Friday, February 04, 2005

No Regrets

Following the elections in Iraq last weekend, I received emails from some of my Republican acquaintances suggesting that perhaps President Bush and his administration had been right all along. Hadn't we liberated the Iraqi people from a brutal dictatorship and brought democracy to their doorstep? Couldn't I admit to being wrong in my opposition to such a noble goal, especially now, with proof that the people of Iraq would risk their lives to cast a vote? Like everyone else, I couldn't help but be impressed and inspired by the courage of the Iraqi voters last weekend. Indeed, the elections were a clear indication that the majority of Iraqis want control of their government. Saddam Hussein is gone and the Iraqi people have an opportunity to establish a future for themselves rooted in democratic principles. I, along with everyone I know, very much want them to succeed. The situation in Iraq, however, is a classic "ends-justify-the-means" moral dilemma. Our country invaded Iraq in a preemptive move, without support from most of our former allies, under the guise of finding and dismantling weapons of mass destruction that were said to be a direct threat to us. That the American people were misled and deceived about the reasons for initiating war with Iraq has since been proven to be true. No matter. The Bush administration got what it wanted and now is busily rewriting history to coincide with recent events. We are liberators, not invaders. We want liberty and democracy for the Iraqi people, not access to badly needed oil reserves for petroleum conglomerates in Texas. We never really expected to find weapons of mass destruction. And on, and on, and on . . . The Iraqi people have tough work ahead of them. Their ethnic population is deeply divided. For the most part, Sunni Arabs did not participate in the election and will most likely view the results as illegitimate. The Kurds, in their own unsanctioned referendum, voted overwhelmingly to establish recognition of a separate Kurdistan. The success of the fledgling Iraqi democracy will depend on how they manage challenges like these and it will be no easy task. But if they succeed, who knows what a free and democratic Iraq might accomplish? Perhaps they, too, could begin to spread liberty and freedom beyond their borders. Perhaps they, too, might choose to preemptively invade a country whose leadership is corrupt and deceitful. A country somewhere where the leaders wantonly ignore the economic needs of ethnic minorities. A country where a wealthy ruling class thumbs its nose at economic policies designed to provide a safety net for the poor. A country that threatens and bullies other countries. A country that tortures prisoners of war. A country whose leadership bribes the "free" press. A country where a religious sect imposes its beliefs on the general populace. A successful democracy requires its citizenry to stay informed and educated and engaged in meaningful debate. It depends, also, on holding a strong moral center. My most fervent desire for the people of Iraq is that they will find their way along a course of true democracy, with liberty and justice and tolerance for all.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep thinking, what if Wolfowitz is right?

2/05/2005 01:17:00 PM  

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