December 29th, 2007

Which comes first, democracy or security?

Which comes first, democracy or security?

It’s a trick question, like the one about the chicken and egg. The truth is they must come simultaneously.

And ay, there’s (as Hamlet would say) the rub, because in chaotic third-world nations—Pakistan comes immediately to mind, of course—the two exist in very uneasy and difficult-to-implement equilibrium.

Democracy requires a certain amount of openness and civility. Despite accusations of dirty campaigning in this country, and the recent increase of post-election sour grapes, elections are a tea party here compared to most of the world.

As Amir Taheri writes in today’s Times Online:

Whoever killed Benazir belonged to one of the nebulae of organisations that have vowed to kill not only those who stand for election but also those who vote. Their slogan is: “From box to box!” This means that, by slipping one’s vote into a ballot box, one risks ending up in a coffin.

This transcends one candidate vs. another, although the terrorists had special reason to hate Benazir Bhutto. This is about the process of democracy itself.

We often hear the slogan “There is no military solution in Iraq.” There is no democratic solution, either. The only solution must contain both elements. We in the West tend to forget that because the element of security is so firmly in place for us.

One of the effects of 9/11 was to undermine that feeling of security for us. The threat, however, was not internal, but external; the perpetrators were visitors from another culture and another world. Of necessity, in that culture and that world, security is usually provided in a heavy-handed manner.

Whatever one thinks of Musharraf and his recent racheting up of repressive measures in Pakistan, and the question of whether he purposely left Bhutto with inadequate security, or even of Bhutto’s checkered career when she was in power in Pakistan, it’s plain that the violence of those who would subvert the democratic process in Pakistan requires a leader who must be willing to apply a level of security that can be read as tyranny to outside observers. It’s not always easy to tell the difference between true tyranny and the toughness that is necessary to secure a government and a democratic process in a country rife with powerful and ruthless forces that are dedicated to tearing it down.

The assassination of JFK in this country represented a moment when we imagined we could feel the hot breath of that chaos on our necks. But in truth we were nowhere near that point. A few relatively simple precautions for presidents—including the prohibition of motorcades with open cars—seem to have taken care of the problem so far. We did, however, lose a certain innocence—a naivete we probably should have lost long ago, when Lincoln was assassinated—and have retained an extra feeling of vulnerability ever since.

Imagine, however, what it must be like to live in a country with a history of assassination and execution as a commonplace way to take care of political rivals. Unfortunately, the world contains all too many such countries. That’s one of the reasons our experiment in Iraq is so fraught with peril, and why recent encouraging signs there are so important.

There are those who say, along with commenter Tim P, that:

Once the population refuses to be cowed and begins to actively oppose the terrorists, they can no longer operate nearly as effectively. We have seen that in Iraq.

They have forgotten the all-important element provided by American security. Whether it be the postwar influx of terrorists in Iraq, or the prewar tyranny of Saddam, the people of Iraq were powerless to resist without the guarantee of at least a modicum of security.

In Iraq, the hope now is that, ultimately, the people of Iraq themselves will be able to provide that security. But it would not have possible without our initial help. Saddam’s net was way too tight, and his own “security” way too effective. Then later, the terrorists took advantage of the postwar chaos to get their own tight grip on many areas of the country.

That grip has been loosened now in Iraq, and there’s a promise of better things to come. But it remains fragile there. Pakistan has not had a recent war, but it seems at least as fragile right now.

No, I’m not suggesting a US invasion for Pakistan; even a neocon has no interest in invading all the failed and chaotic countries of the world. But the problem there is very real, and is not going away by itself, nor by the magic of a democratic election alone.

47 Responses to “Which comes first, democracy or security?”

  1. nihilcon Says:

    Democracy requires a movement from the grass roots with a shared set of cultural values to attempt the experiment–something utterly absent from the beginning in Iraq.

  2. Cappy Says:

    Don’t know. How about the question of why India has made a lot of progress since independence but Pakistan is still in the dumper?

  3. douglas Says:

    Revolutionary America was nearly as divided in loyalties as Iraq today. There were loyalists and revolutionaries, there were various religious sects, often aligned with the state (Catholic Maryland for example), and various regional interests that competed for pre-eminence in the new government. The notion that democracy requires that there be no pre-existing divisions is false. It requires that there be some common ground, and an agreement on civility and rule of law. Basically, what Neo is talking about in this post.

