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The thoughts and theories of a guy who basically should have gone to bed hours ago.

I know, I know - what's the point? But look at it this way - I stayed up late writing it, but you're reading it...

Let's call ourselves even & move on, OK?


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Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Gary Hart on Iraq


Gary Hart - IRAQ: Exit or Empire?

Though the press has been unaccountably lax in pursuing this question, the best evidence, mostly from non-"mainstream" sources, is that we are building somewhere between 12 and 14 permanent military bases.

If the goal . . . was to overthrow Saddam Hussein, install a friendly government in Baghdad, set up a permanent political and military presence in Iraq, and dominate the behavior of the region (including securing oil supplies), then you build permanent bases for some kind of permanent American military presence. If the goal was to spread democracy and freedom, then you don't.


Interesting theory, senator. Are you suggesting, then, that we did not spread democracy and freedom in Germany, South Korea, or Bosnia? After all, we still have troops in all of those places.

Once Iraq is on its feet & functioning as a independent nation, they will likely be a strong ally of the United States. Many, including, I presume, Senator Hart, will see this as American puppeteering. I see it as a reasonable expectation on our part. And having some small number of American troops in that very volatile and strategic part of the world is not only in our best interests, but it is not mutually exclusive with spreading democracy and freedom in Iraq.

posted by Brian at 11:53 PM


2 Comments:

  • If Hart didn't, I will say that we didn't spread democracy and freedom in Germany, South Korea, or Bosnia. In the first two cases, we attacked governments that were directly or indirectly threatening us. In the latter, we were attacking a tyrannical government that was engaging in genocide (primarily to expiate the guilt of having not done so in Rwanda). Democratic government was a politically expedient result, not a first cause.

    I expect that the residents of the former East Germany would have a few things to say on the topic that we went to that war to spread democracy and freedom.

    Where I'll agree with your criticism of Hart is that building military bases is to spreading democracy as chocolate ice cream is to nuclear power plants. We build bases to further American interests. The administration would have you believe that we're doing it to promote democracy, which is a nice fairytale for children; the true reason is for projection of American power.

    Meanwhile, you're misreading history when you say that Iraq is likely to be an American ally. For every Philippines there's a Cuba. Germany is not an ally because we conquered them, but because of what came after. I think it's exceedingly optimistic to say "on its feet & functioning as a independent nation" as if it were a preordained outcome, let alone to say what form of government it will have or whom it will prefer to deal with.

    By Anonymous Jeff Porten, at 2:55 AM, May 14, 2005  


  • I agree totally that Democratic government wasn't a first cause, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

    The point I was trying to make (similar to your point about the chocolate nuclear power plants), was that the existence of bases (and troops) doesn't mean democracy won't spread.

    It's all the rage these days to ask "When are we getting out of Iraq?" I've yet to hear a politican on either side of the aisle give the correct answer, which is "Not for a very long time. At some point, we'll drastically reduce our troop levels (from 130,000 to say, less than 1,000), but a military presence in Iraq after the war is over is not necessarily a bad thing."

    By Blogger Brian, at 3:09 AM, May 14, 2005  


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