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August 21, 2005

Iraqi "freedom"

Another great post from Digby:

I got an e-mail from someone I respect asking me why I made such a big deal out of women's rights being denied when there are so many other freedoms at stake. It's a legitimate question I suppose, but I think the question answers itself. The fact is that under Saddam, in their everyday lives, one half of the population had more real, tangible freedom than they have now and that they will have under some form of Shar'ia. The sheer numbers of people whose freedom are affected make it the most glaring and tragic symbol of our failed "noble cause."

Iraqi women have enjoyed secular, western-style equality for more than 40 years. Most females have no memory of living any other way. In order to meet an arbitrary deadline for domestic political reasons, we have capitulated to theocrats on the single most important constitutional issue facing the average Iraqi woman --- which means that we have now officially failed more than half of the Iraqis we supposedly came to help. We have "liberated" millions of people from rights they have had all their lives. [Read it all, now!]

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» George Bush: Promoting Democracy Theocracy at home and abroad from RelentlesslyOptimistic
We've seen the reasons for the Iraqi war change repeatedly over time, as WMD's, terrorist flypaper and violent extremism all took center stage for a time. Now the Iraqi's are about to approve a constitution that includes the recognition [Read More]

Comments

"In the year 1900, for example, in the United States, it was a democracy then. In 1900, women did not have the right to vote. If Iraqis could develop a democracy that resembled America in the 1900s, I think we'd all be thrilled. I mean, women's social rights are not critical to the evolution of democracy."

- Reuel Marc Gerecht, former Middle Eastern specialist with the CIA, author of "The Islamic Paradox."

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8926876/

While agreeing with the conclusion, I just think that's the wrong argument to make. We don't want the debate to be about whether conditions are better than they were under Saddam, when they were horrible. The reason to support women's rights, to the extent that we possibly can ultimately influence what the Iraqis do, is because women deserve rights! The fact that Saddam's regime didn't have Shari'a is a good argument that Islamic countries can get along without out it, but the "step backward" argument gives the naysayers too much ammunition.

Sean, no debate is necessary. The fact is that conditions in Iraq are now, in August 2005, considerably worse than they were under Saddam Hussein in February 2003. Furthermore, in February 2003, some percentage of those living in Iraq had some reason to believe that even should the US attack their country, conditions would improve. Now, that expectation has been brutally and thoroughly squashed.

As for your suggestion that the way to argue about women's rights is to say that women deserve rights: This is precisely the sort of argument that Bush and his gang have been using to argue for ramming the gift of democracy down the Iraqis' throats.

The implementation of shari'ah does not do away with women's rights, but it most certainly will do away with the possibility of a secular society which would not subjugate the definitions of family, husband, wife, and citizen to that of faithful follower of the state religion.

There have been and are a number of Islamic states that have functioned and continue to function without shari'ah. Indeed, pre-Hussein Iraq under all of its kings and dictators was, I believe, without shari'ah. For that matter, Iran under Mossadegh was a secular state. I find the point of your final comment vis-a-vis Hussein and shari'ah opaque, in any event, given the actual way Hussein's justice system operated.

Turkey has problems much like our own (brutal prisons, problems with dissenters, a fetishization of the military, rampant homophobia, sexism) but it has all those, as we do here in the States, with a completely secular and pluralistic government. Fiercely secular, in fact, from its inception as an independent nation, with women's right to vote part of Mustafa Kemal's campaign to Westernize the country. (Again, deja vu...)

Bush's new foreign policy thrust: "Spead Democracy - Men only." Especially ironic for the female troops who have lost their lives in Iraq.

hey Americans including Lindsay
i see you hate your own president more than such dictators like Saddam - congratulations!
greetings from Europe

"we have capitulated to theocrats"

Actually its not we who have capitulated... its the Iraqis. It is their country and while it is tragic that they have decided to deny women their rights that they had under Saddam... that is their choice.

Now lets get the troops home and let them have their civil war with out us.

Alas cooldown...

We do hate George Bush, although it is uncertain whether we hate him more that Saddam. But what is certain is that we hate people like you more that stupid little sycophant of a President that we have!

"In the year 1900, for example, in the United States, it was a democracy then. In 1900, women did not have the right to vote."

In 1900, women could vote in at least four states: Wyoming (where they had the right to vote starting in 1869), Idaho, Colorado and Utah.

What women did not have was a nationally recognized right to vote.

Any American this ignorant of American history shouldn't be claiming to be an expert about the history of other countries.