    “It’s not always easy to tell the difference between true tyranny and the toughness that is necessary to secure a government and a democratic process in a country rife with powerful and ruthless forces that are dedicated to tearing it down.”

    Indeed. Reminds me of how so many casual readers think Machiavelli’s “The Prince” is a guide to being a tyrant. It is rather a guide to being an effective ruler, without the restraints imposed by the requirements of a democracy.

  4. nihilcon Says:

    Religion was actually a small factor in the creation of the US, only about 17% of the population were active church-goers–the differences among the colonists are simply not analagous to the present day situation in Iraq, which in addition to the religious animosity there is entrenched tribalism.

  5. Zhombre Says:

    Where do you get that statistic of 17 percent regarding church-going? From what I’ve read about colonial America there was a great deal of religious ferment. Does that figure include Quakers, who were not organized church goers in any conventional sense? And if religion was such a small factor, why was freedom of religion included in the First Amendment? There were no major newspapers in colonial America either, but for some arcane reasons freedom of the press was included.

  6. wonderbuns Says:

    What comes first are Hierarchies of Responsibleness

    When contemplating the shifting sands of nihilism and wretchedness that passes for today’s liberal orthodoxy, one must contemplate the ever inflating balloon of Orwellian groupthink that dominates the constantly expanding ether of anti-Americanism. Many of you have had the same thoughts, I’m sure.

    The foremost leader of all anti-Americanism is the current manifestation of the Democrat party, led by uberliberals like Hillary Clinton. Their supposed concern for the poor and needy is nothing more than a pseudo-Christian pose aimed at puffing up their weak egos with verbal super egotistical fragilistic episodic halitosis fueled by an uncontrollable id. These poseurs are simply posing, with id inflated egos–I think you would agree, no?

    Anyway, this gets us to the identification of hierarchies, those of extreme responsibility, thus the concept of responsibleness. Responsibleness takes responsibility to the next level, actually several levels beyond responsibility, to the Hierarchies of Responsibleness.In the real world, where we actually have real brown-skinned Middle Easterners trying to kill us all, those against us must be held responsible, no, to the responsibleness–for the betrayal of a myriad of American ideals, even the American military. And when one takes the treacherous trek up the Hierarchies of Responsibleness one comes face to face with the usual suspects, such as the Quakers, the Mennonites, and the black churches. Probably the Nation of Islam, too.

    By utilizing the concept of the Hierarchies of Responsibleness, one can quickly and accurately ascertain our enemies within, and make ready with the final solution of the Hierarchy of Eliminaitions, which I know many of you have ideas about (Vince P, where are you when we need you?) which will be explained at a later date. Meanwhile, don’t be afraid to lay the Hierarchies of Responsibleness on the shoulders of the collectivist enemies among us, who have betrayed our essential essence. Happy hunting.

  7. nihilcon Says:

    zhombre,

    Check out Gary Wills new book on Christianity in America, the religious ferment really didn’t occur until the 19th Century–mention of God was deliberately left out of the Constitution.

  8. Douglas V. Gibbs Says:

    eloquently written, Neo-neocon, and exactly correct. I don’t believe we should be in the business in building democracies, but if one results because of our influence that is a great thing. For those that argue that we are trying to force American-style democracy on Iraq, please take note that the democracy introduced there is parlimentary, which is vastly different from our Republic style democracy – however, when situations arise worldwide, if our security is at risk, we should definately have a hand in guiding the situation in a direction that will prove, in the end, in our best security interests.

  9. Gray Says:

    Check out Gary Wills new book on Christianity in America, the religious ferment really didn’t occur until the 19th Century

    Yeah, and if you check out the book by Michael Bellesiles, you can see that gun ownership was very low in colonial America as well!

    I trust Gary Wills to write in good faith about Christianity in America as much as I trust Dan Rather to write about Geo. Bush’s National Guard records….

    With the revisionist history and faked research, one can see that the Left learned well from their Soviet mentors: “He who controls the past controls the future.”

    Democracy requires a movement from the grass roots with a shared set of cultural values to attempt the experiment–something utterly absent from the beginning in Iraq.

    Oh, yeah, there’s that ‘soft racism’ of the Left: Silly brown people, democracy is for libs!

