Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Iraq Election: An Assessment

In his commentary on the Iraqi election, Baptist theologian Albert Mohler assured readers that freedom is on the march. Mohler writes that, “while the pessimists in Western nations may be embarrassed by their empty predictions of a failed election, the response in other Arab capitals should be far more dramatic. The autocratic despots of the Arab world must surely see this election as a sign that time is running out. Once freedom is set loose in the Middle East, it will not stop at the borders of Iraq. It will eventually make its way across the Middle East, the gulf states, and North Africa.” Mohler goes on to say, “Iraq did feel the force of freedom on Sunday--and that force was felt not only by freedom's friends, but its enemies as well. That noise you hear is the sound of autocrats shuddering.”

Actually, I don’t think that sound in the distance is the shuddering of autocrats. And I’m pretty sure we aren’t hearing the faint cry of freedom, democracy, and constitutionalism being birthed in Baghdad. No, on the contrary, what you hear is screeching and sputtering nonsense emanating from practically every orifice of the American body politic. The lackeys and lickspittles of the media elite are virtually unanimous in their full-throated acclaim for the latest episode in civilization building otherwise known as the Iraqi elections.

Over at the NY Times, John Burns provided a glimpse of the hard-hitting tone that would imbue the paper’s coverage of the election: “On Sunday, everything about the voting resonated with a passion for self-expression, individuals set on their own choices, prepared to walk long distances through streets choked with military checkpoints, and to stand for hours in line to cast their ballots.”

Meanwhile, the Washington Post editorialized that, “The majority of Iraqis support the emerging democratic order in their country, and many are willing to risk their lives for it.” According to the Post, Iraqi “votes were an act of courage and faith -- and an answer to the question of whether the mission in Iraq remains a just cause.“ I hadn’t realized that we went to war in Iraq to ensure that two years later there would be a “free and fair” election. Can someone ask Richard Land if that’s a causus belli? Ah, nevermind.

Nearly as ludicrous as the Post editorial page were the scribblings on the newspage where CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) bigwig Walter Russell Mead offered up this assessment: “It was a big, climactic moment in history, which this clearly was because it had a lot of dramatic consequences and will be unfolding for many years. Certainly at this point, you have to say that the Bush administration's critics have made as many mistakes as the Bush administration in assessing Iraq."

Is he joking? Originally, the administration had no plans to hold an election. Indeed, Iraq was to remain under occupation until a constitution was written. However, last June the Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's most influential Shiite Muslim cleric, issued a fatwa calling for general elections to select the drafters of the constitution.

In the face of Sistani's criticism and rising casualties, Paul Bremer devised plans for a caucus-style election that was to be limited to political, religious, tribal, academic and trade union leaders as well as other influential local figures approved by the Americans. From the caucuses, the drafters of the constitution were to be selected.

Sistani opposed the caucus plan and engineered huge protests provoking and ultimately winning the showdown with the administration. Sistani's victory secured a democratic election that will likely produce a Shiite theocracy closely aligned with Iran, the nation identified by the State Department as the chief sponsor of terror.

As with the mindless intervention in the Balkans, American military might has been used to create an Islamic republic, imperiling the security of our country and the lives of our Christian brethren. That leaders of the American right claim the election represents a triumph of American values shows how corrupt "conservatism" has become. They've traded in Washington, Adams, and Jefferson for Robespierre.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Might it be amnesia that accounts for the fact that recent domestic history is overlooked as supporters of the aggression in Iraq attempt to co-opt the bravery of Shia voters last weekend? How awfully transparent! The election was al-Sistani's triumph and his alone. Bush and his syncophants were pushed kicking and screaming into this outcome and with the worst yet to come: A slow evolution into an Islam Republic engaged from the beginning of it's existence in a civil war with one fifth of it's citizens. If al-Sistani already hasn't gathered that the rapid withdrawl of American forces at this point is very much in his interests, I'd be surprised. In the end we'll be kicked out, that unless Bush wishes to set up some equivalent of the Nazi Government General which is not entirely out of the question. God knows, he's been working hard enough on doing that here.

11:52 PM  

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