'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Good Ol' Viceroy Bremer on Self-Determination

AFP reports Bremer says Iraqis can have any kind of government they want as long it's the kind the US picks for them. Sheikh Sadr al-din al-Kubbanji retorts

Today the power is in the hands of the people and this means that we are not obliged to adopt principles imported from outside, thousands of miles from here. I think that if one seeks to impose a solution other what the Iraqi population wants, it would spark a crisis and none of the parties want this to happen.

Um ... Little does he know, Bremer is planning on vetoing the civil war.

You know, look, all kidding aside, these people, Bushco, neocons, etc. love to talk about democracy but their usage of the word is so narrow they're like caricatures of themselves. Democracy is a vague word. It means many things to many people. Neocons et al. use the word to mean "A government that serves the interests of a narrow spectrum of US-based corporations." You can put that clause in place of the word "democracy" in any statement made by these people, and I guarantee the statement will be more coherent, will make more sense.

One value that's intertwined with the semantic halo of the word "democracy" is self-determination. These people never talk about self-determination, because they don't believe in it. They don't believe that people should have say over decisions to the extent that the decisions effect their lives. Look at Cheney with his secret energy commission; look at the unelected bureaucrats in the organizations that control the general framework of corporate globalization; look at Wolfowitz calling for Turkey's military to rise up because its government enacted a policy that was preferred by 90% of its population, not allowing the US to use its border to invade Iraq.

I am a leftist. I don't like theocracies, but my likes and dislikes -- as well as Bremer's and Wolfowitz's and Cheney's and Perle's -- have very little to do with what form of government it is just to impose on Iraq -- very little to do with it, because the decision does not effect my life. I can argue with Iraqis if I like. I can argue for a separation of church and state, but, if we value the notion of self-determination and democracy, the choice is ultimately theirs. To the extent that the choice is theirs, they are free. To the extent that it is not, they are not free.

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