Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local Stories, Events
Health Care & Environment

09.18 'Terrifying' New Climate Models Warn of 6-7°C of Warming by 2100 If Emissions Not Slashed

09.17 New Report Details 10 'Critical Transitions' to Tackle the Climate Crisis and Feed the World

09.16 Common pesticide makes migrating birds anorexic [Neonicotinoids, again...]

09.16 ACT plans far-reaching electrification of vehicles and homes in drive to reduce emissions

09.16 'Like a sunburn on your lungs': how does the climate crisis impact health? [Important]

09.16 $1m a minute: the farming subsidies destroying the world [Important]

09.15 German Study: Alarming Levels of Dangerous Plastics in Children's Bodies

09.15 Sea levels may rise more rapidly due to Greenland ice melt

09.15 The world has a third pole – and it's melting quickly

09.14 Not Just the Bees, First-of-Its-Kind Study Shows Neonics May Be Killing Birds Too [A GESTALT: Like happened at Boeing, deregulation has displaced scientific and engineering professionalism in many companies and governments to focus on profits/economics almost exclusively. But after similar failure of scientific rigor, die-off reports of bees, worms and sea-life, generally, there must be a moritorium on production, sale and use of all potentially dangerous chemicals!]

09.13 Trump Rollback of Key EPA Water Protection Rule Denounced as 'Callous' and 'Immoral' Giveaway to Big Polluters

09.13 Worms fail to thrive in soil containing microplastics – study

09.13 Dolphins in Channel carry 'toxic cocktail' of chemicals [What is safe to eat?]

09.11 How Can We Address Climate Change Through Agriculture? [3:43 video]

09.11 New solar tech could revolutionise electricity production

09.11 'It can kill you in seconds': the deadly algae on Brittany's beaches

09.10 How to look after your mental health

09.10 Who’s Ready for the Electric Moped Moment? [Uses car lanes instead of sidewalks!]

09.09 The Climate Investment That Promises 400 Percent Returns

09.09 Suicide rates are rising across the US, especially in rural areas

09.08 Blend solar panels with agriculture, new study recommends

09.08 Before Hurricane Dorian, Charleston Already Had a Flooding Crisis

News Media Matters

09.16 From Voice of America to NPR: New CEO Lansing's Glass House

09.15 'No Policy, No Facts, Just Displays of Violence': Ocasio-Cortez Says Hysterical Ad Proves GOP Has No Response to Progressive Vision [0:30 video]

09.14 Sanders Campaign Hits Back Against 'Dishonest' Biden Attack on Medicare for All [The facts don't lie, but America's media totally does lie when paid by advertisers to distort single-payer as more expensive: 1:35 video]

09.12 Media bias is OK – if it's honest [‘It should be obvious that there can’t be such a thing as a neutral journalist.’]

Daily: FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'

09.18 Why Trump Can’t Learn: An Educated Guess by a Veteran Teacher [Might dyslexia explain the Republican party, generally?]

09.18 'Heartless and Unconscionable': Outrage as General Motors Cuts Off Healthcare for 50,000 Striking Workers [Hideous corporate behavior putting 50,000 families at greater health and bankruptcy risk.]

09.18 Whole Foods Will Cut Health-Care Benefits for Nearly 2,000 Employees [Hideous corporate behavior putting 2,000 families at greater health and bankruptcy risk.]

09.18 US healthcare is booming. So why do one in five workers live in poverty?

09.18 Greta Thunberg to Congress: ‘You’re not trying hard enough. Sorry’

09.17 'The silenced': meet the climate whistleblowers muzzled by Trump

09.17 Democrats have long blamed 'culture' for black poverty. Joe Biden is no exception

09.17 The Guardian view on the future of work: share out the benefits

09.16 America is stuck with Brett Kavanaugh

09.16 Sanders Responds to Biden's Praise for Pharma Companies: 'Their Behavior Is Literally Killing People Every Day'

09.15 'Americans are waking up': two thirds say climate crisis must be addressed

09.15 The Plutocratic War on People: Centrists and Conservatives are Ignoring the Giant Elephant in Our National Living Room

09.14 The U.S. Health-Care System Found a Way to Make Peanuts Cost $4,200

09.14 California church leaders 'used homeless as forced labour' [A coarsening of public behavior...]

09.14 Taco Bell customer who was treating homeless group to meals says she was kicked out of restaurant [A coarsening of public behavior...]

