Emphasis on US Mideast policy should be liberty, not democracy
By Frank Salvato
The recently released Benchmark Assessment Report mandated by the US Troop Readiness, Veterans' Care, Katrina Recovery, and Iraq Accountability Appropriations Act, 2007 (HR2206/PL110-28) states that the common goal for both the US and Iraqi governments is a democratic Iraq that can govern, defend, and sustain itself, and be an ally in the War on Terror. All of these goals are achievable. The problem is, while some are achievable within a reasonable amount of time, where US intervention is concerned, at least one goal should be considered lofty: the goal of achieving a functional, democratic Iraqi government.
There are myriad reasons why US troops should not be prematurely withdrawn from the Iraqi battlefield. Two of the chief reasons revolve around genocide and the overall war against Islamofascism.
Embracing the reality that history has provided us, the premature withdrawal of US & Coalition Forces would create a perfect opportunity for nefarious forces to initiate the genocide of millions of purple-fingered Iraqis who braved death for democracy. Foreign terrorist entities, such as al Qaeda, along with encroaching foreign governments and Ba'ath Party loyalists, would take the opportunity of a US withdrawal – the chief stabilizing force committed to the region – to cull Western leaning Iraqis in one of the worst genocides since Hitler's campaign to eliminate Jews from the face of the earth.
This fact can hardly be disparaged as conjecture in light of history. In every instance of conquest throughout history a "purging" of the defeated has taken place. In the 20th Century alone, genocide took over 90 billion lives, the number of killed stretching from the reigns of Turkey's Ismail Enver (1,200,000) and Vladimir Lenin (30,000) to Josef Stalin (13,000,000), Mao Ze-Dong (49,000,000), Adolf Hitler (12,000,000) and Rwanda's Jean Kambanda (800,000).
In light of the indisputable historic precedent from the last century alone, it would be foolish not to understand the consequences of any withdrawal of US or Coalition Forces before the "insurgency" is defeated. The only issue left regarding the subject of genocide, especially where Iraq is concerned, is determining when the Progressive-Left started tolerating genocide as an acceptable consequence to their political agenda.
The West's premature withdrawal of troops from Iraq would also deprive the forces of freedom and liberty from the single best location from which to execute military operations in the Middle East. During a time when a fascist and genocidal ideology is aggressively expanding its influence, it would be unwise to surrender such a central location, "the high ground." To leave the heart of the Middle East during this volatile time only to have to re-acquire the position at a later date – at the cost of additional American lives – would be to employ the same inane tactics used on "Hamburger Hill" during the Vietnam War.
Further, given the blatant regional agenda of both Iran and Syria against the State of Israel – in conjunction with Hezbollah, Hamas, al Qaeda and to a lesser extent al-Fatah, Western forces would be negligent in not anticipating an upcoming conflict. Having to redeploy, should the worst-case scenario play out, would be an exercise in "too little, too late," coming at the cost of the Israeli state.
The reasons for early withdrawal addressed, when one examines the goals set forth by HR2206/PL110-28 only one is difficult to obtain: a functional democracy in Iraq.
We are certainly seeing progress in the training of the Iraqi Army and at some point their training will be complete. Once Iraqi security forces are fully functional they will be able to not only defend their nation but defend their infrastructure as well. In fact, once the Iraqi security forces are functioning, sustaining the government will become another achievable goal.
The goal that will escape the mandate of HR2206/PL110-28 will be the goal of establishing a sustainable democracy.
Democracy, based on the principle of majority decision making, is a foreign concept to most Middle Easterners. This region of the world, still reminiscent of centuries past, has only known, for the most part, the rule of royalty and dictators, despots and conquerors. To plunge an entire nation, or an entire culture, into an unbridled democratic system is akin to giving the keys of a car to a newly-turned sixteen year-old without any instruction on how to operate the vehicle. Someone is going to get hurt.
