October 17, 2007

More Ground-Up Reconciliation

As the Maliki government continues its slow pace towards legislative reform, the US has increased its efforts to bring reconciliation to Iraq, and has met with some quiet but significant success. Evolving from the surge strategy and counterinsurgency tactics of General David Petraeus, the Sunnis and Shi'ites have begun reaching out to each other as the violence continues to ebb:

Aboard the 70-mile flight from Baghdad to Ramadi was a top Pentagon envoy and a leader of Iraq's biggest Shiite political party. They were paying a visit to Sunni sheiks who have joined the U.S. battle against extremists.

The meeting Sunday was part of budding contacts between Iraq's rival Muslim groups that has shown promise where the nation's political leadership has stalled: trying to find common ground among Shiites and Sunnis.

The exchanges — which have bypassed the stumbling government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — are supported by Washington as part its evolving strategies to tap the influence of religious authorities and tribal chiefs.

The AP now reports that Shi'ite political leaders have begun extending contacts to Sunni tribal sheiks that have rejected al-Qaeda in Iraq. In reverse, some Sunni leaders now want to visit Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in order to gain his confidence in building political ties to moderate Shi'ites. Both sides now understand the need to build up moderate alliances in order to keep the extremists marginalized.

Two important steps have already taken place. The son of the most powerful Shi'ite leader, Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim, traveled to Anbar to meet with the Sunnis there. Sunni Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi has already met with Sistani this month in Najaf, virtually a no-go area for Sunnis before now, to get his support for political reforms Hashemi proposed last month. Such visits would have been unthinkable even three months ago. With momentum shifting towards peace and normality in Anbar, however, all sides have a stake in ensuring that peace and normality succeed.

This shows the flexibility of the official US approach. Nouri al-Maliki may seem weak from the perspective of American interests, but no one in Iraqi politics can unseat him at the moment. He has shifted away from using the support of extremists as a result of the surge and has begun building a coalition of comparative moderates, quarterbacking alliances between the Kurds and Shi'ites and reaching out to the Sunnis. The Bush administration has encouraged this but clearly has not put all of its eggs in Maliki's basket, hoping to use a broad effort to create a large Anbar Awakening-style movement.

So far, they appear to have met with more success. As Iraqis of all factions get used to peace, they will all have more stake in its continuance.


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Comments (26)

Posted by dougf | October 17, 2007 5:18 PM

Hakim the Younger is IMO likely to emerge as one of the true Power Players in Iraq. We hear a lot about the supposed influence of the Mehdi Army but we forget that the Badr 'militia' has been quietly installing itself in many of the Iraqi Security Organizations.

Hakim is hardly without the ability to defend himself should he ever feel the need and he is vastly more 'subtle' and 'intelligent' that Al-Sadr who I think is on the downhill path.

That he would go to Ramadi WITH the Americans on an American helicopter also IMO speaks clearly about the 'moderateness' of Hakim's likely approach. Mookie would rather boil in Oil(or at least have some subordinate do the boiling) before getting on a copter with the 'infidels'.

More 'good' news.

Keep it coming. I said a while ago that it would be effectively 'over' by June of 2008. I still have all my fingers and toes crossed. And that really does make it very hard to type, so I do hope the Iraqis keep on keeping on.

Posted by Mwalimu Daudi | October 17, 2007 6:09 PM

Let the Kool-Aid Krowd freak, fret and fulminate, but it's time to say it - Bush was right about Iraq and they were wrong!

Meanwhile, the US Congress continues to fail to meet the benchmarks set by al Qaeda.

Posted by Frank | October 17, 2007 6:57 PM

ALL of the constitutional democracies in existence today started with the development of private property rights and free markets under non-democratic rulers.

There are NO exceptions.

That includes post-war Japan, Germany and Korea.

Japan, Germany and Korea had long histories of constitutional development dating back to the mid-1800s or earlier.

They were only briefly taken over by totalitarian regimes in the 1930s.

We liberated those societies in much the same way we liberated France. We did not create their societies for them.

They are NOT models for Iraq.

ALL of the countries (between 50 and 60) that have held elections without long-standing traditions in private property rights and free markets have produced authoritarian dictatorial regimes or chaos in every case.

There are NO exceptions.

ALL of the constitutional democracies in existence today were formed by the indigenous society over 100s of years -- not by the United States military.

