Saturday, March 11, 2006

The Little Democracy That Never Could

For the past three years of my life, I have given my unwavering support for the Bush Administration in conducting its war in Iraq, which essentially was waged for national security purposes. Yet, a revelation today would lead me to not only become disenfranchised with the current situation, but also lead me to face a sad fact of reality in which I believe I was wrong for supporting democracy in the Middle East. Hear me loud and clear liberals, this is not a confession about Bush’s misguided foreign policy, but more of a cultural awareness which I believe many of my conservative colleagues should take note of in today’s political climate of Iraq.

What has American foreign policy been advocating for the last two and a half years since its tenure in Iraq? It has been promoting a stable, democratic Iraq which holds true the freedoms and human rights of all people; a republican form of government that espouses ideals and principles of the civilized world. Unfortunately, this is not the reality of the situation. Iraq recently adopted and ratified a national constitution which has all the proper tenets of a theocracy. The dissolution of Saddam has created an Islamic state, something which the US does not endorse.

The definition of a theocracy from wikipedia is thus: “a form of government in which a religion or faith plays the dominant role. Properly speaking, it refers to a form of government in which the organs of the religious sphere replace or dominate the organs of the political sphere.” Article II of the Iraqi Constitution says the following: “First: Islam is the official religion of the state and it is a fundamental source of legislation. A) No law that contradicts the established provisions of Islam may be established.” The clear evidence suggests to all around the world that Iraq is now an official theocracy.

How can a country pride itself on democratic ideals and religious tolerance, when the Constitution itself proclaims that the legislature can use the Koran to dictate laws, and furthermore the Federal Supreme Court will now be able to adjudicate cases under Islam? Freedom of religious practices and an established state religion cannot ever be juxtaposed within a constitution. Those two components are fundamentally a paradox. Is the Supreme Court in Iraq going to mandate that a Christian woman living in Kirkuk must cover her face in public because it’s a law under the state’s official religion of Islam? Religious freedom and theocracy does not coincide, period.

The cultural variation within this region is so drastically different, that a republican form of government, one in which the US prides itself on, is virtually unattainable. Unfortunately for Bush, his idealistic vision and commendable, altruistic foreign policy objectives will ultimately fail. This is not to say that the initial justifications of the war were unwarranted; only it is an observation and analysis of the results of intervention in Iraq. Is the world better off without Saddam? Of course it is. Yet why are we hearing President Bush use rhetoric such as “democracy” when in all reality Iraq is now the direct antithesis of such a form of government.

What is the future of Iraq? The benign precepts of Islam have been soaked into the Constitution, thus creating a natural rift between those of Islamic faith and those who are not of Islamic faith. If this schism is not sorted out in the courts, or in the will of the legislature, then I fear the ultimate price for Iraq; a 21st century civil war between the Kurds and the Shiites. This hostility can only grow deeper unless this constitution is amended in some form or another.

Theocracy in Iraq may be an evolutionary method of a form of hybrid form of democracy, but at its elemental core, it is not. A democracy was never, not once, achievable with the religious distinctions in the region; at least a democracy which adhered to Western principles. America now unfortunately may have created exactly what it wished to eliminate; a growing desire for legislating Islam in a state which was once secular. The future indeed looks grim for Iraq, and all the rest of the world can do is sit back and watch it unfold.


Anonymous said...

a democracy in the islamic world is not going to reflect "western values." you're asking for something that was never offered.

you're speaking as if anglo-liberalism didn't emerge from christianity. and the result of this missgiving is that you feel let down that an islamic democratic republic is not anglo-christian looking and therefore not a "real" democratic republic.

shall we name all of the democratic republics of the west which have official state religions and monarchal positions?are they not free for these qualities?

the ugly progressive racism which says that "a-rabs" are incapable of self-government doesn't wear well on a decent fellow like youself.

CaptainAmerica said...

I am not asking for a Middle Eastern country to reflect "western values" as you say, (which is an already ambiguous phrase) rather it is disconcerting to me to hear Bush speak of democracy, when it is clear to all that Iraq has the seeds of Islamic rule.

Re-read my post. You will never once see me say that I am upset it's not an "anglo-christian" republic. You actually missed my entire point. How can we call it a democracy when it is written in the constitution that "established provisions of Islam" are fundamental in rule of law and court decisions. How can there be freedom if one is constricted to the basic tenets of Islam?

Democratic-republics of the west DO NOT have any official state religions and even if they did, they do not have a constitution which promotes it as supreme law of the land. Symbolism is different than text anyways.

Your subtle implication that I am a racist apparently goes well with your branding and extremism. Of course Arabs are capable of self-government. I like how you throw an ad hominem fallacy in there to look like a fool.

Freedomnow said...

Cap said,

"Re-read my post. You will never once see me say that I am upset it's not an "Anglo Christian" republic."

...ha haa haaaa that is very true...

Anyways, Anonymous is right in one regard...Sharia law is incompatible with Democracy (although that is probably not what he/she meant).

I would like to know of one Christian republic that implements Christian-based law with similar fanaticism to Sharia law. After all, there is no apostasy death penalty or anything similar in practice among these so called Christian republics.

But let’s get to the point; the idea that all people deserve legitimate representation in a democratic government is idealistic and maybe even foolish.

However, it is a fundamental right and it is morally wrong to deny anyone that right.

It can be hoped that those who pursue this form of government look to the successful Democracies of the West in hopes of emulating the freedom and prosperity that we enjoy.

If you don’t trust the people you rule you become their enemy and slip into fascism. I see no other way...