  10. nyomythus Says:

    Democracy requires a movement from the grass roots Sometimes, and sometimes, democracy needs a ‘revolution from the top’ because the ‘grass roots’ ain’t worth a shit. American slaves freed from top down, Depression era work programs top down, Iraq freed top down.

  11. nyomythus Says:

    something utterly absent from the beginning in Iraq.

    If there had been no intervention, then you’re required to imagine the alternative, if Iraq had been left for the Middle East to sort out. You can imagine it, think of a Rwanda, on a much larger scale, except this Rwanda is on top of one of the worlds riches oil reserves, and who are the neighbors waiting to pounce on this dieing state, imploding under 30+ years of divide and rule, wars against some of the same neighbors, genocide, capital punishment for entire families for things like speaking badly against the regime, who are these wolves staring down this inevitable civil implosion — Iran, Saudi Arabia, Turkey. This is sort of the same reason why the U.N. intervened in Bosnia, could have been sooner just like intervention in Iraq could, should, have been sooner, but not until you have those who say go, then you go with what you have and with what leaders you have, whether they fit a narcissistic political templates or not. We intervened in Bosnia to stop genocide, death camps, and the spread of the Yugoslav Civil War into greater Europe, you can let the forest burn, but maybe it will burn more than the forest, I think anyone can see where I’m going with this. The ‘Peace’ Movement and Ron Paul’s “I don’t give a crap about what happens to other people – because nothing matters to those people!” is not foreign policy, it’s nailing your own coffin shut, how can you enjoy your American ice cream and joyful isolationism when there are cutthroats looking over the Atlantic wall, knowing all of our foreign friends around the world are buried. America is not or a Malta or Principality of Andorra, America is a Super Power, a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose, with strength comes moral obligation, we would hope, to act upon the accords of the Genocide Convention was warrant enough for regime chance, period. I don’t care what Bush’s reasons were for intervention, it was the right thing to do, the country was liberated, we should keep our word on international treaties that we sign, don’t put up with despotic cat and mouse games from these tyrants, 12 years of sanctions is much to long to wait, blah blah blah, the argument for revolutionary regime change in Iraq should be perfectly clear.

  12. nihilcon Says:

    Ending American Slavery was a top down democracy movement? Ending the Depression, same stuff? Hmmm. May be making a stretch on your point–weren’t we already a nation by the time these catastrophic events took place? Thom Friedman had a great column a couple of years ago, if I find it I’ll post the link, on this very subject–what it takes to est. a democracy, and despite some good points you make, there are obvious prerequisites that Iraq lacks. The problem with your argument is that you are very selective in applying your militaristic foreign policy–why Iraq? Why not Iran? Why didn’t we stay with what seemed the logical response, Afghanistan? Why not North Korea? Venezuela (the country Cheney thinks is Colombia)? Why aren’t we planning to invade Pakistan given the week’s events, Bush’s hand picked provacatuer assassinated by al Qeada? The answers are simple, we can’t possibly intervene with force all the time and the pre-emptive neocon ideology has been a world-wide disaster for us–three fourths of the country now rejects it. Most of the time the reality is that we have to use diplomacy, and build alliances and treaties to nudge and move nations in the direction of our own self-interests. Being a bully simply doesn’t work, and Iraq has proven that we are not as super powerful as Norman Podheretz still pontificates we are. The idea of an American Empire, or de facto empire, in the 21st Century was pure moonbat fantasy, and still is.

  13. Synova Says:

    Talking about church-going… makes me think of my great great grandfather who was apparently something of a zealot in his day, a preacher even. His retirement contract with his sons stipulated exactly how he would be kept, where he would live, and exactly what material goods his heirs would provide until the day he died, including, very specifically, transportation to church exactly two times every year.

  14. Truth Says:

    Nihilcon,

    As far as we know in recent years that US is the most religious country in the world, and some report estimated that more than 60% of American got to charges.

    I don’t know your figure 17% which reference based on?

    As for Iraq first may I said your info not quite right, as you put “religious animosity” as far as Iraq it’s not easy to say there is religious animosity between them with almost 40% cross marriage between Sec. between Iraqis, as for other religions and ethnics are leaving together for thousand of years.

    As for “entrenched tribalism” there is believe this more applicable to Iraqi neighbors more than Iraq if you compares Iraq to Saudis, Kuwaitis, of Jordan where tribes links very strong and still dominated the society their but with Iraq its much less and effects with the Iraqi society.

