Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Iraq Calling

Because you can never have enough references to The Clash.

I may get around to reviewing Conservative reactions to the Iraqi election, but I'm not enthusiastic about it. Basically they all boil down to "See, if we had listened to you smelly liberals, this never would have happened." There are responses to that, but they all require a considerable dose of pessimism and I'm trying to follow the advice of Gambit and choosing "TO LAUGH."

And you thought the dopey use of all caps was confined to the internet. Nope, that particular advance in typographical science has been around for years, possibly centuries. I'm to busy too look it up but I think some of our revolutionary pamphlets and broadsides may have used all caps to emphasize certain words. So there you go.

Anyway, E. J. Dionne has some remarks on the Iraqi election which, I think, are a good combination of optimism and negativism.
. . . even opponents of the war and critics of President Bush should not be cynical about the immense courage shown by so many Iraqis, and by the troops protecting them. Nor should they -- we -- be cynical about the obvious superiority of even a flawed form of democracy over dictatorship. As John F. Kennedy might have put it, we observed on Sunday not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom.
There is concern, however, about what will happen in the Sunni controlled areas of Iraq, where voting largely didn't take place, in part because of threats of violence. And in part because some Sunni Leaders feel that the new Iraq doesn't hold a place for them. The Sunni's have ruled Iraq for a long time; it's not unreasonable to wonder how the Kurds and the Shi'ites will deal with them now that they are no longer in power.

There are also concerns about how well the new government can perform. "Democracies also have to deliver the goods. Germany's Weimar Republic fell to Hitler in the 1930s because of severe economic problems combined with a sense among many Germans that democracy was a foreign imposition. Sound eerily familiar?"

At any rate, while there is reason for hope, there is also a need for a certain hard-headedness in looking at the days and years ahead.

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