The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, October 28, 2004
An eternity of Baathism
From Andrew Sullivan:
It is quite right to worry whether the Americans are sincere about bringing democracy to Iraq given their record in the region, it would be insane not to be. But I don't agree at all that if the Iraqis get the chance of democracy they won't take it. If you look at all the opinion polls, they are absolutely unequivocal about this. They put tribe very low on their list of reason why they will vote for a candidate. The Ayatollah Sistani has emerged as a committed democrat - showing that democrats always emerge in the strangest of places. If Arabs are irredeemably tribal, then dictatorship is the only possible route for the region. I don't believe that, and far more importantly, the evidence doesn't show it. We shouldn't be naive about US power, but we also shouldn't be patronizing about the capacities of Arabs.
And please remember: if the invasion hadn't happened we wouldn't be talking about Iraqi democracy, ever. We would be talking about Saddam and Uday and Qusay forever. I say better a chance at democracy and trade unions and decency - even if you think it's slim - than an eternity of Ba'athism.
- Johann Hari, in an interesting debate with Robert Fisk, on his own website.