heartbreak continued unabated, sending streams of extremely distressed Iraqis fleeing for their lives.
Electoral “democracy”, it turned out, was not a “model” that anyone anywhere else in the region wanted to emulate, at all. (In the OPTs, interestingly, all the major political forces did continue with their plans to hold an OPTs-wide parliamentary election just six weeks after that Iraqi election, in January 2006. Washington’s ferocious response to the results of that election gave the lie to any lingering idea anyone might have had that George W. Bush really did have any gut sympathy for the norms and principles of democratic self-governance… )
And, contra to what the SOB is now telling us, I certainly don’t think anyone in the Middle East, whether Iranians, Arabs, Turks, Israelis, or anyone else, is sitting on the edge of their chairs thinking that the 2010 election in Iraq is going to usher in a fabulous period of successful, democratic self-governance in Iraq. The most that anyone is able to hope for, really, is that despite the machinations of Ahmed Chalabi and his gang– the ones who got us into the war and occupation in the first place, remember, along with Bush and Cheney– Iraq’s conflict-battered people may somehow find a governance system that works for them and allows them to rebuild a society that has been torn apart by two decades, now, of extremely vindictive, lethal, politicidal, and arrogant western policy toward their country.
How Iraq’s citizenry decide to govern themselves is completely up to them. For Tom Friedman or anyone else to claim they know what should happen is imperialist arrogance of the most outdated and destructive kind.

6 thoughts on “That ‘democratic justification’ for invading Iraq, Part LXIII”

  1. That is the closest the Arab world gets to democracy. Yes, it involves some mortars and bombs every time there is a poll, and some candidates are banned, but you can only lead the horse to water.
    Rumsfeld should get the Nobel prize that BHO got for a useless Cairo appearance.

  2. judging from israel and america, democracy means fascism which means zionist-corporate rule. rule by theft, lies, deception, imprisonment, torture, murder. democracy from the dual also means bombing markets and polling areas of other countries and blaming others of course. that is the beauty of jumurderka’s “democracy”.

  3. Thanks Shlomos!
    What I really appreciate about this blog is that I
    can come up here once a day and get my full daily
    dose of anti-Israel, anti-American hatred just by
    reading one or two comments. I’ve looked long and hard all over the internet and for my money this is one of the best bargains around.

  4. To recap the salient history of Deputy Dubya’s Debacle in Iraq in a single declarative sentence:
    America invaded Iraq to depose a dictator we did not fear to deprive him of weapons he did not possess in retaliation for an attack upon us in which he did not participate.
    Or, as my fellow Vietnam Veteran Daniel Ellsberg succinctly put it:
    America invaded Iraq for three reasons: Oil, Israel, and Domestic Political Considerations.
    Or, as Mr. Friedman Unit himself so eloquently “reasoned” in his celebrated taunting of the entire Muslim world:
    “Suck on this!”
    But the chickenhawk, apartheid zionist jerks who cheered on this unmitigaged disaster (for the Iraqis and dead/maimed American military) must now attempt — from their safe hiding places in the tall grass — to rewrite history so as to induce the Orwellian amnesia that they hope will make it possible to do this all again real soon now in Iran. Forgetting Vietnam made the tragedy of Iraq not only possible, but inevitable. Forgetting Iraq makes a second (i.e., “New and Improved”) debacle in Afghanistan inevitable as well. So let all credulous Americans — along with, and at the urging of Thomas “suck on this” Friedman — now proceed to forget. All together now:
    “The U.S.S. Memory Hole”
    One dark and stormy night this tepid tale
    Began, and waking from a dream, it ended.
    Unmoored, the uncrewed Fantasy set sail
    On twilight seas where day and nighttime blended.
    The empty sky complained to no avail
    About the disbelief it had suspended.
    The tide went out and with it went the boat
    Adrift and rudderless, no one commanding.
    The fog rolled in and swallowed in its throat
    The strangled cry of something dim demanding
    To know the reason why the fishes gloat
    To see a thing beneath their understanding.
    The wind, that vagrant quantity, died down,
    And then arose to drive the ship before it.
    No Ahab paced the deck to rage and frown.
    No fickle fate consented to abhor it:
    That nightmare stream in which the dreamers drown;
    The mind awaiting waking to restore it.
    The whales and dolphins swam along beside.
    The albatrosses soared, the gulls they glided.
    The barnacles hung on to bum a ride.
    The turtles temporized, their time they bided,
    Until the seals would cease them to deride;
    Till someone, somewhere, sane, this scene decided.
    The ocean rudely rolled, the eyes they crossed,
    As stomachs down below grew sour and trembled.
    The passengers turned pale; their lunch they lost;
    And wondered why they ever had assembled
    To voyage to the void at such a cost —
    And who the ticket-selling fraud resembled.
    No Ishmael survived the trip who knows
    Why thought reflected off the waves and scattered,
    Absorbed into the swirling ebbs and flows
    That left the crazy craft careened and battered
    Upon Amnesia reef where nothing grows
    Except forgetfulness of things that mattered.
    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright 2009

  5. Helena, you’re right. It is far too soon to be self-congratulatory about the Iraqi election. We haven’t had the results yet. Who can say what they will be?
    That said, US crowing about success in Iraq is not necessarily a bad thing. If that is helpful towards the US fulfilling its commitments, and withdrawing from Iraq, then that is useful.
    As we all know, the US cannot be removed by force from Iraq. If the US believes it has succeeded, and thus leaves Iraq, that is fine by the Iraqis, and by me.

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