Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Typical Government Elite Nonsense

Before the war, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz told a group of Iraqi Americans that “If we commit [our military] forces, we’re not going to commit them for anything less than a free and democratic Iraq.” Leaving aside the fact that it is not the job of the US military to create "free, democratic" societies around the globe, one has to wonder whether Wolfowitz was really delusional enough to believe that the US government could actually achieve such a task via military intervention. Democratic societies do not form at the barrel of a gun, which is exactly the scenario that Wolfowitz posited in his comment. And unfortunately, "free, democratic" societies do not form simply because a government official wants them to.

In Wolfowitz' world, some do-gooder politician with a big army can go around the world, spreading his gifts of freedom and democracy with lazer-guided bombs and cruise missiles. Maybe depleted uranium, has other effects on people aside from causing cancer, such as sparking development of cultural norms essential to a free, democratic society. Maybe it makes people respect the individual rights of other people, and the rights of minorities. Perhaps the sight of military armor allows trust to grow between various sections of societies. Or, then again, maybe it cannot be done after all, and this is just another attempt by the government to work a miracle that is doomed to failure.

Much like many on the left believe that they can use government power and coercion to eliminate the ills of society, such as poverty and prejudice, there are those on the other side who believe that they can use that same power to create free, democratic societies in any part of the world that they please. Both sides have no qualms with using force to shape people into whatever type of society they desire. The speak as if the rest of us are just pawns in a large game that they play with others with similar power.

But, for good or for worse, people are not as malleable as the government elites would like to believe. Many in our government are currently learning this lesson in Iraq, as resistance to the imposition of "democracy" continues with little end in sight. Will they take the lesson for what it is and come to grips with the fact that they cannot create a free, democratic nation at gunpoint?

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