RC has a blog which claims, about the Iraqi elections,
I was naïve, perhaps, in believing that all anti-war liberals could put aside their hatred for Bush and his policies for just one day and recognize the critical importance of the Iraqi experiment with democracy. … For war supporters, the election mirrored the Afghani elections in that all reasonable expectations were surpassed and Bush’s vision appeared to have been validated once again.
How quickly history has been rewritten. George Bush never claimed to be going to war to bring democracy to Iraq. It was no part of his vision to do so. During a debate with then-Vice President Al Gore on Oct. 11, 2000, in Winston-Salem, N.C., Mr Bush said:
I don’t think our troops ought to be used for what’s called nation-building. . . . I think what we need to do is convince people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I’m missing something here. I mean, we’re going to have a kind of nation-building corps from America? Absolutely not.
Before the war began, President Bush said this:
In Iraq, a dictator is building and hiding weapons that could enable him to dominate the Middle East and intimidate the civilized world — and we will not allow it. (Applause.) This same tyrant has close ties to terrorist organizations, and could supply them with the terrible means to strike this country — and America will not permit it. The danger posed by Saddam Hussein and his weapons cannot be ignored or wished away. The danger must be confronted. We hope that the Iraqi regime will meet the demands of the United Nations and disarm, fully and peacefully. If it does not, we are prepared to disarm Iraq by force. Either way, this danger will be removed.
No mention of introducing democracy there. The decision to go to war was linked clearly and unambiguously to disarmament (of weapons that Sadaam Hussein did not actually have.) Even as recently as October 2004, President Bush justified the war as follows:
Based on all the information we have today, I believe we were right to take action, and America is safer today with Saddam Hussein in prison. He retained the knowledge, the materials, the means, and the intent to produce weapons of mass destruction. And he could have passed that knowledge on to our terrorist enemies. Saddam Hussein was a unique threat, a sworn enemy of our country, a state sponsor of terror, operating in the world’s most volatile region. In a world after September the 11th, he was a threat we had to confront. And America and the world are safer for our actions.
Building a democracy in Iraq was never part of the plan. Perhaps this is because, as I pointed out in my last entry, invading Iraq to introduce democracy without the authorization of the Security Council would be contrary to international law as set out in the charter of the United Nations. (In case there is anyone out there who thinks that the UN Charter is not binding on the US Government, the UN Charter is a technically a treaty among it’s member nations. Article VI, Clause 2 of The United States Constitution reads:
All Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land.
If it had been an aim, or the main aim, to restore democracy in Iraq, then the US Government could and should have said so. There could then have been a proper discussion about the merits of going to war to achieve this objective. Apart from the difficulty of such a policy being illegal under the UN Charter, the following questions would have needed to be answered:
- Is there a less costly way to do this, which would achieve the same objective without the loss of so many lives?
- Why Iraq? Why not Saudi Arabia, or Pakistan, or Zimbabwe?
- Why the hurry? Could we allow some more time to prepare for the challenges of preserving peace and delivering essential public services in Iraq?
I welcome the apparent success of the elections in Iraq. But it is rewriting history to claim that this in any way represents a vindication of the strategy of George Bush. And finally, I enjoyed the revealing naiivety of the following remark:
Rather, its time to let nations like France and Germany back into the fold to provide valuable assistance …
Could it really be that there are some Americans who really don’t understand that it is not France and Germany, but the US, which is out of the mainstream?