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01/24/2005 Archived Entry: "Bonsoir à tous, l'Ancien Régime"
Justin Raimondo offers a nice analysis of some possible consequences of Iraq's election: "This Plastic Moment Getting out of Iraq: it's now or never."
He explains that al-Hakim, the likely victor "who heads up the Shi'ite election list endorsed by the Ayatollah Sistani," may not fall into line with US policy. The London Times reports, "In comments certain to raise eyebrows in the United States, al-Hakim spoke of a role for Iran and Syria -- both regarded in Washington as enemies in the war on terror -- along with Iraq's other neighbors, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Kuwait, in the security of the country. 'These countries have past experiences and good security forces, and with good relations we can solve this problem together,' he said. 'Should the security problem continue, it will not end at the border of Iraq but extend to their countries.'"
Raimondo comments, "We have arrived at a plastic moment, during which we can jump out of the Iraqi quagmire in a single bound and leave the Iraqis to 'make their own way,' as our president put it the other day. Whether we take it or not is a fateful decision that will put George W. Bush's words to the test. Are we prepared to see Iranians and Syrians substituting for American troops if they are invited in by the elected government to keep 'order' in Iraq?"
The most concise description of what will actually happen if the January 30th election comes off is from Brendan O'Neill of Spiked e-zine, who writes, "Iraq's estimated 14million voters will vote for 275 members of a new Transitional National Assembly (TNA). This TNA will take over from interim prime minister Ayad Allawi's transitional government and serve as a national legislature while drawing up a more permanent constitution for future elections. There will also be elections to 18 provincial assemblies and to the autonomous Kurdish parliament in northern Iraq. Around 120 parties have so far been authorised to put forward candidates for the assembly - with each party presenting a list of at least 12 candidates where every third name must be a woman's, to ensure that 25 per cent of the seats in the assembly are taken by women." Whether the elections actually occur, the number of eligible voters who will cast a ballot, and how many of the candidates will still be alive on the 30th remain to be seen.
In an audiotape posted on the Web, a speaker claiming to be al-Zarqawi - the leader of Al-Quaida in Iraq -- declared anyone who takes part in the election to be "an infidel" and stated, "We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology."
Yet democracy is what the US demands. In his incredibly "God drenched" and bombastic inaugural speech [Transcript] from last Thursday, Bush declared "the ultimate goal of [America is] ending tyranny in our world," which translates into exporting precisely the democracy against which al-Zarqawi has declared war. Clearly, Bush believes the ultimate solution to Arab terrorism is to democratize the Arab world. Even fellow conservatives are expressing horror at Bush's over-the-top rhetoric and global vision. The London Times notes, "Patrick Buchanan, the former right-wing presidential candidate, said Bush had asserted a right to intervene in the internal affairs of every nation on earth and that is, quite simply, a recipe for endless war. And war is the death of republics'."
If Buchanan is correct -- as I believe him to be -- then Bonsoir à tous, l'Ancien Régime because there can be no room compromise in the belief systems of Bush and al-Zarqawi. Th' they do agree on one point: the withdrawal of American troops would indicate weakness, and Bush's ego will not permit that to happen even while staring straight in the face of the reality that America cannot win a land war in Asia.