"Why make such a big deal about women's rights?" Is he INSANE? Hello, because we're every bit as human as men!

Legit question? Come on! Can this be really happening?

After all, why make such a big deal out of men's rights?

Unfucking believeable.

very interesting Flint, i wonder is there any person in the world whom you don't hate - hate is hardly a good guide in life :)
Anyway, it would be very instructive for you to spend a part of your life under a dictator's rule. Then quickly you would see the difference between murderous despots and your (not very smart)"little sycophant".

Bush IS a murderous despot. And a liar, etc. And it's possible to hate both Bush and Saddam.

Alas indeed.

cooldown--

First, criticism of Bush doesn't imply that a person hates Bush more than Hussein. In fact, it doesn't imply hatred for anyone.

Second, those Americans who do hate Bush, or are angry with Bush, naturally feel these emotions more keenly than they feel hatred or anger toward most foreign leaders. Neither Hussein nor Kim Jong-il weakened environmental protections or civil rights protections. The Ayatollah Khamenei did not steal the 2000 election, and did not recklessly and needlessly push our country into a war in Iraq. President Assad did not accuse the president's critics of being cowardly, unpatriotic, or soft-headed. Bin Laden, of course, is hated almost universally in the U.S., because he, unlike Hussein, actually murdered thousands of Americans.

Finally, I should point out that there are a whole lot of people in Iraq who DID live under Hussein's dictatorship, but hate Bush more than Hussein. The fact is, life for most people in Iraq has gotten worse since the invasion.

You imply that it's all too easy to smugly criticize Bush for invading Iraq, because we Americans didn't have to suffer under Hussein. I reply that it's all too easy for you to smugly criticize Americans, because you don't have to live under Bush, and you don't have to live in the dystopia he's created in Iraq.

Some historical corrections:

Bush did not murder any Americans. Islamic fundamentalists did. Nor did Bush steal the 2000 election, any more than JFK stole the 1960 election. Bush never himself accused anyone opposed to the war of being unpatriotic and in fact has said the contrary. Bush has made mistakes in the Iraq war, but nowhere near as bad as the ones other Presidents made in the beginning of their wars and so Bush could still pull this one out.

Roosevelt, for example, bumbled and lost an expeditionary force either captured or killed that was the size of several army divisions presently in Iraq - there was 100,000 in the Phillipines, the early disaster in North Africa (the British saved us from certain destruction), and the horrific use of daylight bombing without escort fighters. And yet, HE still won.

But, the bottom line is, Roosevelt did not murder our soldiers in the Phillipines, even though he erred in their use, the Japanese murdered them. You can be pissed off at a President for not using troops correctly, or being in a war at all in which case mistakes with armies will be made, but it is not accurate to call a President a murderer because the enemy is the one that did the killing.

hope you are joking gordo especially when saying (quotation)"Neither Hussein nor Kim Jong-il weakened environmental protections or civil rights protections." That's really a good joke, you have to have a lot of (ideological) imagination to say this.

if you are not joking, well, then it's sad - at least now it is easier for me to understand the fact that even Stalin had supporters in the West.

i suggest you leave the US and emigrate to North Korea or something. Some suprises are waiting for you there. Or at least take some history classes about totalitarian regimes. i see you know nothing about them. i don't have much time to lecture about it. I could tell you about what's happening when totalitarian regimes collapse: after euphoria it might get tough, you have to deal with initial mess in the country, oh yes, people start whining, they say 'well, at least we had some security blah blah blah', people tend to forget bad things but in the end they would admit that some mess in initial stages to freedom is difficult to avoid, etc etc. Transition is ALWAYS difficult.

By the way, i am not an ardent supporter of Iraqi war. This was very controversial, to say the least. But the fact remains that you are blind when you are talking about totalitarian regimes.

one more thing: I have spent some time in America "under Bush". I can tell you that in general you live in a free society (well, in every country there are some controversial stuff like American "no open (beer) bottles in vehicles" :)). Anyway, I can assure you "under Bush" is NOTHING to compare with totalitarian despotic regimes. By the way, you described your President in very nice words. I you did that in hope you are joking gordo especially when saying (quotation)"Neither Hussein nor Kim Jong-il weakened environmental protections or civil rights protections." That's really a good joke, you have to have a lot of (ideological) imagination to say this.

if you are not joking, well, then it's sad - at least now it is easier for me to understand the fact that even Stalin had supporters in the West.

i suggest you leave the US and emigrate to North Korea or something. Some suprises are waiting for you there. Or at least take some history classes about totalitarian regimes. i see you know nothing about them. i don't have much time to lecture about it. I could tell you about what's happening when totalitarian regimes collapse: after euphoria it might get tough, you have to deal with initial mess in the country, oh yes, people start whining, they say 'well, at least we had some security blah blah blah', people tend to forget bad things but in the end they would admit that some mess in initial stages to freedom is difficult to avoid, etc etc. Transition is ALWAYS difficult.

