Thursday, December 15, 2005

"Bush lied, fingers dyed!"

That quote above is from a Tim Blair commentator when the first round of voting took place in Iraq. In Iraq today (yesterday for them), they voted again, this time for a permanent Iraqi government. This is a tremendous moment in Arab history. It is a time when either one of two things have transpired: The creation of popular government that will start a revolution within the greater Arab culture, or the placement of a Band-Aid that will not stop a reversion to despotism.

First, these events are momentous for all Iraqis and for all of the brave Americans (as well as all Coalition forces, Iraqi and others) who have fought so long and hard for events such as this. As I mentioned in another post, so much is owed to the men and women that have served in the United States military. (One look at Michael Yon's breathtaking photograph sums up this sentiment. It is the second picture in the slideshow.) It is a moral imperative that no matter what occurs in the next days and months after this election, we should all glorify the work and persons of the United States military that have given millions a chance at personal autonomy when years ago, such a thought was dubious at least, life threatening at worst.

The question before us today is what is to be made of this event in the grand scheme of things. The true implications are, unfortunately, a distant revelation. There is no denying this process is pushing toward dynamic change in the Arab culture. Iraqis are fulfilling the concept civic happiness (see here, here and here), as the American Declaration of Independence so perfectly states. The question is, will this push be victorious, or in vain?

The always insightful Lee Harris at Tech Central Station writes that there is still something missing in Iraq, and that is a "dictator":

Dictatorial is the right word for the kind of power that some single man must be given in Iraq if there is to be any chance at achieving political stability. There is no substitute for political stability, nor can anything of permanent value be done in a society that lacks it. That is why states of emergency are states of emergency: nothing else goes on during them, everything productive and useful grinds to a halt for as long as they last. That is why the only remedy for such a situation is the assumption of absolute authority on the part of someone. A state of emergency is not the time for parliamentary debates or the writing of constitutions or for the deliberation of committees; it is not the time for the sharing of power among the quarreling groups that must be compelled to unite in a common project. Nor can it be resolved by passing laws that no one obeys, or training a better security force that no one commands. A state of emergency needs a dictator.

His argument is well noted and even makes practical sense. The greatest importance to Lee Harris is "political stability" and I could not agree more. How this is best achieved is my point of contention with Mr. Harris.

He argues that the Iraqi government is not a natural, or "organic" political system. This is true in the sense that Hussein's regime was removed by outside force, then a new political process was spurred by this same force. However, the new Iraqi government is organic in the sense that popular vote has decided this current course. (In so much as elected representation is direct.) But that is certainly the crux of the matter. The new Iraqi government is only just now, in this year, becoming a government that derives its power and authority from the ground up. The revolutionary idea of the American Revolution is that government power derives from the bottom up, rather than the top down. This creates a system of trust, which was broken during the American Civil War, then restored by force. But to use this example as Lee Harris has done, the reason a dictator in the Iraqi conflict is erroneous because it cannot be implemented without the usurpation of popular government as was the case during the Civil War. Iraq has just now established popular government on this day. Therefore, dictator (or dictatorial powers) cannot be an option, as it was with the Roman Republic or during the American Civil War. It will only be a path to sustained despotism in a country that understands this power. For the Romans or Americans, dictator, or dictatorial powers were foreign to those currently living, therefore, tyranny was foreign to Cincinnatus and Lincoln. Tyranny is not foreign to any current Iraqi.

So dictator is not a logical option and immediate withdrawl is ludicrous; the course is set. The Bush strategy is the only rational option left for Iraq. Obviously, there have been failures. But this course has given Iraqis hope and many around the globe hope that a stable, democratic Iraq will emerge. Lee Harris himself has called this a "Gamble" and it is in many respects. This is the reason I used that quote as the title of this post. The Iraq war is Bush's legacy to the world. That legacy so far is the voting of millions of Iraqis... but it could also be America's biggest blunder. So as pundits and writers and partisans rush to tell us all why the terrorists are finally defeated or why the world is about to implode, let's give millions of Iraqis and thousands of soldiers a day to celebrate the most important day in Iraq's history... they deserve at least one.


Blogger Mike said...

Well said.

7:19 AM  
Blogger Simple American said...

The Iraqi vote is quite an achievement. May their nation be sustained by democracy and freedom.

8:20 AM  
Blogger blogawakening said...

It's amazing to me that all of these election landmarks have occurred in such a short amount of time. Thanks to the US military and other forces for helping those that could not help themselves.

9:41 AM  

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