November 12, 2006

The Racist Anti-War Movement

National Review senior editor, David Pryce-Jones in The Telegraph - 02/16/03 - The marchers are doing Saddam's work

... Their protests suggest that it is not worth risking anything at all to free Arabs. To risk spilling a single drop of blood to liberate Iraq would be futile - not merely because it would be "destabilising" or "kill children", but because the Arabs have no capacity for "Western" freedom anyway. Behind the demonstrators' slogans lies the assumption that Arabs should be left alone: they don't mind being brutalised, tortured and murdered by a fascist thug like Saddam. Where they come from, it is the natural order of things.

That line of thought is nonsense. More than that - it is racist nonsense. No one knows better than the Arabs the horror of being oppressed. No one knows better than they that tyrannical oppression is all that they will get so long as Saddam and his family are in power. Saddam's despotism is not a denial of "Western" freedom: it's a denial of the freedom that every person needs to be able to live a worthwhile life. To imagine that the Iraqis don't want to be freed, or are not entitled to it, is simply to suppose that they are less human than us. ...

Former CIA director James Woolsey on Nightline - 03/04/03

... There's a word for people who say that democracy can't work in Arab countries, and that word is racist. ...

Sec. of Defense Donald Rumsfeld - 04/11/03

... "Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things," Rumsfeld said. "They're also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that's what's going to happen here."

Looting, he added, was not uncommon for countries that experience significant social upheaval. "Stuff happens," Rumsfeld said. ...

President George W. Bush at a press conference - 05/30/04

... There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren't necessarily -- are a different color than white can self-govern. ...

John Derbyshire in the National Review - 05/05/04 - Lessons from Iraq: Can Arab democracy happen?

... Whatever the barrier is, it makes it awfully difficult for the Arabs to take up a civilized form of government. And there we come to the lesson. Either the Iraqis can break through that barrier, or they can't. If they can, we are of course home and dry, and George W. Bush enters the rolls of history as a world-transforming president.

If they can't, though, then the American people are going to take a lesson from it. The lesson they take will be: "These people are fundamentally different from us. They don't care about the things we care about — liberty, law, constitutionalism, rational economics — and can't be persuaded to. They are different from us in some permanent, unfathomable, intractable way." ...

Jim Forsyth on WOAI - 08/29/2005 - The Racism of the Anti War Movement

... Its sad to see the same attitude repeated today, that its not worth the blood of white Americans like Casey Sheehan to win freedom and democracy for 'those people,' in this case, brown skinned Arab Muslims. ... the simple fact is that today, there is demonstrably more freedom for the people of Iraq and for the people of Afghanistan, some 50 million brown skinned Muslims. ...

Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice at the University of Alabama - 10/21/2005

... It is the case that America and the world have been secure when democracy is on the march; and vulnerable when democracy is in retreat. Now, of course, we hear the same cynical voices again that argued about Latin America and about Asia, about the former Soviet Union and, indeed, about minorities in our own country. They argue that the people of the Middle East, perhaps because of their color or their creed or their culture or even perhaps because of their religion, are somehow incapable of democracy.

They falsely characterize the support of democracy as "exporting" democracy, as if democracy were a product that only America manufactures. These cynics say that we are arrogantly imposing our democratic principles on unwilling peoples. But it is the very height of arrogance to believe that political liberty, and rights for women, and freedom of speech, and the rule of law belong only to us. All people deserve these rights and they choose them freely. It is tyranny, not democracy that has to be forced upon people at gunpoint.

So today, impatient patriots are raising their voices for justice across the Middle East. And whenever they gain opportunities to make truly free choices, they are choosing liberty, not oppression. ...

Ralph Peters in the NY Post - 12/16/05 - Iraq’s Historic Vote: Democracy’s Power

... Which brings us to the second characteristic of the "declare failure" crowd: They don't much like democracy, no matter where it appears. Have any of those obsessed with giving Saddam a fair trial praised Iraq's attempt to build a democracy? Do they really believe that the millions who voted yesterday were better off under a brutal dictatorship? Was Saddam more humane and just than a free election?

Isn't it just plain racist to insist that Iraqis can't build a democracy? Not so long ago, our Democratic Party struggled to deny the vote to millions of Americans. Would today's critics prefer global Jim Crow laws for the billions beyond our shores? ...

Ralph Peters in the NY Post - 11/01/2006 - Iraq's New Secret Police: Military Gov't May Be Best Answer

WE went to Iraq to overthrow a police state. Through a combination of stubbornness, naivete and noble intentions, we've replaced it with another police state - more violent, more corrupt and less accountable. As an Army officer remarked to me, Saddam's starting to look good. ...