There are NO exceptions.

Thank you and goodnight.

Posted by crossdotcurve | October 17, 2007 7:06 PM

Ah, CQ. Drinking the kool-aid until every last drop...


That would be red kool-aid btw. Four years of supporting Rummy at this URL! That's a lot of blood on your hands.

But hey, what do these soldiers know? A call-center operator from Minnesota knows the straight skinny...

Posted by Ray in Mpls | October 17, 2007 7:19 PM


We're not "creating a society" in Iraq via the US military. We are simply providing the tools, materials, and training necessary for the Iraqi people to create their own government and their own constitution and to provide for their own protection. They have done this, and are continuing to do this, with our help and are not being forced to abide by military dictates and demands. Our forces are not imposing democracy in Iraq through military might, we are providing military assistance to the Iraqi government and their newly created Constitution. We are assisting them and not forcing them, just like we did with Japan and most of Europe after WWII.

Posted by chaos | October 17, 2007 7:29 PM

ALL of the constitutional democracies in existence today started with the development of private property rights and free markets under non-democratic rulers.

There are NO exceptions.

That's nice.

Japan, Germany and Korea had long histories of constitutional development dating back to the mid-1800s or earlier.

You must be joking. South Korea had no long history of constitutional development prior to 1945. They didn't have much of one after 1945 either, come to that.

What they did have was 4 decades of the free-market before 1986.

Germany and Japan were not briefly taken over by totalitarian regimes in the 1930s; Japan's politics were controlled from behind the scenes by an amorphous military junta from the late 19th century to 1945. Germany was openly controlled by the Junkers from 1848 to 1918 and the Weimar Republic can hardly be considered anything more than a bit of camouflage to keep the Western democracies fooled into thinking that German militarism was beaten for good. Weimar actively encouraged the kind of right-wing militias that eventually bore the Nazi Party.

We liberated those societies in much the same way we liberated France. We did not create their societies for them.

Actually, we did. Not their societies as a whole, but certainly their political frameworks. The post-war Japanese and West German governments were not the creations of a natural progression of political evolution in those countries; their structure was largely imposed by the victors in the war, particularly in Japan.

They are NOT models for Iraq.

No, they are not. Which is why we aren't trying to make Iraq into West Germany or Japan circa 1955.

ALL of the countries (between 50 and 60) that have held elections without long-standing traditions in private property rights and free markets have produced authoritarian dictatorial regimes or chaos in every case.

Neither Germany nor Japan nor South Korea for that matter had anything remotely like long-standing traditions in private property rights or the free market. Germany was better off in Japan in those respects, but you make it sound as if the free market and private property rights had been long-entrenched traditions in both nations. They were not. Germany, which I'm more familiar with, basically had a fascist economy from its formation to 1945. The government set goals and private industries could meet them or the government would appropriate their property and employees and capital and then meet the goals, and maybe, if the industry owners were lucky, they would get back control over their factories and workers when the goal was met.

There are NO exceptions.

That's nice.

ALL of the constitutional democracies in existence today were formed by the indigenous society over 100s of years -- not by the United States military.

All of the constitutional democracies in existence today were formed by the natural processes of indigenous political evolution, not by the US military - but in all 3 of your named examples, not one of them actually had a free market, private-property respecting, democratic society [i]until[/i] the United States imposed a democratic political structure on them. Admittedly South Korea is more complex because the change came more from within than without, but it came about all the same because South Korea was in the sphere of influence of the free-market, democratic United States and Japan rather than the sphere of influence of China.

There are NO exceptions.

Other than, at the least, all three of your named examples.

What you left unmentioned, and what unravels your argument, is that this indigenous development of the rudiments of constitutional democracy were manipulated by the ruling class of Germany and Japan - the Junkers and then the Nazis in Germany and the militarist elite in Japan - to control the nation towards their own ends. It was not until the intervention of the American (and also British in the case of Germany) militaries that the infrastructure of constitutional democracy was not susceptible, or even conducive to, the manipulations of authoritarian or totalitarian leaders.

Thank you and goodnight.

No doubt you thought your argument ironclad. An ironclad after meeting up with a dreadnought, maybe.

Iraq possesses no great material political differences from any other nation making the transition from totalitarianism to constitutional democracy in the modern era.

