29 March 2006

There's "Democracy," and then there's "Democracy"

And we sure do like us some "Democracy," dont we? The other stuff, not so much:
Shiites Say U.S. Is Pressuring Iraqi Leader to Step Aside
Published: March 28, 2006

Senior Shiite politicians said today that the American ambassador has told Shiite officials to inform the Iraqi prime minister that President Bush does not want him to remain the country's leader in the next government.

It is the first time the Americans have directly intervened in the furious debate over the country's top job, the politicians said, and it is inflaming tensions between the Americans and some Shiite leaders.

The ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, told the head of the main Shiite political bloc at a meeting last Saturday to pass a "personal message from President Bush" on to the prime minister, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, who the Shiites insist should stay in his post for four more years, said Redha Jowad Taki, a Shiite politician and member of Parliament who was at the meeting.

Ambassador Khalilzad said that President Bush "doesn't want, doesn't support, doesn't accept" Mr. Jaafari to be the next prime minister, according to Mr. Taki, a senior aide to Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, the head of the Shiite bloc. It was the first "clear and direct message" from the Americans on the issue of the candidate for prime minister, Mr. Taki said.
So much for the purple-fingered perfection of the political science project we call "Iraq."

Once again, it appears that El Presidente didn't realize that "the will of the people" doesn't necessarily mean the will of HIS people. First, the Palestinians put their trust in Hamas. Then, the Afghan goverment comes within a hairsbreadth of putting an official stamp on executing people for apostasy. And, every time, we're left, alone, sweating bullets on the world stage trying to do some sort of majority rule mambo.

This is what happens when the architects of your foreign policy seek their inspiration from an Incredible Hulk comic book.

"Democracy good! Other stuff bad! Uncle Sam smash!"

Obviously, there are international developments that we're obligated to weigh in on, negatively . We can probably all agree that, popular support or not, a terrorist organization ascending to regional political power in the Middle East is not a good thing. That said, by hitching our national wagon to the sort of Crayola-penned, absolutist rhetoric that we have, we're consistently caught in glaring reversals when the world turns out to be more Dostoyevsky than Dick & Jane.

Or My Pet Goat, for that matter.

Does anyone think that things are going so well for the U.S. that we can afford to invite charges of hypocrisy through careless--and emphatic--posturing that doesn't even rise to the level of "dumbed down?" We're fighting for our global reputation, as it is. The sooner we realize that sloganeering and policy-making aren't interchangeable, the better.

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