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A Curiously Selective Commitment to Democracy

Amongst all the feckless arguments offered by those adamantly opposed to the liberation of Iraq, one in particular most rankles. Sundry leftists offer a version of the following query: "Why not let the people of Iraq vote to determine if there should be a continued American military presence in their country?"

This always struck us as a strange way to go about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the War on Terrorism. In fact, we, the crack young staff of "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," find it sufficiently strange that we wonder if it is actually proposed in good faith.

We say this for a number of reasons. First, there's the matter of simple hypocrisy. As stalwart opponents of the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, our leftist pals demonstrate that they're not too keen on the idea of spreading democracy in the Middle East. Suddenly, however, they hunger for the Iraqi people to vote--provided that vote aims at the removal of non-native troops in the country. Thus do the opponents of democracy become its most feverish backers.

Next, we suppose we should add that this support for a popular referendum on the American presence in Iraq betrays a fundamental ignorance of the workings of contemporary democracies. In this one instance, the pushers of a referendum aim for a crucial military decision to be made through the auspices of "direct democracy." But democratic countries in the modern industrialized world are "representational democracies," not "direct democracies."

The American people, for instance, do not make specific military calculations through popular votes; rather, we elect leaders who have civilian oversight of our nation's military forces. And for good reason: Clever as he may be, the average American likely doesn't possess the requisite knowledge of military tactics to make competent decisions regarding our nation's defense.

Why, exactly, should this be any different for the people of Iraq? Not even ancient Athens--an example of a "direct democracy"--allowed its citizens to determine the polis' military policy through popular votes. On the contrary, a board of ten generals was elected to make such decisions.

We should add the fact that those hankering for an Iraqi vote against the American troop presence don't support popular referendums across the board. Ask your left-wing pals if they favor the topic of gay marriage being determined by a popular vote of Americans. Or perhaps racial preferences--do they want a referendum for American citizens on this topic?

Of course not! And for good reason: Their pet causes would surely lose out. For some reason, however, they think that a referendum in Iraq is hunky dory.

This should be seen as exactly what it is: Not an example of left-wing commitment to democracy or to the Iraqi people, but a cynical ploy to compel an American retreat in the War on Terror.

(Note: The crack young staff normally "weblog" over at "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," where they are currently sponsoring a referendum on the use of torture against Keith Olbermann.)


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A Curiously Selective Commitment to Democracy:

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Comments (20)

Yeah, let's not let the Ira... (Below threshold)

Yeah, let's not let the Iraqi's experience true democracy just yet, right? What a joke.

If the people of Iraq were in favor of our presence no doubt the cracked out hate-mongers would be in favor of a vote, but the sad fact is that we are no longer wanted there, so let's not let them vote.

A new WPO poll of the Iraqi public finds that seven in ten Iraqis want US-led forces to commit to withdraw within a year. An overwhelming majority believes that the US military presence in Iraq is provoking more conflict than it is preventing and there is growing confidence in the Iraqi army. If the US made a commitment to withdraw, a majority believes that this would strengthen the Iraqi government. Support for attacks on US-led forces has grown to a majority position--now six in ten. Support appears to be related to a widespread perception, held by all ethnic groups, that the US government plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq.

Republican hypocrisy at its absolute finest. We either liberated Iraq and installed a democracy, or we didn't!

Nope, we didn't. Thousands of Iraqis are dying in a civil war brought on intentionally by the Republican administration in Washington.

It's all just another Republican lie.

There is no way at all that... (Below threshold)

There is no way at all that our leaving would stop the sectarian violence in Iraq. It would escalate until a strongman achieved power.

You want Sadr in that spot?

Face it Lee, your self-righteousness has nothing whatsoever to do with wanting violence in Iraq to end. If we aren't there, you won't have to watch and you won't have to feel responsible (even though you would be) and that's enough for you.

Wow, there are ways in which Iraq resembles Vietnam... who'd have thunk it.

LeeWinning the war... (Below threshold)


Winning the war on terror.

Those that say it can't be done should not interupt those that are doing it.

The fine young men and women of the United States are doing it.

They're biggest enemy, and the ones that have killed most of their brothers and sisters are not in Iraq, but in the United States hiding under the banner of the democratic party. All democrats have became traitors to the core just by associating with todays anti-american democratic party. Cut and Run, Run and Hide. Hate has already progressed to insanity. I'm sitting here right now listening to the police trying to stop a democrat from comitting suicide. I know he's a democrat because he's so down on himself and life he wants to end it, not face it. I wouldn't stop him, let him do it. One less welfare case.

A link to a nice roundup of... (Below threshold)

A link to a nice roundup of failures that you can expect to be repeated under another weak on defense of America democratic party.


Why are you two changing th... (Below threshold)

Why are you two changing the subject?

Does Iraq have a democracy, or not?

Why can't they vote and decide their destiny on their own?

Notice how the Democratic Party platform on Iraq is in line with the Iraqi people?

And it's no surprise the Republican Party is actively denying the Iraqi people the democratic right of voting to determine their own destiny. Republicans aren't interested in the Iraqi people, only the strategic value of Iraq's geopolitical position in the grand scheme of things.

