Night ops

Monday, January 24, 2005

Who will stand for democracy?

William Shawcross has a column in The Guardian which, in essence, asks the world, "Who will stand for democracy in Iraq?"
Tony Blair said in Baghdad in December: "On the one side you have people who desperately want to make the democratic process work, and want the same type of democratic freedoms other parts of the world enjoy, and on the other side people who are killing and intimidating and trying to destroy a better future for Iraq. Our response should be to stand alongside the democrats."

Blair is absolutely right. It is shocking that so few democratic governments support the Iraqi people. Where are French and German and Spanish protests against the terror being inflicted on voters in Iraq? And it is shocking that around the world there is not wider admiration of, assistance to and moral support (and more) for the Iraqi people. The choice is clear: movement towards democracy in Iraq or a new nihilism akin to fascism - Islamist fascism.
(hat tip: Captain's Quarters)

My follow-on question is "If you don't stand up for democracy in Iraq, where will you stand up for it?"

Geopolitical Review says you must read "Thomas Friedman arguing that the war in Iraq will not be won with troops but with ballots. Here's a portion:
Either Iraqis turn out in large numbers to take control of their own future and write their own constitution - and I think they will - or the fascist insurgents there prevent them from doing so, in which case the Bush team will have to move to Plan B. What's sad is that right when we have reached crunch time in Iraq, the West is totally divided. All that the Europeans care about is being able to say to George Bush, "We told you so." What happens the morning after "We told you so" ? Well, the Europeans don't have a Plan B either.

Ever since 9/11, I've argued the war on terrorism is really a war of ideas within the Muslim world - a war between those who want to wall Islam off from modernity, and defend it with a suicide cult, and those who want to bring Islam into the 21st century and preserve it as a compassionate faith. This war of ideas is not one that the West can fight, only promote. Muslims have to fight it from within. That is what is at stake in the Iraqi elections. This is the first great battle in the post-9/11 war of ideas.

This war also can't be won with troops - only with turnout. This is a war between Iraqi voters and insurgents - ballots versus bullets. And the people who understand that best are the fascist insurgents. That is why they are not focusing their attacks on U.S. troops, but on Iraqi election workers, candidates, local officials and police. The insurgents have one credo: "Iraqis must not vote - there must be no authentic expression of the people's will for a modern, decent Iraq. Because, if there is, the world will see that this is not a war between Muslims and infidel occupiers, but between Muslims with bad ideas and Muslims with progressive ideas."


One of those with bad ideas is Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi
"We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology," [Zarqawi] said. "Anyone who tries to help set up this system is part of it."

al-Zarqawi...condemned the election, branding candidates as "demi-idols" and saying those who vote for them "are infidels" - a clear threat to the safety of all those who participate in the balloting.


"All it takes for Evil to prevail in this world is for enough good men to do nothing." (Edmund Burke)


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