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Wishful thinking

Reader comment on item: Is an Iraqi Strongman Emerging?

Submitted by Bill Brent (United States), May 5, 2004 at 01:52

It is difficult for me to believe that you would continue to push the idea that the "realistic best hope for Iraq" is a "democratically-minded Iraqi strongman." On the one hand it seems to be a cynical admission of defeat: "Oh well, we (America) did not have the strength of will to create a constitutional republic in its own image - a republic that ensures freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom to own and dispose of property, equality of the sexes, and civilian audit of the military. I guess we'll just have to settle for another dictator."

On the other hand, it smacks of alot of wishful thinking. It sounds to me like you are hoping a for a "democratically minded" dictator (as if such a thing could actually exist) and that his dictatorship would somehow evolve into a democracy. But has that EVER happened? And is it realistic to hope that it can happen first in the Middle East, of all places. King Hussein of Jordan was the most intelligent and benign of all Middle East rulers in the last century, but even he could not drag his country into the 20th century.

What's needed in the Middle East is a novel idea that's never existed there - freedom of the individual. Freedom to vote. Freedom to express oneself without fear of violent reprisal. Freedom to worship or not worship as one sees fit. And freedom to own and dispose of property.

In other words, what Iraq needs is a constitution patterned on ours. If we only had the moral certainty that guided our rebuilding of Japan and Germany, there would be no need for strongmen.
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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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