Tuesday, January 11, 2005

What Do Iraqis Want?

Many on the left insist that Iraq's descended into civil war, imperiling coalition forces and underscoring the illegitimacy (in their view) of the invasion. I think this wrong and, in many respects, irrelevant. America's policy should be judged on whether it secures freedom of choice for the Iraqi people.

First, there can be no doubt which side promotes religious liberty. The United States outlaws both government-imposed religion and restraints on religion. In contrast, according to the Muslim Q&A website, Islam compels jihad to force religious conversion:
The main goal of jihad is to make the people worship Allaah alone.

Ibn Jareer said: So fight them until there is no more shirk, and none is worshipped except Allaah alone with no partner or associate, and trials and calamities, which are disbelief and polytheism, are lifted from the slaves of Allaah on earth, and religion is all for Allaah alone, and so that obedience and worship will be devoted to Him alone and none else.

Ibn Katheer said: Allaah commands us to fight the kuffaar so that there will be no fitnah, i.e., shirk, and the religion will all be for Allaah alone, i.e., the religion of Allaah will prevail over all other religions.

The kuffaar should be compelled to enter Islam . . ., because that will lead to their happiness and salvation in this world and in the Hereafter. Obliging a person to adhere to the truth in which is guidance and happiness is better for him than falsehood.

Just as a person may be forced to do the duty that he owes to other people even if that is by means of imprisonment or beating, so forcing the kaafirs to believe in Allaah alone and enter into the religion of Islam is more important and more essential, because this will lead to their happiness in this world and in the Hereafter. . .
Put differently, the Koran conflates the word of god with the laws of government:
[A]ccording to the historic Muslim understanding, there is no separation between religion and government—what in Christianity would be called the separation of church and state. We are not speaking here of the secularist idea that the state should marginalize religion and discourage people from voting their consciences as Christians. We are talking about the idea that church and state are not the same thing and that they have different spheres of activity.

[This] means that Islam is not only a religion. It is also a political ideology. If the government of the Muslim community simply is God's government, then no other governments can be legitimate.
Zarqawi said himself: "We do not wage our jihad in order to replace the Western tyrant with an Arab tyrant. We fight to make God's word supreme, and anyone who stands in the way of our struggle is our enemy, a target of our swords." Zarqawi's goals, plainly, are at odds with every precept of liberal democracy. They also pre-date and have nothing whatsoever to do with the coalition invasion or occupation.

Second, only one side seeks political liberties. America insists Iraq hold democratic elections on January 30th. The terrorists gun-down unarmed civilian Iraqi election officials in the street. Such tactics are inconsistent with liberal aims, as Terry Barnich explains in TechCentral:
[N]o less an authority than Osama bin Laden has settled the strategic argument, for he has now joined Bush's policy of doing battle with international "jihadism" in Iraq.

In his newest tape he has demanded that Iraqis refrain from voting in the upcoming elections and has declared those who do exercise the franchise to be apostates. In effect he has confirmed that what is really going on is an Islamic civil war. Bin Laden's vision of a restored caliphate and a resurrection of Saddam's fascistic absolutism are at war with acceptance of the need to reconcile Islam to modernity.

In contrast, Ayad Allawi, the interim Iraqi prime minister, believes in consent of the governed. There is no in between in that struggle. And on that score the issue should now be settled for Americans of all stripes.
Whatever other label might apply, conducting daylight executions to prevent the people from choosing elected representatives does not turn terrorists into "freedom fighters."

But liberals are so blinded by anti-Americanism that they're reluctant to condemn barbaric Islamic terror, despite the fact that core liberal rights and values would be the first casualty of Muslim Shari`ah law. Instead, they're siding with repression and tyranny, to the horror of leftist Johann Hari:
A few months ago, Subdhi al-Mashadani, a representative of the IFTU, came to speak at the European Social Forum in London. This is a really important gathering of left-wing campaign groups who fight on issues nobody else in the political spectrum stands up for: defending refugees, opposing the sale of weapons to tyrants, ending the international drug patenting rules that are killing hundreds of thousands of Africans, and much more. So you would expect the international left to welcome him and hear him politely.

But he was an Iraqi who didn't restrict his comments to the need for occupation troops to leave once a democratic election has been held. He also insisted on talking about the nature of the Sunni "resistance" - one of the most reactionary political forces anywhere on earth, consisting of homicidal misogynists, homophobes and supporters of Sharia law. The audience at the Social Forum booed and hissed him so loudly that he had to leave the stage. . .