I think it's REPRESENTATIVE... (Below threshold)

I think it's REPRESENTATIVE democracy, Wiz, not representational (which would mean we draw pictures of it). But anyway...

Those opposed to our open-ended presence in Iraq comprise not only "leftists" (my goodness, it's been so long since SDS has been heard from!), but the politically unaligned, liberals, and -- gasp -- CONSERVATIVES who voted for George Bush the first time around because he made such a good case against nation-building and "internationalism" in general.

It's true that our withdrawal will almost certainly result in Iraq winding up in the hands of people who don't like us; if you were listening, that was one of the arguments against removing Saddam in the first place. Saddam, uncivilized beast though he was, was capable of maintaining sufficient order to prevent the country from collapsing into civil war. That's about the only good thing you can say about a ruthless dictator, but it served our interests admirably as he kept order and we kept him in a box while the peace process went forward.

The peace process that Bush neglected until just recently, when things blew up in Palestine again.

All the consequences which opponents of the Iraq invasion warned about, including W's dad, have come to pass -- and now you want Democrats to think of a way to put it all to rights. Well, I hate to tell you this, but some things can't be fixed once they're broken. Small children believe their willfulness and insistence will make things come out their way regardless of circumstances. With maturity comes the realization that not everything is under our control to the point that we can ordain an outcome and the universe will simply capitulate!

The damage is done in Iraq. Bush changed the region and set in motion much of what the world will be struggling with -- and for which he, and we, will be called a variety of names -- for the next quarter of a century, at least. There is no way to change that.

The philosophy held by those who favor withdrawal -- immediate or measured -- from Iraq is therefore not one of cut-and-run, but of cut your losses.

Dorrie you wrote a fairly l... (Below threshold)

Dorrie you wrote a fairly long post and didn't mention the 9/11 attack even once.This amazes me.Have you forgotten about it? Or do you think because rubble has been cleared away that it's all done-just like after a child breaks a drinking glass? Do you understand that the people who would end up running Iraq wouldn't only "dislike" us, they would likely aid and abet religious fanatics who would come here to kill us-like the 9/11 hijackers did? They even want to kill you, Dorrie.Clinton spent endless time and effort on the "peace process" and accomplished nothing.Doesn't that matter to you? Yes,with maturity should come the realization that not everything is under your control-like the very unpleasant fact that the Middle East is full of people who hate us, blame us for their problems,and want to kill us.They will feel this way no matter how many times you apologize to them.You post is one of the silliest things I've read in a long time.All the good,easy options to make this reality go away have long been gone-continuing to fight in Iraq-and elsewhere-is only the least bad option.

Xennady,Dorrie who... (Below threshold)


Dorrie who wrote eloquently doesn't need me to explain that he/she (sorry?0 didn't mention 9-11 because he is not a fool who thinks it and Iraq are some how related.

These are the options Xennady;

1) Kill each and every one of the worlds 1.6 billion Muslims...yes a neocons fantasy but it won't happen

2) Force democracy and our agenda down their throats as we've done since the 50's...Let's see has terrorism got better or worse since then?...since the invasion of Iraq??

3) Leave the frickin Middle East to themselves and grant them the respect to create their own destiny while seriously protecting the home land and putting all our saved money into alternative energy so we don't need to worry about how our oil got under their sand....Back before the 50's when we were un-interseted in their oil tell me how big a threat the "Islamofascist" were back then???

All the evidence suggest option 3 is the best.

Support appears t... (Below threshold)
Peter S:

Support appears to be related

See that's spin right there. Let's take a look at what happened in Vietnam when the US pulled out. Millions died in Cambodia and anyone who supported the pull out has blood on their hands. Unless you were there or a loved one was there you can't possibly understand. No doubt the same will happen in Iraq.

No one can know for sure what each Iraqi is thinking when they answer a poll. Some may be intimidated into giving false answers while others believe the Al Jazeera propaganda machine.

What we can do is look at the physical support. The Iraqi people are not rising up and claiming their independence. Take the most recent military ops in Baghdad where the Iraqi Army and the Coalition went street by street to eliminate the terrorists. As soon as they passed they slipped right back in. This begs the question as to why the people in neighborhoods would allow this. For whatever reasons they hold it is not enough to overcome it and claim the freedoms they are being offered.

Hence, their is a strong possibility of a vacuum if the coalition pulls out. Because of that there will probably be a military base in Iraq for strategic reasons. Especially when it comes to dealing with the threat of Iran who thinks they can control the world with its oil and nukes.
God forbid that the Democrats, Republicans and Independents who are running this dog and pony show would get out of their armchairs and find some common ground. What a mess. However this ends it's going to end badly.

Let me ask the brilliant su... (Below threshold)

Let me ask the brilliant supporters of representative democracy if they think the Iraqi representatives have not voted or supported a vote for removal of American troops from their land out of representing the interest of their constituents or maybe out of coercion and self-interest....you know the will to keep ones elf alive?

The only people being represented by BOTH the Iraqi and US legislature our the interest of the Oil Men and War Profiteers. The brain washed uniformed deluded "interest" of their supporter minions don't count because they are too childish and brainwashed to understand what is in their best interest.

