Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Road to Hell?

I recently found an article in Slate, which they apparently took out, and I forgot to bookmark it. I think that it was about a book being written by a couple of American university professors. After some searching, my best guess was that it's called "The Politics of Good Intentions" but the article addressed many of the reservations that I had about the Iraq war, well, not so much about that, but what I always believed was the sheer absurdity of installing a fully functional democracy in a country that never had it before.

Could the Americans at least have asked themselves how they, and the rest of the world had gotten democracy in the first place? They should have known that no society had gotten it overnight. I won't go into all the details into how we had gotten it, but the foundation seems to have been built with the signing of the Magna Carta in 1215, which threw some cold water on the belief that Kings were divinely appointed, and are not subject to the laws that they make. It took centuries before Parliament could put reins on the King's power, before the start of civil society and the social movements that gave the masses some actual power, however slight. Can you imagine then, giving a full, mature democracy in a small amount of time to a faraway land whose cultural background is so much different?

I was always open to the possiblity that the second Gulf War was the right thing to do, even if it was illegal, but I've never been fully convinced. I'm even open to the possibility that the intent of the allied powers was reasonably pure, but you will really have a hard time making the argument that they had any idea what they were doing. I always believed that the Americans and British jumped the gun with this war. Removing Saddam may have been overdue, but there was still time to get the job done right, or at least, with some semblance of competence. As opposed to the "good" intentions of someone like Neville Chamberlain who waited too long to act until it was nearly too late, the Americans and British could have at least waited out the summer, massed along the Saudi border, and much of the troubles could have been averted. My own concern now is that the American war machine will not be able to act when and where it is critically needed, like in Iran. That would be a war that more people could get behind.

No comments:

Blog Archive