There are major power bases in Iraq that are interested in at the least making an effort at political reconciliation; the benefits of that far outweigh the negative costs that would be incurred by the lack of such reconciliation. Politics is not about what you want, it's about what you can reasonably expect to get.

Posted by coldwarrior415 | October 17, 2007 7:40 PM

Isn't this ground-up reconciliation something that the "surge" was supposed to engender?

I think a ground-upwards reconciliation is far far better than having a presently very weak central government issue a diktat on reconciliation from the top down. Apparently, the Iraqis think so as well.

Posted by Frank | October 17, 2007 7:51 PM


Japan engaged in something know as the Meiji restoration in the mid-1800s. And it did not take place in a vacuum.

Korea came under Japanses influence at the same time and was made part of the Japanese empire in the early 1900s.

All of the western eropean countries, including Germany, had long histories of private property rights, free markets, notions of equality and independent judiciaries.

The idea that Japan, Germany and Korea did not have long histories of constitional orders is not a matter for debate.

Posted by Frank | October 17, 2007 7:55 PM


Holding elections in a country with NO history of property rights, free markets, notions of equality or an independent judiciary is nation building.

We did NOT do that in Germany or Japan.

Also, training and "Iraqi" army and an "Iraqi" police force before political consolidation has occurred is nation building -- and it doesn't work.

We did NOT to that in Japan or Germany.

Training a so-called "Iraqi" army before political consolidation takes place is foolish. The people in this army are primarilty loyal to their own militias. You arm and equip the people in the army, you arm and equip the militias.

Posted by Frank | October 17, 2007 8:17 PM


I am somewhat amazed by your remarks about Germany.

In Western Europe since Roman times, private property was considered sacrosanct.

The principle enunciated by the Roman Stoic philosopher Seneca that kings rule by the will of the people became fundamental to Western civilization, together with private property, which was the main source of productive wealth.

You add the meiji restoration in Japan along with the fact that Korea was part of the Japanese empire for a time -- and you have three countries, Japan, Korea, and Germany, that can in NO way be compared to Iraq.

Posted by Bennett | October 17, 2007 10:03 PM

'A call-center operator from Minnesota knows the straight skinny..."

as opposed to some blog commenter...

"ALL of the constitutional democracies in existence today were formed by the indigenous society over 100s of years -- not by the United States military."

This comment makes absolutely no sense. The United States wasn't formed by the "indigenous society"...since the "indigenous society", i.e., the Native Americans had no role whatsoever, nor did it take 100s of years to "form" the United States...

and as to the United States military...I'm here to say, tell it to the Marines pal, tell it to the Marines...or the Army...or the Navy...because there would be no "constitutional democracy" anywhere on the European continent or in Asia absent the U.S. military (and a few other countries), first defeating the fascist/imperialist governments of certain key countries during WW II and then providing stability and security afterwards to allow democratic institutions to take hold.

I would also submit that the newest constitutional democracies (or their equivalent) in Eastern Europe most definitely owe their birth, in part, to the existence of the U.S. military stationed in Germany all those years with their turrets pointing east.

Posted by Frank | October 17, 2007 10:36 PM

Come on.

Our history is inextricably linked with Great Britain's.

Without the Magna Carta in the 1200s, the whole notion of taxation without representation would have had no meaning.

OBVIOUSLY, the word indigenous in the above context refers to people living on the land -- which was our forefathers. Some outside force did not create our constitutional democracy for us.

The marines are in charge of our national security -- not engaging in some liberal big government Wilsonian sociological experiment.

Let me again reiterate what we did in World War II.

Postwar Germany and Japan each had mature (at least a full generation old) constitutional orders by the end of the 19th century. They both endured as constitutional orders until the 1930s. Thus General Clay and General MacArthur were merely reversing a decade and a half totalitarianism -- returning to nearly a century of constitutional political change in Japan and a much longer period in Germany. We did NOT create constitutional orders for those countries. We RESTORED them.

For you to bring up Eastern Europe is preposterous. We didn't invade any those countries. The jury is still out on how many of them will become truly constitutional.

Posted by Bennett | October 17, 2007 10:50 PM

"indigenous...refers to people living on the land?

You might want to invest in a dictionary if you truly believe the colonists were "indigenous".

"Some outside force did not create our constitutional democracy for us..."

