Monday, November 29, 2004

Juan Cole, right as rain

Here's a useful post on why the insistance sticking to January 30, 2005 for Iraqi elections may well lead to an even worse catastrophe -- according to someone who actually listens to the local-language media in the Middle East. Money:

A statement such as "Arabs want to be free" is anyway mere propaganda. Which Arabs? When? Under what circumstances? The millions of Shiites who support Muqtada al-Sadr don't appear to me to want to be free of puritanical restrictions or of charismatic authoritarianism. The millions of Sunni Arabs who are supporting the guerrilla war, actively or passively, don't seem to want the kind of "freedom" [the United States] is imposing on them. A majority of Iraqis clearly want a new, parliamentary government to succeed, but significant minorities and maybe even a plurality do not. Glib statements by Westerners about what "Arabs" want are the New Orientalism, since the Western observers put themselves in the position of ventriloquists for their pliant Arab lap puppets....

The success or failure of the political process in Iraq anyway has nothing to do with yearning for democracy. It has to do with the frankly stupid policies implemented by the Bush administration in Iraq. If the whole enterprise goes bad... it will be because the Americans, especially the Neoconservatives, crafted a ridiculous electoral system based on that of Israel.

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