Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The other coalition

The leaders France, Germany, and Russia are saying nice things about the elections in Iraq, and are looking forward to being more helpful. Chirac said that the "the participation rate and the good technical organization of the elections were satisfactory." Javier Solana, the foreign affairs chief of the EU said

the Iraqi people "are going to find the support of the European Union — no doubt about that — in order to see this process move on in the right direction." In the meantime, Jean-Pierre Kingsley, chief of the U.N.-backed International Mission for Iraqi Elections, said that
"the Iraqi elections generally meet international standards." Abu Musab al-Zarqawi makes clear that he is still an enemy of democracy. President Bush will be in Europe in a few weeks.

Discussions - 11 Comments

Well, that’s a good thing that they all support it [for now].

Isn’t the fickleness of the European Nations astounding? Don’t take me wrong, I am glad Europe seems to be supporting it, but I wish they had supported it from the get go.

What we are doing in the Middle East is transformative. Whether they like it or not, the Euros know that Bush and the USA are shaping a new order, and that at some point and in some way they will have to fall in line with it. This is the great historical reality beneath all the day to day grousing and hand-wringing. As they say in the Middle East, "the dogs may bark, but the caravan moves ahead." We need to keep them camels rollin’, be the tone of the barking sour or, as it was today, sweet.

I think they are getting behind the democracy because they all like their own democracies. I don’t think (or hope) that they will ever admit support for the invasion of Iraq.



Please . . . I’m not trying to open a can of worms . . . :-D

Matt:

"I don’t think (or hope) that they will ever admit support for the invasion of Iraq." I know you don’t mean to open a can of worms, but I couldn’t resist.

There is one clear and simple truth: Iraq could not possibly be having free elections right now, if we had not invaded Iraq and kicked Hussein out. The reasons for the war aside, whether or not you agree with them, it had to be done. Liberating a People is a just and true act indeed. If you did not agree with the reasons for the war initially, that’s fine, I won’t argue about that right now. However, even someone such as yourself should (ideally) admit that the war is in itself just. And maybe even good.

Let me just say for the record that I am very glad Europe is supporting the democracy in Iraq, even if they do not support the means by which such a democracy came from.

Matt:

My apologies. I did not see that last post by you. I am glad to see that you support the Iraqi Democracy.

During the lead up to the Iraq War, I commented (here) that the U.S., as usual, will one more embrace our backstabbing French, er, friends. Bush had momentarily stunned the creepy Chirac with the line, "President Chirac, we will not forgive and we will not forget." And even the massive French-led "Oil For Food" scandal notwithstanding, Bush will indeed perform both duties of forgving and forgeting wherein he feels it is in the interest of the country to do so.

Here’s to hoping their ain’t that much self-interest to perform a complete revision of France’s historical role of backstabbing her friends.

To will the end is to will the means. To fail to recognize this or grasp its significance bespeaks a lack of seriousness. I think you are a serious guy, Matt, so c’mon, don’t prove me wrong! The water’s fine!

PJC,



Thanks for the words. But what do you mean by "To will the end is to will the means." I’ve heard the words, but only briefly and not in any kind of context. I understand you don’t mean "The end justifies the means", but it looks similair. Thanks again!

In this context, the expression means that the removal of the Saddam Hussein regime (which given the nature of that regime was only possible by force) is a necessary condition for the amazing display of democratic courage we saw the Iraqis put on this past weekend. The election is a good thing (I take it as given that we all agree on that, and that we can all agree to the usual cautions and qualifications such as "the job’s not done yet," "dangers still lie ahead," etc.). To get to that good thing, the war was necessary--not sufficient (it has taken a lot of other, nonmilitary efforts by the coalition and the Iraqis as well), but necessary. The war was an unfortunate--but necessary--means to a worthy end [the upwelling of human freedom we saw so powerfully in evidence on Sunday]. Hence I supported the war when it began, and support it still even in its grinding "peacekeeping/counterinsurgency" phase.

As I used to tell students back when I had them, if you’re glad America no longer has slavery, go to Antietam or Gettysburg sometime and ponder how that all came about. [Death toll for those two battles--4 days total--equals about 11,000.] There’s a stern but essential lesson on means and ends there.

PJC,



I will admit that a democracy in Iraq (something I view as a very good thing for the Iraqis) would not have been possible, had Saddam been in power. I will not go so far as to say that those good ends justified any means necessary, but I will agree that this end is definitely a good thing for the majority of people in Iraq. Thanks for explaining.

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