09.14 We Asked Prosecutors if Health Insurance Companies Care About Fraud. They Laughed at Us.

09.14 Elizabeth Warren’s Health Care Plan Still Leaves a Lot of Unanswered Questions

09.14 Medicare for All Would Cut Poverty by Over 20 Percent

Justice Matters

09.14 NY AG uncovers $1 billion in Sackler family wire transfers amid opioid probe: report

09.12 'Decades of Progress Are at Stake' as Trump Reaches 150 Lifetime Judicial Appointments and Right-Wing Court Takeover Accelerates

09.12 JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR ISSUES SCATHING DISSENT TO SUPREME COURT'S ASYLUM RULE DECISION: THE STAKES 'COULD NOT BE HIGHER'

09.11 Former top FEMA officials arrested on fraud charges in Puerto Rico

09.09 The great break-up of Big Tech is finally beginning [Facebook and Google effectuate the evil of data analytics]

High Crimes vs. Human Rights
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism

09.12 The insidious ideology pushing us towards a Brexit cliff-edge

09.12 Boeing's travails show what's wrong with modern capitalism

International & Futurism

09.18 If the world ran on sun, it wouldn’t fight over oil [1:45 video]

09.17 ONLY A GREEN NEW DEAL CAN DOUSE THE FIRES OF ECO-FASCISM

09.17 The Guardian view on Modi’s 100 days: trashing lives and the constitution

09.17 The Observer view on the threat posed to Israel by another Benjamin Netanyahu victory

09.17 For Palestinians, Israel’s elections promise nothing but defeat

09.17 I now look back on my 20 years of climate activism as a colossal failure

09.17 The world ignored the warning signs – and now the Middle East is on the brink

09.16 EXCLUSIVE: Iranian drones launched from Iraq carried out attacks on Saudi oil plants

09.16 'We walk with our heads high': the women who care for country by fighting fire with fire

09.16 Inheritance tax would be scrapped by the Brexit party – good news for the very rich

09.16 Tunisian exit polls suggest shock victory for political outsiders

Google
This site Web
  The Missing Democratic Peace: Bush's Latest Explanation for the War in Iraq

COMMENTARY:

The Missing Democratic Peace: Bush’s Latest Explanation for the War in Iraq

by John Hickman
All but the dimmest of knee-jerk patriots will eventually realize that Bush’s dumbed-down explanation doesn’t account for the sectarian civil war developing in Iraq.
A safe venue was selected by the White House for President George W. Bush to deliver the latest version of his explanation for the War in Iraq on April 6: Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, North Carolina. A more prestigious institution of higher education might have been chosen, but Bush suffers from an unusually low tolerance threshold for direct expressions of disagreement, whether from officials in his own administration or anti-war protesters. The soft-ball questions from the audience at the end of the speech confirm that CCPC was a relatively risk-free choice.

What did Bush have to tell the nation about the sacrifices it is making in Iraq? The bulk of the speech consisted of cut-and-paste phrases and sentences from previous speeches about the war. Public memories of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and Saddam Hussein’s use of chemical weapons were evoked as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were fused into a single conflict. There was an admission that intelligence mistakes were made—seemingly by everyone except officials in the second Bush White House—but the decision to invade Iraq was justifiable because Saddam Hussein had committed evil. Japan was held up as an example of successful occupation democratization and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi held up as the model of the pro-American leader, a veritable “anti-Saddam Hussein.” Bush even dragged the "sunk costs" fallacy back from the rhetorical grave by asking “what would it say” to American troops and their families, “if we left before the mission was complete?”