  15. Chris White Says:

    The foremost leader of all anti-Americanism is the current manifestation of the Democrat party, led by uberliberals like Hillary Clinton. -wonderbuns

    I understand that political discourse in the U.S. has seen a steady shift to the right since WW II, but even in today’s terms Hillary Clinton cannot be labeled as an “uberliberal” unless one’s scale is so far to the right as to make Dick Cheney a “centrist.”

    As wonderbuns continues we see that his/her views fit that severely skewed point of view.

    And when one takes the treacherous trek up the Hierarchies of Responsibleness one comes face to face with the usual suspects, such as the Quakers, the Mennonites, and the black churches. Probably the Nation of Islam, too.

    By utilizing the concept of the Hierarchies of Responsibleness, one can quickly and accurately ascertain our enemies within, and make ready with the final solution of the Hierarchy of Eliminaitions, which I know many of you have ideas about (Vince P, where are you when we need you?) which will be explained at a later date. Meanwhile, don’t be afraid to lay the Hierarchies of Responsibleness on the shoulders of the collectivist enemies among us, who have betrayed our essential essence. Happy hunting.

    Nothing shows one to be more of a gung ho American patriot than suggesting that we are beset by “enemies within” … such radical terrorist loving groups as the Quakers, Mennonites and black churches … and that the solution is simple … their elimination. “Happy Hunting” indeed.

    Our gracious hostess writes postings that, while I might disagree with many of the underlying presumptions in them, are relatively cogent and do not seem to presume that the U.S. needs a to purge itself of all those who have the temerity to disagree with the neocon view. However, she seems to have attracted a coterie of (to use the current favorite pejorative around here) moonbat ultra neo-conservatives who regularly comment and seem to equate disagreement with their views to treason. (Vince P, where are you when we need you?)

    What I find confusing and depressing is that Neo never seems to find these comments to be over the top or fundamentally Anti-American and anti-democratic (the political system not the party). I’ve even grown cautious about posting here because I use my own name, not a clever nom de blog when I express my views. When self styled patriots argue for the elimination of anyone they consider “traitorous” I begin to fear for our own hold on democracy, let alone our ability to bring it to the Iraqi or Pakistani people.

  16. Ymarsakar Says:

    As far as we know in recent years that US is the most religious country in the world, and some report estimated that more than 60% of American got to charges.

    This did not come from some guy in the Middle East. Presumably?

  17. Ymarsakar Says:

    Democracy requires a movement from the grass roots with a shared set of cultural values to attempt the experiment–something utterly absent from the beginning in Iraq.

    In relation to Leftist ideology, there is no way you can get a shared set of cultural values from socialism, communism, or any other ideology. You get a shared set of cultural values by killing or exiling the dissidents.

    War is what unites humanity, in love or hate.

    It is not like if we listened to other folks, suddenly Iraq would have a shared set of values similar to us. If we did nothing, Iraq would have a shared set of values, and they would be called Shariah or fascist or socialist, or any other parasitic and self-destructive ideology around.

    Also in reply to Neo’s question about what comes first, security or democracy, it really depends upon how you see the US military. To us, the US military is both the seeds and the fruits of democracy, as well as the seeds and fruits of security. The US military is both the preserver of democracy and the result of democracy, just as it is both the preserver of security and the child of that security.

    By sending such a force out, we are spreading the apple orchard to more soil. However, to the Left, the US military is the destroyer of both security (they bombing folks and killing/raping children) and the destroyer of democracy (jack booted thugs in SS uniforms trying to rule through martial law). Whereas we, on the other hand, see the UN as the destroyer of democracy and security.

    So what comes first, security or democracy, really depends upon which set of beliefs holds your allegiance.

  18. nyomythus Says:

    Why not Iran? Why didn’t we stay with what seemed the logical response, Afghanistan? Why not North Korea? Venezuela (the country Cheney thinks is Colombia)? I don’t think Cheney thinks Venezuela is Columbia, how can the administration be so stupid, yet orchestrate such masterful conspiracies at the same time, neither is true. Anyway, I don’t care what the administration thinks, I didn’t vote for them in 2000 or 2004, we all could’ve used, but apparently not do, much better. In hindsight, McCain would probably have been the more articulate president. Iraq had long been the ward of the Security Council, it was imploding as a region that would have experienced something that might be imagined as a mega-Rwanda, I mean it would have made for indescribably violent and action-packed TV new footage, I’m happier in an innate spiritual sense that some few nations acted morally and maturely to the situation, how ever clumsy the interim has been, thanks to a Conservative administration for this, Conservatives typically care nothing about nursing wounds, only slapping a patch on the bleeding. The region was already our responsibility, if we had something to do with the mess to begin with, then we have some responsibility to get rid of Saddam, the Clinton/Gore 1998 Iraq Liberation Act addressed this, sanctions were only producing palaces and Oil for Food scandals, and again Saddam would have allowed this mega-Rwanda before capitulating to unfettered international monitoring, “The Kuwaiti oil fires were a result of the scorched earth policy of Iraqi military forces retreating from Kuwait in 1991”, and SCUDS lobbing in Israel and Saudi Arabia at Hussein’s pleasure, a whimsical murderous sociopath with a flare for human grinding machines. A long process of resolutions and violations preceded Iraq, you just can’t step into Iran, or Pakistan, North Korea; they are sovereign countries.

  19. Ymarsakar Says:

    you just can’t step into Iran, or Pakistan, North Korea; they are sovereign countries.

    That has never mattered to Kennedy, Reid, Pelosi, or Kerry. Nor any other allies they had on the Left.

  20. Truth Says:

    how can the administration be so stupid,

    No,they are!

  21. Perfected democrat Says:

    Cappy Says:
    December 29th, 2007 at 8:49 pm
    “Don’t know. How about the question of why India has made a lot of progress since independence but Pakistan is still in the dumper?”

    simple, and typical, virtually everywhere in the world (except Turkey, thank Ataturk), of that part of the world, is the difference between (Fill in the blank), in this case “Hinduism” vs that religion of peace”…..

  22. Truth Says:

    (except Turkey, thank Ataturk)

    Thank Ataturk? How to show you’re thankful for Ataturk?
    Why Turkey struggling to be a member of Europe union?

    Is this your way to thanks people or it’s just “Thanks” in words not in acts?

  23. Vince P Says:

    For the EU to accept any muslim nation into its ranks will only accellerate the suicide of european culutre.

  24. Sally Says:

    Just thought I’d point out that there’s a good chance Chris “Conventional Wisdom” White actually planted that “wonderbuns” comment himself. Telltale signs: the attempt to appeal to what lefties imagine or project as neocon rascism by referring to “brown-skinned” ME’s and the “black churches”, and the repeated efforts to hook a sympathetic response by lines like “I think you would agree, no?”.

    The last bit of evidence is the fact that the only one to actually take the bait was just CW himself, raising the comical possibility that, after waiting and hoping for someone else to bite, CW finally had to hook himself, and then act like he’s afraid of his own rabid creation. That really does deserve a LOL.

  25. Gray Says:

    Sally, I don’t know if it was Chris, but it was definitely a sock-puppet.

    Meanwhile, don’t be afraid to lay the Hierarchies of Responsibleness on the shoulders of the collectivist enemies among us, who have betrayed our essential essence. Happy hunting.

    That ‘betrayed our essential essence’ has a Dr Strangelove vibe to it.

    Even a troll pretending to be a conservative poster is wordy and nonsensical…

    Trollish!

    But, leave it to CW to respond to a pervert….

  26. Gray Says:

    I’ve even grown cautious about posting here because I use my own name, not a clever nom de blog when I express my views. When self styled patriots argue for the elimination of anyone they consider “traitorous” I begin to fear for our own hold on democracy, let alone our ability to bring it to the Iraqi or Pakistani people.

    On second thought, Sally: I agree, Chris wrote the loopy ‘wonderbuns’ screed in order to respond to it like this.

  27. Perfected democrat Says:

    Truth Says:

    December 30th, 2007 at 4:10 pm
    (except Turkey, thank Ataturk)

    “Thank Ataturk? How to show you’re thankful for Ataturk?…”

    sorry, my choice of words wasn’t clear, what I meant was: Ataturk should be genuinely thanked for his leadership and influence in helping to make Turkey a modern society, by squelching the religion of peace fundamentalist’s agenda…. he was not exactly perfection (who is?), however, either in regards to the truth regarding the Armenian genocide (as I’ve read), or concerning the perfect democratization of Turkey, but in my mind a veritable saint as religion of peace leaders go….

