Democracy In Action?

Among the many fears articulated by those opposed to invading Iraq was an innate fear of Arab democracy. After all, it wouldn't be shocking to find that a majority of Iraqi citizens would want to, to pick an example at random, bomb the bejesus out of Israel. Nonsense, huffed the neocons, who dubbed those claims racist. I'm not sure, though, that it was a racist claim (i.e. liberals believed that Arabs were incapable of making humane and/or just decisions), or more of a fear of the Arab culture. Note that there are multiple ethnicities in Iraq, though it seems like they've all been pretty violent. The objectionists had a point, though, putting power in the hands of the ordinary people of any society is a sobering prospect. After all, we did it here in the U.S., and in 2003, it didn't take much before our representatives (and the public) were for, to pick another example at random, bombing the bejesus out of Iraq.

At any rate, recent reports show that the White House was worried about the very same thing. Seymour Hersh writes in the New Yorker "A State Department official confirmed that there was an effort to give direct funding to certain candidates. 'The goal was to level the playing field.'" So the big American thumb was on the scale, just to make sure the election wasn't a horse race for religious zealots. This is pretty big stuff. Anyone remember the flap over Gore accepting funding from foreigners? The RNC was aghast at the time. Apparently, though, this revulsion to foreign interference in a national election only applies to this country - the kind of John Bolton exceptionalism, more typical of the French, that alienates the rest of the world. White House officials have issued some vague denials, but nothing that actually denies the substance of Hersh's article. This is some interesting reporting. Read the article.


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