Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Iraq Is Not Ready for Democracy


From the New York Post and various news sources:

An Iraqi journalist who threw his shoe at President Bush has been hailed as a hero.

"This is a farewell kiss, you dog," Al-Baghdadia TV correspondent Muntadar al-Zeidi shouted as he hurled one of his shoes at Bush in the middle of a news conference.  Bush ducked as the shoe zoomed over his head and crashed into the wall behind the podium.  Just as the stunned president regained his composure, al-Zeidi threw his second shoe, shouting, "This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq."

The secret service was apparently AWOL.

Al-Zeidi was arrested, of course, and he now faces up to seven years in prison.  But thousands of people have taken to the streets in Iraq to demand the release of al-Zeidi, who is still being held at the headquarters of the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki.

After the incident the Iraqi government criticised al-Zaidi's action and "demanded" an on-air apology from Al-Baghdadia TV.  Al-Baghdadia TV issued a statement demanding al-Zaidi's release: "Al-Baghdadia television demands that the Iraqi authorities immediately release al-Zaidi, in line with the democracy and freedom of expression that the American authorities promised the Iraqi people on the ousting of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Any measures against Muntadhar will be considered the acts of a dictatorial regime".

Hundreds of students at Diyala University in Baquba carried banners demanding the release of Muntadhar al-Zaidi -- described by demonstrators as an "honorable Iraqi."

Predictably, al-Zaidi has fans not only in Iraq, but throughout the Middle East and all over the world.  A charity run by the daughter of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi bestowed a medal of courage on al-Zeidi, calling on the Iraqi government to free him.  In Syria, Mr. Zaidi’s picture was shown all day on state television, with Syrians calling in to share their admiration for his gesture and his bravery.

Despite the pleas of his worldwide fans, the AP reports that the journalist was handed over to the Iraqi judiciary Tuesday.

Alexis de Tocqueville said that "In a Democracy, the people get the government they deserve."  The Iraqi people had better hope this isn't true.  The "shoe bomber" episode proves one thing very poignantly: Iraq is not ready for democracy and doesn't deserve it. 

Consider the following: earlier this decade Saddam Hussein was routinely administering torture of all kinds: branding, electric shocks, beating, pulling out fingernails, burning with hot irons and blowtorches, suspension from rotating ceiling fans, dripping acid on the skin, rape, breaking limbs, extended solitary confinement in dark and extremely small compartments, and threats to rape or otherwise harm family members and relatives. 

Bush brought all that to an end.  Now, after having been liberated from the Hussein regime, Iraqis are sympathizing with the shoe thrower.  Warning to Iraqis: this kind of thinking will buy you front row tickets to another dictatorial regime faster than you can say "Allāhu Akbar".

I'm guessing that the Iraqi media are at least as irresponsible and anti-Bush as the American media are, so to some extent, I can forgive the Iraqis for behaving in such an ignorant fashion.  But it is shocking to me how quickly they have forgotten how evil Saddam Hussein's regime was.    

They want the U.S. out?  I say "be careful what you wish for."  Democracy in Iraq will be very short-lived.


More

Conservatives are Happier Because They Hate Everyone

Dissenters might be thrown from three story buildings; had their ankle bones drilled; had their arms broken into compound fractures in public squares; witnessed the raping of their wife; or had a decapitated head mounted in the community of relatives.  


Limbaugh Fires Back at Powell


Reid: $700 billion bailout not working.  So...the bailout of the financial industry is failing, but the bailout of the auto industry is a great idea?  Can you predict what Reid will say next?  How about this: “I actually did vote for the $700 billion before I voted against it.” 

Global Warming is clearly a looming threat: Snow brings Las Vegas a touch of winter.

17 comments:

Conservative said...

Excellent post, I put up a link from another very good blog on mine today.
Give it a peek.

WomanHonorThyself said...

The "shoe bomber" episode proves one thing very poignantly: Iraq is not ready for democracy and doesn't deserve it. ..great post..well said indeed!

Dan Trabue said...

Not ready?

This fella is hailed as a hero because he understands democracy quite well - and part of democracy is the right and the duty to stand up against injustice. EVEN IF that sometimes means committing non-violent civil disobedience.

Seven years in jail would be an atrocity of justice for throwing shoes and calling a foreign leader a dog. It's not like anyone's life was in danger because of his actions - Bush cannot say the same.

How does such widespread support for such an action prove that a nation is not ready for democracy? Isn't the move AWAY from solving problems by violence to solving problems by nonviolent direct action a move in the right direction?

I think the world and Iraq are right: This guy is a hero and a role model to Iraqis.

I don't think many on the Right understand how wrong many of the rest of us around the world think Bush was in his actions.

robert verdi said...

he is a punk and a leftist, they intertwine.

robert verdi said...

Dan,
Baghdad is the only Arab capital where a journalist could do this and not be executed, this is because of the choices of Bush.

Biased Girl said...

This Guy is not Hanging from the town square, so I'll call this Progress.

Dan Trabue said...

So, let's say that the people of Iraq did not like Saddam and wanted him gone. Let's further say that the people of Iraq did not want to be invaded to see Saddam overthrown.

Do you understand that, while the people of Iraq may well be glad that Saddam is gone, they didn't like the way it was done? That they may have thought the way it was done was a moral wrong and a violation of their sanctity of life?

Are you saying that you'd tell the Iraqi people, "Get over it! Two wrongs sometimes make a right!"?

Let's further suppose that you don't like Obama. And, as it turns out, neither did al Qaeda. Are you suggesting you would be glad if al Qaeda came in and attacked DC, in the process, killing Obama? Are you saying that if bin Laden was standing there next to our next president, smiling and waving, that you wouldn't be outraged at his presence, even if you were glad that Obama was not president.