  28. Vince P Says:

    I’ve even grown cautious about posting here because I use my own name, not a clever nom de blog when I express my views. When self styled patriots argue for the elimination of anyone they consider “traitorous” I begin to fear for our own hold on democracy, let alone our ability to bring it to the Iraqi or Pakistani people.

    Oh you poor hypocrite.

    Try writing comments on a Leftist blog that differs with the pack.

    I have done that and have had open-minded tolerant compassionate Lefts call me:

  29. Vince P Says:

    A member of N aMBLA
    A child mlester
    A racist, islamophobe, hater, ignorant, and probably every other ist and ophobe

    I’ve been accused of writing under sockpuppets

    They researched me , to find out my full name, where I work, and other things I have written

    and more.

  30. Vince P Says:

    The Left is characterized by emotional half-wits who seek to destroy anyone they come across who is willing to stand up to them…. and then complain that THEY are the victims of intolerant conservatives.

    I’ve never seen such a group of intellectual retards in my life like these frauds

  31. Vince P Says:

    for some reason the blog was filtering my message , so i had to split it up into three parts.

  32. Tim P Says:

    Neo,
    You quoted me saying,

    Once the population refuses to be cowed and begins to actively oppose the terrorists, they can no longer operate nearly as effectively. We have seen that in Iraq.

    Then went on to add,

    They have forgotten the all-important element provided by American security. Whether it be the postwar influx of terrorists in Iraq, or the prewar tyranny of Saddam, the people of Iraq were powerless to resist without the guarantee of at least a modicum of security.

    I don’t necessarily agree with your addition of the all important ‘element of security.’

    In the case of Iraq let us not forget that it was the Iraqis themselves who played the largest part in ending al qaida’s reign of terror. They provided their own modicum of security. We have been calling it the Anbar Awakening.

    Even with the surge, our efforts would not have been nearly so effective had not the tribes, who up to that point had aided al qaida, not turned against them and sided with us. Though it is only speculation on my part, I suspect that the tribes could have thrown al qaida out without our help, though it would have been harder and bloodier. Whether they could have overcome the combined efforts of Syria and Iran alone is another question.

    In the past security has not been a prerequisite for a populace to rise up. The British colonists did not need security to rise up against King George. The French did not need security to rise up against Louis XVI. The Greeks rose up against the Turks in 1821 with at great risk to themselves. I don’t recall that the Russians needed security in 1905 and 1917. Certainly the Mujahadin didn’t require security to rise up against the Russians.

    I would further postulate that quite possibly, populations rise up against oppressors when there is no security. When anything would be better that the present situation. Smart despots have given people just enough security, or the allusion of it, so that they do not abandon all hope. To quote an old Irish saying, “you get the most work out of a horse, when you feed him just enough to let him know he’s hungry.”

    Where I think that you are correct is that populations don’t usually rise up until they feel secure enough to be successful.

    Going back to Iraq, perhaps the people saw what al qaida really was and they rejected it. Perhaps they saw that their long range interests were better served by siding with us. Certainly against Iran and Syria. Yes we were there to help, but I think that they helped us out more than we helped them. I suspect that as long as there exists this congruence of interest, we and the Iraqis will be successful.

  33. Vince P Says:

    A small quibble… They call it the Anbar Awakening.. that wasnt a term we made up.

  34. Zhombre Says:

    Vince P: yeah, I agree. There’s no blog so vicious as a lefty blog when an adverse opinion is posted. The obscenity, intolerance and vituperation bursts forth like popcorn in a microwave.

  35. Hyman Rosen Says:

    We don’t have to go to the Middle East to see the effects of a lack of security on democracy. Read this article in the NY Times about the state of affairs in Camden, NJ. Gangs freely murder other gangs’ members as well as accidental bystanders, and no one says a word to the police out of fear, community pressure, and because everyone has family members involved in criminal activities. It is frighteningly easy to lose the veneer of civilization, because in the end might always makes right. We think otherwise only because our generally benevolent State is usually mightiest.

  36. Truth Says:

    Which comes first, democracy or security?

    In a democracy “the individual comes first. So how we can get the individuals be the constructing and back bone in the process of midwife of the democracy.

    Putting a comparison which one is first “the chicken and egg” is not really applicable here in this very important matter which may be lead nations to the top of hill as we saw with Germany and Japan or bring dawn them to the bottom of Hell as in Iraq case.