Nor has anyone claimed that the US Military has "created a constitutional democracy" anywhere (and frankly you should probably spend some time figuring out what you mean by that since Britain is not a constitutional democracy), merely that the US Military has created the conditions under which democratic forms of governance could then take root.

And hysterical...really hysterical...Germany was a constitutional democracy? News to Bismarck and the Wilhelms, I'm sure.

Japan a constitutional democracy at the end of the 19th century? Definitely news to the shoguns and the Emperor...

but thanks for the laugh...

and I didn't say we did invade the Eastern Europe countries...but you are so completely clueless about history that I am not even going to try and make my point.

Posted by Frank | October 17, 2007 11:16 PM


The phrased I used for Japan and Germany was constitutional orders, which are not the same as elections but which are necessary for constitutional democracy.

The current democratic governments in Germany and Japan were a natural progression from the Western-oriented governments that both nations had prior to the 1930s. The fascist regimes that took over both nations in the 1930s were the aberrations.

Japan had opened herself up to the West following Commodore Perry's expedition there in 1850. And Germany had a rich tradition of civil law and even progressive government; Bismarck had instituted a Social Security program for Germany's citizens. The regime changes in those two countries in 1945 simply restored respect for the rule of civil law that had been the case for decades there prior to the rise of Fascism.

This is taught in any 100 level history course. I'm not going argue with you about it.

Posted by Tom W. | October 18, 2007 1:48 AM

Man, the libs are really thrashing around in total hysteria, latching on to whatever they can to deny success in Iraq.

"It's never been done, so we shouldn't do it."

Sorry, make that "It's NEVER been DONE, so we SHOULDN'T do it. There are NO exceptions."

My big fat brain has laid down the law. End of discussion.

Thank you and good night.

Which doesn't mean I'm leaving. I can't leave. I can't sleep knowing that somewhere out there is a person who disagrees with me.

That is NOT acceptable.

Posted by NavyspyII | October 18, 2007 7:24 AM


This is taught in any 100 level history course. I'm not going argue with you about it.

The problem with modern education is defined.

Frank, read some source material, rather than some regurgitated analysis that has been deemed sufficient by our modern educrats. You won't believe what you find, but you will definitely be surprised.

And I'm not going to argue about it.

Posted by nick kamillatos | October 18, 2007 7:42 AM

Frank-- you are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts. Japan was a feudal society -- look it up that means the peasants, the overwhelming majority of the population, were property of the local lord and worked the land for the lord as tenant farmers for subsistence and the lord's profit -- up until the 'Meiji Restoration' of imperial political power over the warlord shogonate. That 1860's revolution, which was a civil war amongst the samurai lords loyal to the family shoganate and the lord's who went over to the emporer's side, did result in the end of formal feudalism, but not a constitutional democracy. The new social contract did include private property rights, but almost all valuable property fell into the hands of samurai lords, mostly those loyal to the new teenage emperor. The former peasants got family names, a rapidly modernizing society in terms of technology and trade within Japan, and baseball. Politically, Japan was an Imperial power -- run by a small clique of the emperor and his former warlord supporters who became industrialists, major land owners and Imperial Army ad Navy officers -- and promptly Japan did what imperial powers do, create a powerful blue water navy and raise a permanent army. They whipped the Russian navy at the battle of Port Arthur, made Korea a slave colony and made plans for their move into Manchuria. Japan was not politically or socially democratic. Imperial Japan came to atomic tears in 1945, and a constitutional republic was forced on Japan at the end of an atomic gun. You are a great example of the maxim that a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. Either that or you are a deliberate prevaricator-- means liar. Frank, there are few successful democratic republics, Iraq may never be one. But, America's national interest is best served by having an Iraq that rejects Saudi Wahabism and Iranian Mullahism. The Presideident's policy to accomplish that vital US goal is to guide the Iraqis into a free democratic republic. The freedom the Iraqis have tasted these last four years and their constitution has given 25 million Iraqis the human right of self -determination, and at the same time, it has served a vital US interest.

Posted by Immolate | October 18, 2007 9:09 AM

We should all be students of history Frank, and for that your efforts are to be commended, but do not allow history to put blinders on you. Interpolation denies the possibility of anything that hasn't already been done. More than any time in the past, today all old things are new again and all of our trusty assumptions are suspect. Let's not become so ultra-liberal that we unsuspectingly become ultra-conservative. Open your mind to the wonder of new possibilities and allow yourself to hope and feel faith in the basic goodness of others. It's hard, but worth it.

