Monday, March 08, 2010

A strange kind of honor

By Capt. Fogg

Is David Frum having his "mission accomplished" moment?
" Israel may have to retire its title as the only democracy in the Middle East. With Sunday's free and fair national election, Iraq joins the honor roll as one of the very few Islamic democracies,"

wrote Frum on today. If so it would be a strange kind of honor indeed, a ravaged, broken country with millions exiled, tens of thousands -- perhaps over a hundred thousand dead; a country cleansed of Christianity, where an election required massive military support and during which, dozens of people were killed.

Sure, it was an election that may actually reflect the will of the voters, but an election that could only be held because of the military might of an occupying invader; an election to pick a government that does not have the strength to run the country or to rebuilt it. Isn't it a bit premature to be portraying this as a "vindication" of George Bush's attempt to find al Qaeda training camps and Chemical weapons factories capable of attacking the United States within weeks? Is this somehow the conclusion of one of the longest and most costly wars in American history; a war which continues and the end of which is not yet in sight?

Certainly there is some hope for an eventual state of stability, but no assurance whatever as to what course a stable, self governing Iraq would take if not held at gunpoint. Certainly it's not time to have the Frum orchestra playing rhapsodies to a dishonest promise of the coming comity of nations and holding up Iraq as a model of enlightened and liberal democracy capable of spreading a Western model of government all over the Middle East. Can it be any more than dishonest when that still distant prospect is, at this point, the product of the wish to believe and more likely to be a fatuous dream than an accomplished mission?

David Frum is telling us that a distant shimmering mirage that never seems to get any closer as we move toward it is really a garden of Democratic Eden only steps away and that the unsubstantiated vision justifies having wandered in the desert wilderness for nearly a decade seeking one elusive promise after another. I wonder if, like the Moses he seems to think he is, he'll have to settle for seeing it from afar for the rest of his life.

(Cross posted from Human Voices)

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