Some of the most honourable and consistent left-wing opponents of the war have already spoken out about this. Peter Tatchell, for example, explains: "Sections of progressive opinion are wavering in their defence of universal human rights. Many leftists now support a 'resistance' that would bring to power Baathists and Islamic fundamentalists. Is that what the left should stand for? Neo-fascism, so long as it is anti-western?"
For Western liberals, this choice should be easy. And it's encouraging to see that Iraqis themselves are anxious for democratic rule. Last week's Al-Sabah newspaper published a poll showing that “terrorists” won't dissuade Iraqis from voting. Indeed, the results showed many will accept risks to lock-in liberty:
Will the security problems cause you to?
Not come out and vote the day of elections = 18.3%
Come out and vote the day of elections = 78.3%
No opinion = 3.4%
Ordinary Iraqis see this election as a long-awaited opportunity for an Islamic reformation, as Ali at Free Iraqi affirms:
We don't need to democratize Islam, as it wasn't possible with any other religion. We simply need to separate the mosque from the state, and that could be done violently or peacefully depending on the place and the circumstances. So the right question in my mind is, can we separate the mosque from the state? I for one believe it's very possible, especially in Iraq.
In fact, Iraqis have caught the "democracy bug," says Omar at Iraq the Model:
Day by day, people get more involved in the process and dedicate more of their attention and time to follow the news and discuss the updates and events that are related to the elections and involved parties. . .

Most of the parties are focusing now on the universities in an attempt to win the students votes and they're holding lectures and events in the universities to advertise for their platforms and lists.In the city of Najaf, the Hawza suspended the activities of its school and asked the students to stop working on their researches and head to the provinces to encourage the people to vote. . .

The people have chosen to hold the elections and our friends have decided to support the people in this choice and this combination is stronger than those who stand against the elections in order to keep an unelected government so that [they] have an excuse to fight it and keep it weak. They know that the formation of an elected government means that the majority of Iraqis will be supporting this government and this will make it even harder for the terrorists to fight it because they will be fighting legitimacy itself and the nation itself.
Contrary to the ceaseless Chicken Little-ism in the Western press, ordinary Iraqis also are grateful for US and coalition help. The Al-Sabah poll showed overwhelming approval:
Do you support military action against the terrorists?
Yes = 87.7 %
No = 11.1%
Don’t Know = 1.2%:
And the Iraqi people are impatient, if not disgusted, with the anti-war left, says Omar:
With the elections' day getting closer, I'm hearing more voices warning of the possibility of a civil war in Iraq after the elections and I want to say that I do not find that theory the least acceptable; the theory of the civil war doesn't match any of the facts on the ground and it's based on visions of people who have never lived among Iraqis and have no real-if any-experience in the region. . . .

The groups that oppose the elections say that elections cannot take place with the country being under occupation. One thing I'm sure of is that a civil war will be inevitable if the US withdrew from Iraq. Close your eyes for a moment and try to picture the situation if the US decided to leave now. Those who still live in the illusions of the past will not have a role in the future of the region. . . .

I think what happened in Palestine yesterday and what happened in Afghanistan before that proves that if the people really want to have elections, then they can do it and it's another indication that we're moving on the right track here and it's another accomplishment for the ongoing change in the region.
A central flaw in modern liberalism is a condescending paternalism; an insistence that ordinary citizens can not be trusted to understand, or select, what's "best," so such decisions should be made by an educated elite. A noxious policy applied here in America, it's particularly loathsome when privileged Western liberals assume they know what's best for Iraq.

Thanks to President Bush, neither Saddam nor the New York Times' editorial writers run Iraq. America invaded so the Iraqi people could determine their own future. Let 'um vote.


Yashiko Sagamori is pessimistic:
Instead of eradicating Islam, however, the United States decided to enhance it with democracy. I have, on several occasions, expressed my utter skepticism at the prospects of the success of such an undertaking. Despite the wide-spread belief (especially among the Europeans) in Mr. Bush's stupidity, I see no reason to assume that he is any more na?ve than I am. Therefore, all his talk about democracy in Dar el Islam is nothing but normal political double-speak. If this is so, we must ask what he really has in mind while sacrificing the lives of American soldiers (and Israeli soldiers and civilians) to conduct elections in Afghanistan, Iraq, and, unbelievably, among the Arab terrorists occupying Gaza, Judea, and Samaria.

I think I know the answer, and I don't like it at all. I think President Bush is merely trying to replace bad Muslim leaders with good ones. A good Muslim leader is apparently defined as someone with whom Colin Powell can work towards achieving American goals in the region. And what exactly are the American goals in the region? We are not after their oil, which is a pity. We can't possibly hope to bring Afghan and Iraqi rocket scientists to the United States, like we did with Wernher von Braun after defeating Germany in World War II. What's left? Democracy in the Middle East, I guess…

So, tell me please, why every logically possible alternative to the eradication of Islam inevitably leads either to a fiasco (like Papa Bush's attempt to tame Saddam) or an absurdity?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here here. You would think that even Michael Moore would experience shame when he refers to the terrorists who are making life hell for Iraqis as "freedom fighters" -- as they set off car bombs killing random children in order to undermine democracy. The Iraqis have a struggle ahead of them, but if we back them up they can win it. Then they won't have to subsist in half-starved totalitarian hellhole anymore.

Van Helsing