Democracy Through Cotton Wool

Oh boy. What a match! Last night was seriously the best batting display I have ever witnessed. Unfortunately, due to staying up to some ungodly hour to watch the awesome display that was the Cricket World Cup final, my brain feels like it is fully surrounded in the fluffy white stuff and will not, under any circumstances, be tempted out from hiding. As a result this post may end up reading at a level of sophistication somewhere close to that of your average kindergarten narrative. Not that this is always a bad thing. Poo poo.

While you are here I would like to direct your valuable thoughts towards an article of merit that I happened upon in Thursday’s edition ofThe Newcastle Herald. In particular, Jeff Corbett’s often polemic editorial attracted my attention as it addressed a point of view which I had myself been churning around in my brain; possibly somewhere close to my lower cerebellum. In his editorial, Corbett discusses an interesting viewpoint towards the efforts of the “Coalition of the Willing” to liberate the people of Iraq and install that pinnacle of Western institutions: the democracy. Basically the premise of the editorial is about whether it is worthwhile for an external power to come in and effectively give the Iraqi’s a democratic government. Surely something given has no value. He argues that if the Iraqi’s are so oppressed and mistreated there would have been some sort of uprising or gradual force evolve in that country which would usurp Saddam and implement a system of government more to the benefit of the common people. Corbett also does not understand why his sons (metaphorical I assume) should risk their lives to provide an alien society with the governing system that we enjoy in our own country.

While Corbett looks at the issue from the selfish view point of personal sacrifice (I use the term selfish here in a neutral, non-emotive way) I tend to look at it more from a longevity and value angle. If Western powers install a democracy in a country whose constituents have not had to fight for it (although undoubtedly they will have paid a heavy but passive toll) what is to stop them from installing a new government just as insidious as the last? Or having another dictator emerge? Will the Iraqi people genuinely appreciate a system of government provided by the blood of soldiers from a foreign, fundamentally different society? These are questions for which I have no answers and I realise that I have taken a hopelessly narrow view of an incredibly volatile and complex situation; I am also the first to admit that my political knowledge in general is very limited. However I feel that these are questions which deserve to be considered, lest the inevitable death toll at the end of this insane conflict result in a situation which is no better than the one which preceded it.

My opinions concerning the current war have ebbed and flowed from the shoals of opposition to the high water mark of agreement. In the end I have decided that the world would most certainly be a better place without Saddam; a popular view I am sure despite all of the anti-war protests occurring lately. What I am not so certain about, however, is the manner in which this is being attempted. Do not ask me how it should be done though; in this regard I am overwhelmingly naive.

I just hope that those who are in positions of power are not like me.