I don't know about you, but for most of us, two wrongs don't make a right. My momma was right.

Critical Thinker said...

"So, let's say that the people of Iraq did not like Saddam and wanted him gone. Let's further say that the people of Iraq did not want to be invaded to see Saddam overthrown."

The fact is they did want him gone and they are glad he is gone. Not to many cared how he was removed. Your naive approach to rationalizing this is almost childishly innocent.

From my personal contact with the Iraqi people; they view us as a necessary disruption to their lives, but are eager to take over their country. Hence, why we signed the SOFA agreement with them bring down the troop levels.

Most Liberals and Progressives claim the moniker of the educated. If that is true, then why is it you only cherry pick history when it suits your needs. Rather than learn form it, I suggest you either read or reread about the fall of Saigon and the ramifications it had in South East Asia when the US pulled out.

War is not about popularity, it is about reaching a goal. And incisive whining and politically motivated opposition only prolongs it by debasing the military's effectiveness. This is not to say do not speak about it if you oppose our involvement. But, at least offer a viable solution rather than just bitching.

PS-Conservative, if no one has ever told you before, you look like Whittaker Chambers.

MikeL said...

"Consider the following: earlier this decade Saddam Hussein was routinely administering torture of all kinds: branding, electric shocks, beating, pulling out fingernails, burning with hot irons and blowtorches, suspension from rotating ceiling fans, dripping acid on the skin, rape, breaking limbs, extended solitary confinement in dark and extremely small compartments, and threats to rape or otherwise harm family members and relatives.

Bush brought all that to an end. "

No, he didn't.

RightKlik said...

Dan,

You can't be serious. What if I decided to throw a shoe at Obama...for whatever reason, let's say for his support for "post-natal abortion." I throw a shoe at Obama and barely miss. Would you say, wow, there's a guy who really has an appreciation for democracy!

1. Throwing things at people is not "non-violent."

2. In the scuffle that ensued, WH Press Sec. Dana Perino ended up with Black Eye! Is this what usually happens with non-violent protest? I suppose collateral damage is of no concern when it involves conservatives.

3. I respectfully disagree with liberals and conservatives who think that this represents some kind of progress toward an appreciation for freedom of speech in Iraq. First, I don't know that Iraqis have ever been afraid to speak out against AMERICAN leaders. Second, violence isn't protected by freedom of speech even in America. If Iraqis are confusing freedom of speech with anarchy, they don't understand democracy at all.

4. If Iraqis had reacted to all this with a chuckle and a shrug, I could understand. But this punk/thug has been celebrated as a hero. I don't expect Iraqis to love Bush, but if they appreciate their freedom at all, a tiny bit of respect would be appropriate.

5. People who have so much respect for a stupid thug are bound to allow a thug to become their leader sooner or later. They've done it before, they can do it again. I fear that Iraqis may be pathologically incapable of peaceful, democratic self-government.

RightKlik said...

MikeL:

Saddam Hussein is still torturing people? I hadn't heard, thanks for the update.

USpace said...

.
Dubya got a real kick out of this. In Saddam's day this reporter would have been fed to the plastic shredder, after watching his wife and daughters get gang-raped.
.
absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
Bush was worse than Hitler

and Stalin and Mao
and the Devil combined
.
All real freedom starts with freedom of speech. Without freedom of speech there can be no real freedom.
.
Philosophy of Liberty Cartoon
.
Help Halt Terrorism Today!
.
USpace

:)
.

Dan Trabue said...

You think an accidental black eye is collateral damage?

re:

I don't expect Iraqis to love Bush, but if they appreciate their freedom at all, a tiny bit of respect would be appropriate.

Again, I would ask: If Osama bin Laden's forces were to invade this country, resulting in the death of tens (hundreds?) of thousands of Americans - men, women and children - and the maiming of many thousands more and in the process, bin Laden got rid of a leader that was detested, do you think the American people would NOT cheer and hail as a hero the fella who threw a boot at bin Laden?

To be clear: I'm not suggesting Bush = bin Laden. I am striving to point out the level of distaste and even hatred that people around the world and in Iraq have with Bush's policies. The Bush Doctrine of Pre-emptive invasions undermines national and international security and is a blow against human rights and law.

I don't think many neo-conservatives get how wrong most of us think Bush was.

RightKlik said...

If OBL was a democratically elected leader of a civilized nation and he came over here and disposed of a tyrant like Hussein, and tens or hundreds of thousands of innocent Americans were killed in the process, I would not feel compelled to throw a shoe at him. I would be ashamed of my countrymen if they elevated the shoe thrower to hero status.

Having said all that, anyone who equates Bush with OBL is being intellectually dishonest.

Dan Trabue said...

Then it is a good thing that I did not equate Bush with bin Laden. That is why I said:

To be clear: I'm not suggesting Bush = bin Laden. I am striving to point out the level of distaste and even hatred that people around the world and in Iraq have with Bush's policies.

RightKlik said...

...fair enough, Dan. But I think too many people all over the world have let their hatred of Bush get way out of control. At some point they're going to have to realize that Bush isn't responsible for all the misery in their miserable lives.

Dan Trabue said...

I know of no one that hates Bush personally. Or at least, initially they didn't. It's a policy problem: Many of us think his policies have been so bad as to move from merely a bad idea over into corrupt or evil category. We think many of his policies are immoral and hate those policies.

Now, unfortunately for some, they move from hating the policies to hating the man. But I'd suggest that is the exception, not the rule. Find one responsible, adult, rational liberal who says he actually hates Bush, not Bush's policies, and you might have some grounds for support on that point.

In my experience, I know of very few, and they tend to be young hotheads who now hate Bush because initially they hated his policies.

I'm sure you agree with me that if you think someone's policies are morally wrong - causing pain, oppression and even death - it is right to hate those policies, yes?