Muirgeo,Are you ac... (Below threshold)


Are you actually characterizing people who vote one way (presumably for a policy in which you agree) as looking out for their own interests while people who vote a different way are "brain washed uniformed ... supporter minions"?? BTW, was that supposed to be uninformed rather than uniformed?? There's a pretty big distinction, especially in light of the debate last week about detainees.

Sounds like you only believe in this voting thing when voters agree with you. Hate to break it to you, but it doesn't really work that way.

Lee, I have said this befor... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Lee, I have said this before, but you are both an idiot and a liar. You twist facts to suit your lies, based upon your blind hatred of President Bush. Do not construe this as a personal attack. I am just pointing out a truth as I observed it. Your intellect and logic leave much to be desired

It's basically a win-draw p... (Below threshold)

It's basically a win-draw proposal, so the left is more than willing to propose it.

If they vote goes how they want it, they get what they want and if they don't get what they want, it means no change. So of course they will argue for it. If the vote was win-draw for those who want to remain in Iraq, like "Should the US remain for at least 5 years or just wait & see", the Left would argue against such a vote.

Zelda said: "You twist f... (Below threshold)

Zelda said: "You twist facts to suit your lies"

An example, please -- or was this just the ad hominem attack it appears to be at first glance?

"It's basically a win-dr... (Below threshold)

"It's basically a win-draw proposal, so the left is more than willing to propose it."

Further evidence, provided by jpm100, that the Republicans are not interested in a democracy in Iraq, but see this issue as a local, political issue for them. They are against allowing the Iraqi people the option to choose their own destiny, a basic tenet of a democracy, because they know that the Iraqi people will choose the option that the Democrats support.

For the Republicans it isn't about democracy in Iraq, it's about political power at home, and oil. "Democracy in Iraq" is turning out to be just another Republican lie.

The lies will continue, until the American people are brave enough to make it stop.

Sounds like you only believ... (Below threshold)

Sounds like you only believe in this voting thing when voters agree with you. Hate to break it to you, but it doesn't really work that way.

Posted by: millco88

Well that may be part of the problem. When one side has the backing of enormous amounts of corporate dollars and influence I'm not so sure the votes represent those of an informed majority. Those corporate dollars have led to a huge mis-information campaigns through the media and the electoral process as well as a discouragement of voters such that it is obvious that results do not represent true public sentiment.

Ad i meant uninformed not uniformed.

Let me put it another way. If you think the average politician on the hill has the peoples interest placed above the interest of their corporate donors...and likewise in Iraq..you are NUTS.

The proof is found in an examination of passed and proposed bills put before the senate and congress and in the last 5-6 years you will have a hard time finding ONE that is directed towards the benefit of THE PEOPLE and many/ MOST that are obvious corporate handouts.

Well, Lee. I think everyth... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

Well, Lee. I think everything you have posted here proves my point. At least to anyone capable of logical thinking. That you are inable to recognize yourself deplays a certain lack of intellect. Do not worry, you are not alone here. Mantis, Hugh, Brian and Muirego are in the same catagory.

Further evidence, provid... (Below threshold)

Further evidence, provided by jpm100, that the Republicans are not interested in a democracy in Iraq, but see this issue as a local, political issue for them.

If you actually read my post and applied a little comprehension to it, I never commented on whether that vote should be allowed or not.

I'll spell it out for you. My point was to explain how the left changes positions on the importance of Democracy because now there's a chance it will give you what you want without risking anything.

Lame muirgeo lame.I refer y... (Below threshold)

Lame muirgeo lame.I refer you to numerous translated documents-try the Captains Quarters weblog- that verify Iraq and Al-Queada had a significant operational relationship.In any case 9/11 certainly convinced many people in the US to back the invasion of Iraq.The reason why the MSM says so loudly and so often that Saddam never heard of Al-Quaeda is because otherwise they have no case against the decision to go to war.Your proposed options are sheer idiocy.have you heard of Indonesia? It is a large and populous Muslim country-and also a democracy.9/11 occured before we attepted to force democracy down their throats-or didn't you notice? Funny-I thought one cause of terrorism was our support of dictators who oppressed muslims and prevented them from finding their own destiny.Apparantly-now that you folks need a new reason to blame the US for all the Middle Easts problems-that story is now non-operational.We attempted to leave them alone over the last 50 years-they still attacked us.Like I said fighting in Iraq is our least bad option.

jpm100: "My point was to... (Below threshold)

jpm100: "My point was to explain how the left changes positions on the importance of Democracy because now there's a chance it will give you what you want without risking anything."

And my point is that you don't see this issue as one of democracy for Iraq -- you see it in terms of which political party i would benefit the most from one outcome or the other.

To hell with the people of Iraq whom we were supposed to be liberating from oppression.... jpm100 doesn't care if they are free or not. All he cares about is the political fallout at the polls.

I said: "For the Republicans it isn't about democracy in Iraq, it's about political power at home, and oil. "Democracy in Iraq" is turning out to be just another Republican lie."... and you proved I was right.






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