We Wince At Every Hit
Actually, there isn't. There still is nothing resembling a non-sectarian party, and until there is, the 'democracy' will be like Iran's: Entirely mythical.As Bernard Lewis pointed out, parliaments are an innovation, there is no precedent for them in the Middle East or in Islam. What he didn't also say is, they are meaningless. Nobody there takes them seriously.
Yes, because if democracy means anything, it means constraining people's choices.
Well, it was rather dull. No blood, no guts, no explosions. There are elections all over the world all of the time. Clearly we can't waste front page space for them all.
Constraining people's choice is what confessional parties are all about.Democracy is about sharing power and making compromises, allowing the other guy a taste.Except for Kurds, there are no Muslims in the Middle East (and probably not any anywhere) who are prepared to do that.There's a reason there has never been a Muslim country with popular self-government. Ever.
Well, it was rather dull. No blood, no guts, no explosions. Bret's got it. Harry's missed it, of course: democracy has nothing whatsoever to do with sharing power with the other guy. Deomocracy is what you try when you get tired of blood and guts, but haven't gotten tired of power yet. Iraq's democracy is no more mythical than ours is, and no less.
Allow me to introduce you to Lt. Col. David Kilcullen, counterinsurgency specialist in the Australian Army, who spent years on evaluation teams in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has a book out, 'The Accidental Guerrilla.'I don't have my copy by me, but quoting from memory it says, 'when under military pressure, insurgents don't give up, they go quiet.'We already know, because they said so, that the Sadrists have done that. According to my daily newspaper, the Sunnis are crying foul: Predictable, since they think they are a majority and therefore could not have finished out of first.This ain't democracy, and the violent people in Iraq are not tired of blood and guts.
Kilcullen, McMaster and Mansoor don't need an introduction, but thanks. And of course that's democracy. The Iraqis just stood to an orderly election; there doesn't appear to have been widespread violence; no dictator got 90% of the vote. They've done neither more nor less than we did two months ago. As you've pointed out yourself, correctly, democracy doesn't owe you a promise you that you're going to like the outcome.
As it happens, the secular parties showed strong gains in the election.
So says the NYT. But the point would stand even if they hadn't; indeed especially if they hadn't. Your party gets crushed to insignificance, and your head stays on your shoulders, then that's democracy. Harry's making the same mistake he accuses the Sunnis of.
They aren't secular parties until voters from the different confessions join them together, which hasn't happened.The difference is not between secular and religious parties but between fanatically religious and less fanatically religious parties.I am amused to hear that compromise has nothing to do with democracy, considering what the Republicans have been saying about the bailout bill. They want a taste, even if they lost the election.We'll see whether any of the 'secular' parties in Iraq who won are prepared to be as broadminded.
Harry:All that may well be true, but you miss the essential point.Iraqis, nearly alone among Islamic countries, are now able to throw the bums out.Some quagmire.
I could be wrong, and if I am I'll admit it, and be glad of it.But I'm not wrong so far and you just can't sell Arabs short and make money.Over at Volokh today they are having great fun ribbing the Washington Post for labeling Turkey a liberal democracy. Elections are not the end of being a democracy, only a beginning. Japan had elections right up to 1945.
Nobody said a blessed word about liberal democracy.
The Washington Post did.
Bret, Joe, David, please send your email addresses to jeffguinn--at--comcast.net
Skipper: if this is about Duck, then please pass along our heartfelt condolences. May he rest in peace.
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