`Democracy` Not Really What Is Being Planned For Iraq
The United States, the headline in
the Jan. 6 New York Times informed us,
"is completing plan to promote a democratic Iraq." The war against this Middle Eastern state that has
never done a single thing to harm any American is not
yet even under way, and already the munchkins on the
Potomac are plotting how to "spread democracy" there.
The truth is, however, that the
Times` headline seems to be the last we will hear of
"democracy" on the Euphrates.
The description of what American
diplomats, technocrats, bureaucrats and globocrats are
planning for Iraq is anything but democratic; indeed,
the participation and consent of the people of Iraq seem
not even to be on the horizon.
What is being planned is nothing
less than what old-fashioned sorts like to call
"empire," though this time without the
pith helmets and marching bands that
European and American imperialism used to sport.
The plans include the trial of
"only the most senior Iraqi leaders" and "quick
takeover of the country`s oil fields to pay for
reconstruction," but they extend also to what is
being called the "de-Baathization" of Iraq, similar to
de-Nazification of Germany after World War II (The
Baath Party is the more or less
national socialist vehicle for Saddam Hussein`s
system of rule). The process, as described by
administration officials, will mean that "government
elements closely identified with Saddam`s regime …
will be eliminated, but much of the rest of the
government will be reformed and kept."
That sounds nice; presumably being
"eliminated" doesn`t mean murdered, but then
again it might. In any case, no one in Iraq has said boo
about any of these plans, so there is nothing
"democratic" about it at all.
As for the oil, the largest
reserves in the world next to those of Saudi Arabia, the
administration is assuring everyone that it`s the
"patrimony of the Iraqi people." That indeed is
exactly what it is now under Saddam Hussein, but the
administration is now "debating" "how an occupied Iraq
would be represented in the
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, if at
It`s terrific there`s a real
debate about that inside the administration. It would be
democratic if the people of Iraq, whose "patrimony" the
oil is, got to debate about it.
Then there`s the little matter of
just how long the United States plans to be in Iraq.
That`s open to question. "Administration officials
insist American forces would not stay in Iraq a day
longer than is necessary to stabilize the country."
One of President Bush`s "top advisers" says, "I don`t
think we`re talking abut months, but I don`t think we`re
talking about years, either."
In fact, as the officials admit
when they`re honest, they don`t know what they`re
talking about — simply because no one knows what
"stabilizing" Iraq means, how much resistance there will
be to the invasion or how the Iraqis will respond to all
the nifty plans for "democratization" once the war`s
And then, of course, there`s the
"civilian administrator" who will be appointed ("perhaps
by the United Nations" but certainly not by the
Iraqi people, at least not until they get "deBaathicized")
and who "would run the country`s economy, rebuild its
schools and political institutions, and administer aid
programs" — in other words, the American puppet
dictator of Baghdad.
There is supposedly a debate
within the administration as to whether the United
States should appoint a
"provisional government" of Iraqis or not, but
what`s funny about all the planning for
"democratization" is that not once does the word
"election" seem to come up.
Nevertheless, this is what
"spreading democracy" really means in the context of the
modern technocratic global order: not actual
participation in and consent by the people of the state
being "democratized" but simply replacing one regime
that our ruling class doesn`t like with another that it
And what is done in Iraq will
serve as a model for other Arab and Third World states
with similar social and political structures once we
conquer them too.
In a recent issue of Pat
Buchanan`s anti-interventionist magazine,
The American Conservative,
veteran Middle East observer
Arnaud de Borchgrave noted that "There is little
realization in Washington that democracy [in Iraq
and the Middle East] would make the region even more
anti-American than it already is by giving free rein to
Islamist fundamentalist extremists."
But since what the munchkins are
planning for Iraq seems to have nothing to do with
genuine democracy, there`s no reason to worry — nor any
reason to think that the peculiar Western institution of
ever sprout in Iraq anyway.
therefore no reason to regret its absence in Iraq, let
alone to try to engineer it there, but there`s also no
good reason to go there at all.
January 13, 2003