Iraqi democracy

Iraqi democracy
: Alt.Muslim wonders about the form of democracy that can grow in Iraq.

When al-Qaida links couldn’t be found and the search for weapons of mass destruction didn’t move our allies into action, bringing democracy to the suffering people to Iraq became the new raison d’etre for “Operation Iraqi Freedom.” But what does democracy mean to a people who have never practiced it? How do you bring a society from tribal identifications with ethnic or religious groups into an arena where respect for the will of the majority forms the foundation of the state?

The writer debates the role of Islam — the Turkish model or (unspoken) the Iranian model? I didn’t make clear in my post on Iraqi democracy below that religion can be involved in a democracy, of course but it can’t replace democracy. England, Italy, Israel, Ireland and many other countries have official state religions. Yes, my American DNA brings with it a strong belief in separation of church and state to insure the freedom of both. But it need not be an absolute. Still, I do see a clear line: Do the people get to choose their leaders and their laws or does a religious leadership choose both for them? One is democracy, the other is religious dictatorship.

  • I often wonder if our focus on the ‘will of the majority’ oversimplifies the strengths of american-style Democracy. I would love to see Bush expound on how our system protects the rights of minorities and personal freedoms in general against the tyranny of the majority. Or how the hard part of democracy is living with an election result that did not go your way. These things are the backbone of democracy; the voting is the easy part.

  • Jack Tanner

    I think the establishment clause would go a long way to helping the cause of democracy in the Middle East.

  • rem0tly

    Suggest they read a history of Japan, whose ‘tribal identifications’ make Iraq’s look like the girl scouts. [sorry girls]