The more things change the more they stay the same. As I page through my book of cliches, this old ditty sprung to mind.
Much of the rationale for continued support of U.S. presence in Iraq suggests that the world is a far different place because of what happened on September 11, 2001. Certainly anyone who lived through that shocking and tragic Tuesday morning will never forget it. But 9/11 was not the first instance of terrorism in human history. Terrorism, for centuries has been employed as a weapon of the weak. In short, it is not new.
Democracy, we are told, is the answer to terrorism. Free elections, representative government, and responsibility are the answer to hate. If these people can only vote and see how terrific liberal western democracy is, then these various ethnic and religious groups will finally get along, stop hating western culture, and support us in our fight against terrorism.
Wrong. This view of democracy presupposes realism and knowledge of the region and history in general. It additionally ignores human nature and views democracy as a utopian solution. A utopia, which in Greek literally means "no place," is absolutely true. It is a Garden of Eden which no longer exists on Earth. Adam’s sin expelled him and his wife and civilization as recorded in the Bible commenced. Eden is no longer with us and the world has been sinful, chaotic, and altogether self-serving ever since. Point being, people do not just choose benevolently to do the right thing or even the conscientious thing. People are sinful and self-centered and will almost always think of themselves first.
So, how could democracy just automatically supplant hatred? If one ethnic group hates another and suddenly gets a vote to discriminate or exterminate another ethnic group, they will likely do so.
And why institute democracy in the Middle East? Because we suffered through 9/11, the blowback from years of U.S. foreign policy? Human nature isn’t any different post-9/11. Our actions across the world indeed have consequences and they continue to do so. Terrorism has existed for a long time and I presume will persist until Judgment Day. President Bush promised to eradicate terrorism from the world but sinful people (which is everyone without exception) will not eradicate evil from the world any more than we can stop the sun from shining.
The point is that Saddam Hussein and Iraq were never threats to us. If Iran is a threat to us it is only because we have gotten bogged down in Iraq for the past 5 years. If Iran had uprooted regimes in Canada and Mexico, we’d probably be arming ourselves and finally guarding our borders, one would think.
Also, if we should have gone to Iraq because of Saddam’s human rights violations then why haven’t we done anything more to China (whose human rights violations greatly exceed Saddam’s) besides threatening to boycott the exhibition that is the Summer Olympics?
Perhaps we can put it to a democratic vote and hope that will give Christians freedom in China. That logic is working in Iraq, right?