    If you asked me I say first security, and this very basic element to lay the carpet on long road for democracy, without security how we can get people to participating in this project and vote for the right people who are their electorate who should be chosen to lead a country for very hard time and bumpy road.
    As an example, Iraq was very bad example that US tried to play her game of building a nation with democracy first option.
    The Bush administration reaches to point that its program in Iraq is failing. The “Iraqification” of the security forces has not dimmed the rate or deadliness of attacks against coalition troops, an American intelligence report leaked to the press indicates that Iraqis are increasingly angry with the American presence.
    Thus the administration granted the Governing Council his wish: it will become more or less an autonomous provisional government. In return, the council has promised to set a timetable for drafting a constitution and holding democratic national elections, this approach, gave hope to the White House that will make Iraqis feel more responsible for their own fate.
    US administration trusted and selected people who did not believe in democracy and its values, they came with full attention of revenge, Sadly that project not working very well or not went as a new project by WH,

  37. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Left is characterized by emotional half-wits who seek to destroy anyone they come across who is willing to stand up to them…. and then complain that THEY are the victims of intolerant conservatives.
    This is the dynamic with our war today.

    Islam and Muslims view America as the aggressor that needs to be destroyed and cut off at the knees. We think they are the aggressors and the facilitators of crime, that needs cutting off at the knees and other curtailments.

    In a war, there is little benefit of one side trying to help the other.

    And that is the real state of the relationship between the Left and the rest of America.

  38. Ymarsakar Says:

    The Sunnis did try to fight AQ by themselves. Their pride said “can’t ask the Americans, foreign barbarians, for help”. They weren’t forced to swallow their pride just because they were gloriously successful against Al Qaeda by themselves, you know.

    I suspect that the tribes could have thrown al qaida out without our help

    A direct consequence of your beliefs concerning ruthlessness and the inevitability of terrorist tactics.

    Your comment has a taste of inevitability out of it. Which reminds me of what I said about predestined outcomes and how that impacts how the war is seen.

    In the past security has not been a prerequisite for a populace to rise up. The British colonists did not need security to rise up against King George.

    The Crown Loyalists in America would make better analogies to the Sunni tribes of Al Anbar. They are the counter-insurgents to the terrorists’ insurgency. The counter-revolutionaries to the revolutionaries. The Crown Loyalists to the Colonial rebels.

    While revolutionaries trade liberty and chaos for order and stability, counter-revolutionaries are forced to side with order against the instability that revolutionaries bring via their wars of rebellion and anarchy. It is too much stability, law, and order of the wrong type that brings rebels out the woodworks. If the British Monarchy was too much in chaos to enforce their laws and taxes, the Colonies wouldn’t have rebelled. Yet rebellion is also only possible because the British was not secure enough in their empire and policies.

    In comparison to insurgents, counter-insurgents are created by the lack of security caused by the insurgents.

    So to wrap things up, a sense that you will win is always a prerequisite for a populace to devote their lives to a fight. Security is only one indication that you can win to counter-insurgents.

    The French did not need security to rise up against Louis XVI.

    On a basic human nature basis, it is very hard to get anybody to fight when their families are held hostage to the blades of the enemy. Possible, but not practical.

    People need a guarantee of victory, which includes a guarantee for safety for their families. Whether Palestinian bomber or American freedom fighter, people fight because they believe fighting and winning will guarantee the lives and health of their families. That is security and it is a very valuable commodity.

    When self styled patriots argue for the elimination of anyone they consider “traitorous” I begin to fear for our own hold on democracy

    It seems Chris has more faith in terrorists and enemies of humanity than his own countrymen. It’s indicative of something.

    There goes factionalism and amoral familism on the field.

  39. Occam's Beard Says:

    Just out of curiosity, Chris, is there anyone you would consider treasonous?

    Jane Fonda
    Adam Gadahn
    Julius and Ethel Rosenberg
    John Walker Lindh
    Lynne Stewart
    Axis Sally
    Benedict Arnold

    Anyone? Anyone at all?

    For the record, I consider all of them traitors, but you probably knew that.

  40. Truth Says:

    Ymarsakar

    Islam and Muslims view?

    Ymarsaka, is it the war between Islam and West?
    Is it the war is Crusades war?

