April 1, 2005

Democracy: Historical Victim of “Operation Iron Hammer”

    Friday, April 01, 2005   No comments

Democracy: Historical Victim of “Operation Iron Hammer”

With the stream of data coming from Iraq, any informed individual can conclude that the days ahead may be even harder to manage. With the rising death toll and spiraling violence that is spreading to formerly quiet areas, one does not need a CIA analyst’s opinion to surmise that the situation may worsen. However, there is another equally important side of this conflict which has not been adequately addressed and that is the long term repercussions and implications of this ongoing war on the stated goal of this administration. With the charge of illegal possession of weapons of mass destruction as the pretext for launching this war significantly enfeebled; the administration is now defending this costly conflict with the need to create a democratic regime in Iraq.
Admittedly, history does not record the theories and the assumptions; rather, the actions on the ground and the stated goals. The stated goal of choice of the proponents of this war is the preparation of the ground for democracy to grow in the Middle East. It can be argued that the tools used in this process are actually counterproductive and depreciatory to say the least. It is like using poison for a cure.

Let’s assume that the current military adventure succeeds in defeating the forces of tyranny and establishing a viable democracy in Iraq. Also, let’s assume that the domino’s effect materializes and all the other despotic regimes from Riyadh to Rabat are threatened enough to the point where they would capitulate and acquiesce. Furthermore, let’s assume that the weight of an Iraqi democracy will sink the rulers of Iran in the Persian Gulf. Let’s assume that the architects of this “magnificent” project have their wish and everything falls in place as planned. Now here are some of the side-effects of this radical procedure.
First, there is the acumen of democracy, as the Western civilization’s product of choice for export to the rest of the world, being enforced on Muslims of the Middle East under the barrel of the gun. Secondly, there is the emerging reality that democracy, as implemented by the Bush administration, maybe sprouting in Iraq on account of the force of Operation Iron Hammer, Operation Cyclone I, Operation Cyclone II, and the Mother of All Bombs. Thirdly, there is the conclusion that democracy perhaps flourishing in Iraq thanks to the display of overwhelming power that produced “Shock and Awe” that Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld promised even before the war.
Subsequently, there will be those Muslims who will be pushed deeper into the protective shell rendering them totally incapable of taking charge of their own affairs due to their shattered egos, and those Muslims who will be damned to live in the demeaning realm of indolence who can’t help it but remain eternally grateful to and dependent on the Western liberators. Many more around the world will be left waiting for the political savior; hence, undermining the outstanding principle that taught us that universal values—like democracy—are worthy of big sacrifices and must be earned not gifted.
Of course, there will be those who would contend that the big guns were needed to offset the brutality of a heavily armed dictator. But again, would not that be an invitation to armament and a legitimization of the use of force to bring about political change and a tacit discrediting of many non-violent movements that defeated tyranny and intolerance throughout history without dropping a single 1000 ton bomb?
We are led to believe that democracy is a universal currency, an intrinsic good, and a virtuous capital. As such, democracy is treated as the gift of the Western civilization to the rest of the world. However, gifts are never imposed; rather they are sought and desired by individuals and communities all over the world. Subsequently, “Operation Iron Hammer” and the application of the doctrine of “Overwhelming Force” and the reliance on power can be seen as indicative of either the devaluation of democracy or a decline in this civilization’s capital.
In 1830, the young French Republic, still intoxicated by its newly discovered humanity and civility, invaded Algeria under the pretext of exporting those values to backward people. Despite numerous political maneuvering and systematic assimilation of the natives, a decisive popular revolt was launched in 1954. Before 1962, nearly 1,500,000 Algerians and thousands of French soldiers and settlers were killed proving that the French values could not be coercively grafted onto the Algerian host. The president should have listened to his ally and friend Jacques-René Chirac before engaging in what is turning to be an intellectually, morally, and politically damned adventure.
“Operation Iron Hammer” and project “Shock and Awe” that used the “Mother of All Bombs” are endowing democracy with an unendurable bitter taste; and that is why the Iraqis and Muslims of the Middle East are finding it hard to swallow. What a terrible way of marketing a not-so-terrible product!


About Prof. SOUAIAIA

Islamic Societies Review Editors

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