By the way, i am not an ardent supporter of Iraqi war. This was very controversial, to say the least. Besides, it is not clear who will take the power in Iraq, etc. But the fact remains that you are blind when you are talking about totalitarian regimes.

one more thing: I have spent some time in America "under Bush". I can tell you that in general you live in a free society (well, in every country there are some controversial stuff like American "no open (beer) bottles in vehicles" :)). Anyway, I can assure you "under Bush" is NOTHING to compare with totalitarian despotic regimes. By the way, you described your President in very nice words. If you used such words (like "sycophant") about the ruler in totalitarian society, you would go to jail at best; i won't tell you what would happen to you at worst.

sorry for a double copy of my post
have a nice day :)

Don't be specious. If you push someone into the street for no good reason, you're a murderer if they die, even if somebody else's car runs them over. The driver might also be a murderer if he intends to run your victim over.

Oh cooldown, nobody is saying that Kim Jong Il is a better leader than Bush or in fact even Saddam is better than Bush. What they are saying is that they do not like Bush to lead our country, which they are perfectly entitled to feel.

Asking your fellow countrymen to leave the United States because they do not like your choice of president is flat out undemocratic. If we are fighting a war to bring Democracy to Iraq, remember, let's have some of that Democracy at home.

You are comparing apples to oranges again. Pushing someone out into the street is an immediate, personal act. As is shooting someone.

Where would your logic end? Statistically, poverty causes higher crime, including murder. In neighborhoods where a US car manufacturer closes a plant, poverty tends to rise. So, does that mean that everyone who drives a Japanese car is a murderer?

Or, an arab in the street might read the American press and American blogs and be filled with happy resolve because Americans are not sure about the war. So therefor he redoubles his effort to kill American soldiers. Does that make the writer of the article a murderer?

I think it's time to stop labelling everyone traitors and murderers for elliptical reasons. People that kills Americans are the murderers, not the people that drive japanese cars or even take over another country.

If there is anyone that Bush has murdered, it's the Arabs, and I generally don't have a problem with that.

Arabs === meaning, Islamic militants. In cases where we are killing innocent people, well, that's on Bush's soul. He better had pray a lot that God counts human life as 100 saved versus 5 lost, in accounting, or Bush is screwed.

All I'm saying is that if you force someone into a situation knowing that they will be wrongfully killed, you're as much of a murderer as if you killed them directly. It's perfectly fair to say that a commander in chief who connives to force his soldiers into an illegitimate engagement by undemocratic means is a murderer--he's directing his troops to murder the enemy*, and he's forcing them into a situation in which he knows they will be wrongfully killed.

*The troops aren't murderers because they are committed to following the orders of the president and they have sufficient reason to believe that the presdient is issuing legitimate orders from duly constituted authority. (Obviously, "following orders" doesn't excuse all wrongful killing, but it certainly absolves our rank and file troops from charges of murder in Iraq, provided they're sticking to the rules of engagement, etc.)

Stork,

'People that kills Americans are the murderers'

Well excuse the rest of us for bloody existing.

'If there is anyone that Bush has murdered, it's the Arabs, and I generally don't have a problem with that.'

You really need to calm down.

I guess I'm used to murder as a legal term. By that standard, the last word on whether Bush is a murderer is the Senate's; and we know what they'd say.

Besides the legal term, I can probably tolerate anyone's definition as long as it's clear.

I'll call him a mass killer of innocents.

Stork, you are very nice when saying "nobody is saying that Kim Jong Il is a better leader than Bush or in fact even Saddam is better than Bush." well, I'm reading the comments, it's amazing but looks like you are wrong stork, Bush is to blame for everything, you see "Kim Jong-il did not weaken civil rights protections" etc. etc. i couldn't believe my eyes when i first saw it, besides, all this is written in the website with the subtitle "Analytic philosophy and liberal politics" - i was so shocked that even decided to jump out of the window but then changed my mind (don't worry i live on the first floor :))
Now i have at least a paradigmatic example how ideological spectacles can distort vision. One might have fundamental disagreements with Bush and Co. (ridiculous creationists etc.) but what i hear in comments is gross distortion of reality.

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