Why? Here's where the truth gets still uglier. As dearly as we believe in democracy, Iraq's Arabs are proving that they're incapable of the political, social and moral maturity necessary to run an elected government. ... (h/t Matt Yglesias)

RubDMC - 11/12/06 - Iraq War Grief Daily Witness (photo) Day 422 at the Booman Tribune

An injured Iraqi at the Kindi hospital in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)An injured Iraqi at the Kindi hospital in Baghdad, Iraq, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2006. Police raised the death toll in a suicide bomb attack on a Shiite coffee shop in Baghdad to 21, with 25 injured, while gunmen killed at least one man and wounded four in an attack on a Shiite bakery. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

The Guardian - 11/13/2006 - Huge death toll in day of Iraq violence

Iraqi security forces found 75 dead bodies in Baghdad and Baquba yesterday on a day of violence exceptional even by the country's grim standards.

Twenty-five bullet-riddled and handcuffed bodies were dumped in several parts of the capital. In Baquba, 35 miles to the north-east, 50 bodies were found behind the offices of the provincial electric company. Meanwhile, a suicide bomber walked into a crowd of young men applying to join Baghdad's police commandos and blew himself up, killing at least 35 would-be recruits. Many others suffered injuries which were likely to take their lives, a police official said.

The attack in western Baghdad's Nissur square was one of seven in the Iraqi capital. In the others, explosives were planted at roadsides or in parked cars.

South of the capital, patrols were looking for Sunni gunmen who set up a fake checkpoint and stopped minibuses on the dangerous main road near the volatile town of Latifiya. The gunmen murdered 10 Shia passengers and abducted several others.

Morgue officials in Baghdad announced that around 1,600 bodies were brought in during October, the holy month of Ramadan. The tally is the highest since July, when the toll hit 1,815. Around 85% of the bodies had died violently, mainly men with gunshot wounds. ... The UN, which adds figures from hospital reports to the morgue's statistics, put the monthly civilian toll at over 3,000 this summer. ...

Freedom and democracy has come to Iraq at last, courtesy of the racially egalitarian neoconservative movement. It's messy, but only a racist would have tried to prevent it from happening.

Posted by natasha at November 12, 2006 08:34 PM | Iraq | Technorati links |

There seems to be some confusion about the basis of democracy and a tendency to bring race into the question. There actually are historical lessons. England took a very long time to get there, the USA had their system to build from. France totally blew it first time around, it took quite awhile to get it - they had no background the first time. India got it by fits and starts, pretty quickly - they had an extended experience with English Common Law & existing systems to build from. There are plenty more...

Looking at Iraq from that perspective seems informative. Odd, nobody in this admin seems to have bothered, then Condi is historically challenged...

Besides, what'd democracy have to do with WMD or oil?

Posted by: Chuck Butcher at November 12, 2006 10:52 PM

Yeah, well, we've only had it for like 200 years and a bit here. One of my family names indicates that some of my ancestors were serfs in Britain, fcol. I should clearly be fundamentally incapable of valuing democracy by that estimation. And it isn't like we've had a gender liberation movement or racial civil rights for that long, either. But so very, very quick to point the finger.

Posted by: natasha at November 12, 2006 11:24 PM


Call me a dumb conservative if you will, but I'm not sure what point you're trying to make here.

Either you're being beyond cynical and suggesting that, indeed, Arabs lack the capacity for reasoned government (rule of law, rights for women, respect for minorities, etc.) and as such are not worth spilling American blood... or you're expressing some kind of backhanded admiration for conservatives who were "silly" enough (my scare quotes) to give Arabs the benefit of the doubt.

Care to explain? Thanks.

Posted by: Alois at November 13, 2006 02:21 PM

alois - Sarcasm can indeed be a risky writing strategy. My presumably too subtle points were that 1) plenty of egregiously racist arguments have come from conservative war supporters, 2) the people those conservatives accused of being racists argued all along that a war over there would result in a hell for the Iraqis instead of the promised democracy and maybe it isn't so racist to argue that they'd be better off alive to fight another day.

The results of the neoconservative non-plan for Iraq have been death, destruction and despair. Little electricity, absolute chaos in the streets, the collapse of their economy, devastation of their educational system, de facto forced veiling of the women, as well as the continued flight of professionals and anyone who can afford to get out of the country, which represents a serious depletion of the nation's human capital. Whether the motivation for going to war was racist or not, or the arguments against it were racist or not (and I firmly believe that they were not,) the result for the Iraqis could hardly be much different than if their country was currently being run by an actually genocidal government. The anti-war movement was labeled racist and 'objectively pro-Saddam,' whereas the neoconservatives have become objectively pro-slaughtering Iraqis by the truckloads. Literally, by the truckloads.

This has been a reprehensible war, and reprehensibly and dishonestly defended.

Posted by: natasha at November 13, 2006 03:21 PM