I fully understand the end goal of establishing democracy as the standard around the world. It is a noble objective, yet, as an immediate goal, an unreasonable expectation.
Three good examples of why democracy cannot be bestowed on a people are evidenced in Hamas' victory in Gaza, Hezbollah's infiltration of the Lebanese government and the most recent attempt by "insurgent groups" to enter the political process – through international means ala Arafat – in Iraq.
When a terrorist organization makes the transition to political entity that doesn't automatically preclude their use of terrorism as a tool for conquest and change.
In Lebanon, Hezbollah used the same clandestinely coercive techniques Al Capone used during his bloody reign over the streets of Chicago in the 1920s. Just as Capone courted a public apathy for his illegal activity by opening soup kitchens for the poor and providing community services at a quality much higher than that of the government, Hezbollah is doing much the same thing in Southern Lebanon. Hezbollah's goal is the perversion of the democratic process in order to gain control of the Lebanese parliament, thus allowing for the "legitimate" establishment of an oppressive Islamic state in Lebanon.
In Gaza, we recently witnessed Hamas being democratically elected to the Palestinian Authority through "free" elections. Hamas' support was acquired through a steady stream of radical Islamist and anti-Semitic indoctrination employed over generations. Once they became "legitimized" through the democratic process it was easier to claim political impasse as catalyst for the bloody civil war that resulted in a "two-state solution" for the Palestinian people, albeit a two-state solution that divided the Palestinian people between the territories of Gaza and The West Bank.
And in Iraq, word now comes that seven of the more effective Sunni-led foreign terrorist organizations fighting US & Coalition Forces have agreed to form a public political alliance with the aim of preparing for negotiations in advance of an American withdrawal. Three of these groups – 1920 Revolution Brigades, Ansar al Sunna and Iraqi Hamas – which also happen to be the deadliest groups, indicated they plan to hold a "congress" to launch a united front in appealing to Arab governments, other governments and the United Nations to help them establish a permanent political presence outside Iraq. This is exactly what Yasser Arafat did for the PLO, today's Palestinian Authority.
So, democracy has not served the advancement of freedom or liberty when employed in the Middle East. Instead, it has achieved the opposite; the legitimization of oppressive, fundamentalist Islamofascists through the ballot box.
Don't misunderstand my point. I am not against the notion of a democratic Middle East and I am certainly for the eventual establishment of democracy throughout the world. But a functional democracy cannot be bestowed upon a people. It can only be born of societies that understand, value and choose to defend freedom and liberty.
Not wanting to sound as though I am joining the ranks of the spineless conservative chicken-hawks in Washington who are acquiescing to the Progressive-Leftist anti-war propaganda, the United States needs to change its policy on Iraq and the Middle East.
Instead of establishing goals that see democracy as the end game, we should embrace policies that move Middle Eastern governments toward increasing freedom and liberty for their citizens. Once the peoples of the Middle East experience the wane of oppression, increased freedoms and greater liberties, the desire for democracy – and subsequently democracy itself – will naturally follow.
In an age when Islamofascist regimes are actively pursuing nuclear capability in the quest for a global Caliphate, the scheme used to achieve the goal of eventual democracy should be stability, sustainability, liberty, democracy, not democracy, liberty, stability, sustainability.
In the end, the key to functional democracy is a true understanding and appreciation for liberty and freedom. Any other path can only be viewed as a road to disaster.
Frank Salvato is the managing editor for The New Media Journal. He serves at the Executive Director of the Basics Project, a non-profit, non-partisan, 501(C)(3) research and education initiative. His pieces are regularly featured in over 100 publications both nationally and internationally. He has appeared on The O'Reilly Factor, and is a regular guest on The Right Balance with Greg Allen on the Accent Radio Network, as well as an occasional guest on numerous radio shows coast to coast. His organization, Basics Project, is partnered in producing the first-ever national symposium series on the threat of radical Islamist terrorism. His pieces have been recognized by the House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict. Mr. Salvato is available for public speaking engagements. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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