Despite the predictably extensive self-plagiarism, Bush’s speech is different in two ways. First, Bush didn’t offer his usual rambling list of the various sorts of Iraqi insurgents. Indeed he did not even refer to them as insurgents. His list of Iraqi usual suspects—“Saddamists,” “al-Qaeda types,” “rejectionists,” “foreign fighters” etc.—has been replaced by a monolithic opponent designated generically as the “enemy.” Bush referred once to “thugs and assassins” and another time to a “totalitarian group of folks,” surely the silliest combination of the folksy and the threatening ever to come out of the mouth of a U.S. President, but he repeated the word “enemy” 18 times. Question: Who are we fighting in Iraq? Answer: We are fighting the enemy. Any further simplification of the political message would be difficult to imagine.

The second difference in the explanation is that the "Democratic Peace" justification for the war has almost disappeared from the narrative. The word “democracy” still appears 27 times in the text, but there is barely a trace of the argument that a world of democratic states will be a peaceful world. The idea that the example of democracy in Iraq will cause democracy to spread across the Middle East is missing altogether. Instead, Iraqi democracy by itself is treated as something worthy of American sacrifices. That claim would have been more plausible if his administration had not eliminated all four democracy promotion programs in Iraq in the 2007 budget and shifted those monies to security training.

Simplifying Bush's political message any further would require grunts and hand gestures.

The reasons for abandoning the Democratic Peace as a justification for the war are not hard to guess. Iraqi democracy looks more like the dysfunctional prelude to civil war than the solution to any people’s problems and the rest of the Middle East is hardly experiencing a wave of democratization. The only truly consolidated democracy in the region is Israel, which is also its most bellicose state. Democratic elections in Palestine brought Hamas to power. The relationship between democratic Israel and democratic Palestine is hardly an advertisement for the Democratic Peace. From the perspective of the White House, however, the best reason for abandoning the Democratic Peace as justification for the war is too complicated an idea for many of the remaining supporters of the War in Iraq. Theoretical abstraction like that is too much to expect of a population demographic only now coming to terms with the facts that Saddam Hussein didn’t order the September 11, 2001 attacks and didn’t possess any weapons of mass destruction prior to the U.S. invasion. Here again the political message is reduced to its simplest possible elements. Question: Why are we fighting in Iraq? Answer: We are fighting for democracy. Simplifying the message any further would require grunts and hand gestures.

The problem inherent in such a radical simplification of the political message is that while it may slow, it cannot stop the erosion of American public support for the War in Iraq. All but the dimmest of knee-jerk patriots will eventually realize that Bush’s dumbed-down explanation doesn’t account for the sectarian civil war developing in Iraq. In the end even those Americans who can’t bring themselves to question the original decision to invade Iraq are unlikely to accept the pointless death and maiming of more U.S. soldiers without a reasonable chance of establishing a pro-American government capable of defending itself and maintaining order.


John Hickman is associate professor of comparative politics at Berry College in Rome, Georgia. His published work on electoral politics, media, and international affairs has appeared in Asian Perspective, American Politics Research, Comparative State Politics, Contemporary South Asia, Contemporary Strategy, Current Politics and Economics of Asia, East European Quarterly, Journal of Southern Europe and the Balkans, Jouvert, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Political Science, Review of Religious Research, Women & Politics, and Yamanashigakuin Law Review. He may be reached at jhickman@berry.edu.

NOTES: See Peter Baker's story, “Democracy In Iraq Not A Priority In U.S. Budget,” The Washington Post. April 5, 2006.

According to Princeton University’s Joanne Gowa, a "Democratic Peace" held only during the Cold War decades and existed neither before nor after that period. Source: Joanne Gowa. 1999. Ballots and Bullets: The Elusive Democratic Peace, Princeton University Press.


Copyright © 2006 The Baltimore Chronicle. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on April 10, 2006.

 

Public Service Ads: