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February 18, 2003

Democracy in Iraq-- It was Nice Rhetoric

Well, once Turkey got their promise of no Kurdish voice in a post-invasion world, that did kind of imply that democracy in Iraq was out of the question, since a democratic country might grant Kurdish independence to the North -- while possibly allying the Shia south to Iran.

An all-around inconvenient result in any case, but now that the Kurds have been sold out, a complete non-starter.

Which Tony Blair has now confirmed as any promise of democracy in Iraq post-invasion is off-the-table as this report in The Guardian shows:

Tony Blair today refused to specify what sort of regime might follow Saddam Hussein's in Iraq - despite making the "moral case" for overthrowing the Iraqi dictator by military action.

The prime minister avoided committing to a democratic regime at least three times under questioning from reporters at today's monthly press conference...

The prime minister did repeat his line that the "territorial integrity of Iraq" would remain, but specifically refused to answer a question from a journalist on the presence of 40,000 Turkish troops in northern Iraq, saying that was a matter for governments.

Asked if Britain would support breakaway elements which wanted to create a Kurdish state in what is now northern Iraq or a Shi'ite Islamic state in the south, Mr Blair insisted that his commitment to Iraq's territorial integrity was "absolute".

And where did that "territorial integrity" come from? Oh yeah, from Britain slicing up the "territorial integrity" of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, handing off bits and pieces of Kurdish territory to what became modern Turkey and Iraq, slicing off Kuwait to create a British-controlled oilwell, and generally dividing peoples throughout the region.

Christopher Hitchens has a masterful essay in this month's Atlantic (not yet on their web site) on the role of partition of the world by Britain in breeding war and conflict, noting that 90% of "hot spots" in the world are based on some ignorant Lord in Britain waving his hand on a map to artifically divide families from one another: Northern Ireland, Indian-Pakistan, Pushtun divisions between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Kuwait and Iraq, and of course Israel and Palestine.

So hearing Tony Blair, the modern day inheritor of British imperialism, suddenly become the defender of "territorial integrity", democracy be damned, just adds to the horrors of the warhawk drive. Even Hitchens has admitted that the largest drawback to the war is the lack of integrity and moral standing of those driving it.

But the most recent selling out of the Kurds and abandonment of democracy for Iraqis has emptied it of even the sliver of moral standing the warhawks might have had.

Posted by Nathan at February 18, 2003 10:15 AM

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