Fair Elections Do not Equal Peace in Iraq

It becomes ever clearer to me that most Americans believe that because in their own country the body politic accepts the outcome of elections conducted with a modicum of fairness, that this must be true in all the rest of the world.

They are mistaken in this.  In many places in the world, peoples’ primary self identification has little to do with the idea of citizenship in a particular state and much more to do with ethnicity, religion as sect, actual tribes or regional interests.  This is so of Iraq.  Elections conducted in Iraq with the idea that people really believe in the idea of "one man, one vote" merely enable the most numerous identity groups to "put paid" to the less numerous.  That is what is happening in Iraq between majority Shia and the minority Sunni.  The Sunni Arabs know this and will continue to fight to prevent it.

"Civil War?  Iraq has been engaged in civil war among its primary identity groups since the End of the Coalition Provisional Authority’s catastrophic reign.  The CPA’s projection of the Bush Administration’s policy of putting the Shia Arabs in charge of Iraq doomed Iraq to civil war.

Elections (democracy) and political correctness are the modern civil and secular religions of America.  Americans believe that elections are in themselves transformative and beneficial, and that a government fairly elected is necessarily a good thing.

This is not the case.  The historical example of the rise of National Socialism to power in Germany and Fascism to power in Italy should indicate the patent falseness of such an idea.  Elections reveal what is in the hearts of men.  They do not change those hearts.  The Shia and Kurd majority in Iraq show little sign of giving the Sunni Arabs enough power to lure them from support of the insurgents.

There are predictions on TV today of how well things will go in Iraq this year.  They will not go well unless there is a change in the hearts of men.

Pat Lang


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10 Responses to Fair Elections Do not Equal Peace in Iraq

  1. Alvord says:

    Or as George Will put it on today’s This Week program on ABC “one man, one vote, one time.”

  2. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Originally used, as I recall, by some French officer, to describe the situation in one of their West African colonies after independence. pl

  3. Charlie Green says:

    It would seem to be in the Kurds own self-interest to keep the Sunnis disaffected and at the Shia’s throats. If those two groups ever started working together, the Kurds’ independence could be toast. Again.

  4. CJ says:

    The concept of national unity will last right up until one of the newly empowered groups has to actually give up something in the interest of the state. Before that day, talk is cheap.

  5. Charlie Green says:

    What state? The Kurds have been disenfranchised since the Ottoman empire was defeated. Oh, I guess that actually means they haven’t had a hand in their own destiny for centuries.
    What is a “state”? A collection of groups united by force or coercion? Should each ethnic and cultural group have some say in their own destiny or is the “state” paramount? Or is my idealism misplaced and other factors take precedent over democracy?

  6. CJ says:

    The “democratic-secular-partner in anti-terrorism-Middle East transformative” state that is now the main justification for the blood and treasure being pumped into Iraq. I didn’t mean to imply that such a state actually existed in Iraq…

  7. RJJ says:

    Seems to me (ignotably) that loyalty to a tribe or group would be more “democratic” than loyalty to “the state” when historically “the state” has been the apparatus of some despot, competing tribe, or imperial hegemon, i.e. usually alien and always a threat.
    The clan and tribe are the political levels at which the individual has influence. Outside cities in smaller communities the mechanisms for doing the business of the state: security, dispute resolution, resource allocation, infrastructure maintenance have been in place for millennia – long before there was such a thing as a state.
    We, too, are tribal; we just don’t recognize it as such (though the right-wing revolutionary demagogues have tapped into it and exploited it very effectively). We are (or should be) very protective of our local sovereignty.
    This is conjecture based on a little geography plus extrapolation from our RED/BLUE divide. Treat it as a muddled query – with apologies for the muddle.

  8. W. Patrick Lang says:

    Yes. We are tribal, but the Jacobins do not want to see us that way or for us to see ourselves that way. They want to think of mankind in broad categories rather than in terms of the simple humanity of our natures and our evolutionary past. pl

  9. RJJ says:

    The jacobins are the products of privilege.
    I suspect they are oblivious.

  10. Gotham Image says:

    Pat – there are different factions of Jacobins.
    Stop by my blog and read what Kristol talked about with Bush.
    Then compare that to what Hitchens talked about with Bush.
    Hitchens, the foster child, in the Jacobin home, is also in command of his own Jeunesse Doree Brigade, of sorts.

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