Monday, December 19, 2005

War on Terror? Where does democracy fit in?

It was a huge mistake for the Bush administration to claim that it was embarking on a "War on Terror" in response to the events of 9/11. There are really TWO efforts going on: 1) the ongoing efforts to suppress terrorists (ala al Qaeda), and 2) efforts to promote democracy around the world. They ARE and should be KEPT as TWO DISTINCT efforts.

Terrorists don't give a hoot about democracy. Even if EVERY country in the world was a democracy, groups like al Qaeda would still be fighting to pursue their own visions.

I believe that efforts to promote democracy are laudable. Where we run into trouble is the question of means, and I'm one of those people who insists that the end can never justify all means.

If the administration, the neocons, and the Republicans overall wish to rally America around the concept of radical democratization (as we are seeing in Afghanistan and Iraq and as they tried with the Nicaraguan Contras), they should be clear about both the goals and the means.

Only a tiny minority of Americans probably believe that al Qaeda and similar terrorist groups will shrivel up and die once Iraq is a certifiable democracy.

If we want to pursue democracy in Iraq, that's great, but let's be honest and realistic and tell people what's really going on and what the goals really are. And let's NOT mislead them by claiming that democracy in Iraq or even the entire Middle East will somehow make terrorism go away.

If anybody tells you that a realistic goal in Iraq is that terrorist attacks against the U.S. will cease once Iraq or even ALL countries in the Middle East are democratic, they are basically saying something that is not true today and can never be true.

We need to have a clear roadmap for "The Struggle Against Terrorism".

We also need to have a clear roadmap for "The Struggle to Promote Democracy".

Just don't confuse the two and mix them up.

-- Jack Krupansky


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