    If thing so, then look the hatful sense here breath here in you soul.

    Their pride said “can’t ask the Americans, foreign barbarians,

    Most the report including US sources mentioning that “Alsahwa” are paid by American to fights AQI, your statement baseless and just lack of truth here,
    Petraeus was very busy with US surge in Iraq to get them underway with US to fight AQI with one way of get them with him he rush them with money and some promises to recruit 20% of Alsahwa fighter in Iraqi military.

    So in both “your comment has a taste of inevitability out of it

  41. Truth Says:

    neoneocon,
    Wonder what’s your thoughts why US and Europe so quite in case of
    Benazir Bhutto’s killing why they kept tied lips for demanding investigation about Benazir Bhutto’s killing?
    if we compares Benazir Bhutto’s killing and Rafiq AlHariri in Lebanon both cases is downfall of democracy and its savage and horrific, both state president are Pro-American and both Benazir Bhutto and AlHariri are western minded people and in full support of moderation and westerns way of life.
    So why this silent? Does any one have any answers? What the difference here?

  42. neo-neocon Says:

    Truth—see this:

    The Bush administration has quietly joined calls for Pakistan to allow international experts to join the probe into Bhutto’s Dec. 27 slaying. The officials said they expected an announcement soon that investigators from Britain’s Scotland Yard would be asked to play a significant role.

  43. Chris White Says:

    Been off line for a few days.

    First point, I did not submit the “wonderbuns” comment … as I trust Neo can confirm.

    Second point, subsequent comments by Sally, Vince P, Sally, Gray, and Ymarsakar all confirm my opinions about the over the top, un-American, intolerant nature of self styled arbiters of patriotism. All seem more than willing to label anyone they disagree with a traitor and intimate if not out-right demand that such “traitors” should be eliminated. Are they all “sock puppets”?

    Third point, to answer Occam’s Beard question regarding whom I might consider a traitor.

    Jane Fonda – No
    Adam Gadahn – Yes
    Julius and Ethel Rosenberg – Yes
    John Walker Lindh – Yes
    Lynne Stewart – No
    Axis Sally – Yes
    Benedict Arnold – Yes

  44. Ymarsakar Says:

    Ymarsakar all confirm my opinions about the over the top, un-American, intolerant nature of self styled arbiters of patriotism. All seem more than willing to label anyone they disagree with a traitor and intimate if not out-right demand that such “traitors” should be eliminated.

    Don’t strain yourself trying to find a quote of me calling anyone but Benedict Arnold a traitor, Chris. Be healthy.

  45. Ymarsakar Says:

    Btw, anything you read, Chris, will confirm your basic assumptions. You don’t need us to do that. But I’m flattered, to say the least.

  46. Occam's Beard Says:

    Chris, thanks. We have some common ground then. I’ll give you that Jane Fonda and Lynne Stewart are both wobblers. Fonda’s just a silly tw@t, effectively a child in terms of comprehension and ratiocination, and is just playing dress-up activist.

    Stewart, on the other hand, as a lawyer, knew perfectly well what she was doing when she broke court-ordered rules and passed messages from a terrorist suspect to his pals. The only thing that makes her case a wobbler is that we don’t know the contents of the message(s) she carried. They could have been Achmed’s recipe for hummus, in which case no problem; if they were instructions for a terrorist act, and she knew it (or had reason to suspect it), she’s a straight-up traitor in my book. Zealous representation of a client does not extend to breaking a court’s eminently sensible rule in that case.

  47. OmegaPaladin Says:

    Chris,

    wonderbuns is a loon. Hierarchy of responsibleness: what the hell is that? You meet weird people on the Internet. I once met a Prussian empire aristocracy loyalist who was devoted to the traditions of the church while being a lesbian atheist.

    Traitor is often used in place of sedition, and the latter is rightly applied to certain members of the hard left. If you advocate for the victory of our enemy, celebrate the deaths of our forces, or willingly give out enemy propaganda, you are being seditious, although perhaps not in the legal sense. I don’t believe that makes a person a target, it just makes them an utter bastard.

    I want us to win, not lose. If you think that we can improve our chances of success with a different strategy, please say so. (Although I heard a lot of fierce criticism of the Iraq Study Group, they were not called traitors.) Just remember that this your war and my war and all of our war, and a defeat in this will be a defeat for all of us.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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