That had to hurt.

Posted by chaos | October 18, 2007 9:34 AM


You are simply ignorant. Korea was a Japanese slave colony, more or less. The Meiji Restoration a transition from militarism based on a feudal economy and government structure to militarism based on what parts of Western European governance Japan thought was worth adopting.

German citizens' private property rights depended upon the whims of the government. The Reichstag was a front for the Junkers to keep the masses happy.

What is common between both Japan and Germany is that the military and private citizens closely linked to the military were the most powerful entities in both societies from their emergence as modern powers (mid 19th century for Germany, late 19th early 20th century for Japan) until 1945.

Any resemblance in their political structure to constitutional democracy was nothing more than a veneer for the ruling class (Junkers and then Nazis, not that the Nazis kept up the pretense very long in Germany, and the military high command in Japan) to control the domestic and foreign policies of the government.

Your statement that Japan and Germany's governments in the 1930s were "aberrations" is hilarious. Germany was ruled by the Junkers until the end of World War I, then by a weak quasi-fascist government in Weimar whose main accomplishment was allowing right-wing militias to grow as a kind of 'secret' army (since the regular army was limited to 100,000 men by Versailles) until they were incorporated into the Nazi Party, and then Nazism. Japan was ruled by the military.

I don't want to argue with your Frank, your statements are just so contradictory to the historical facts that your blanket statements of how things are not up for debate is guaranteed to inspire derisive laughter rather than an urge to debate.

You don't know what the fuck you're talking about. Literally every single one of your statements that are "not up for debate" are historically inaccurate in the extreme.

Posted by chaos | October 18, 2007 9:42 AM

Just to explain Germany's economy a bit more in-depth.

Particularly during the Nazi era, but also beforehand, Germany had essentially a fascist economy. Private enterprise on the retail level was allowed and usually encouraged. Industry, on the other hand, was tightly regulated and usually partially or fully owned by the government.

Again, particularly during the Nazi era, the government would set economical goals to be met: a certain number of factories built, a certain amount of steel produced, whatever. The private owners of factories and such had no choice but to meet these goals, or the government would take over their factories and use them, the laborers, AND the private company's capital (as opposed to money in the government's coffers) to meet the goal.

The government did not much care if the factories were directly owned and operated by them, or by private citizens, as long as the goals were met. But the private citizens had no choice, they could not set their production plans according to supply and demand, they had to set them according to what the government said. Anything left over after the government got what it wanted was what could be sold in the "free market" to consumers.

That is hardly a situation that can be called "the free market" or a society where private property rights were respected, regardless of Frank's ignorant ramblings to the contrary.

Posted by coldwarrior415 | October 18, 2007 10:29 AM

Chaos, that isn't the half of it...

The problem with students fresh out of a 100-level course load, as seen by the example of Frank, is the bane of many many an academic.

Even at the 400- and 500-level, students bringing up all sorts of things from 100-level survey courses, using broad brushes to paint things, with no attention to detail or depth.

Normally it takes half a semester to get them to think independently, and then the real work begins. Most cannot bring themselves up to speed and a lot get flunked along the way. Just haven't learned to read, research and write, and few have the ability to synthesize what they do read into independent thought. Some never will.

The comments about Germany and Japan posted by Frank would be laughable were it not that this sort of pap is so prevelant. This is ripe ground for the Left, and for the Right, as well, and sound bites become fact along the way.

Japan, prior to MacArthur's imposition of government never knew anything at all about democracy and representative government, let alone property rights, as the vast majority of the citizenry were property of someone...be it a family, a clan, a shogun-wannabee, ultimately the Emperor...they had no voice. Likewise, Korea, especially from 1906 till the end of WWII was a colony ruled by a Japan who revelled in great cruelties and injustices against the Korean people, the Korean people were viewed totally as property.

In Germany, there was a feeble attempt at democracy under Weimar, but we all know how that worked out. The several waves of German immigration to the States were caused in large part to the people being subjects not citizens in wide areas of Germany. To suggest Germany's modern day form of governance is merely a simple step along a continuum of democracy and private property rights is ludicrous. After 1945, Government was imposed on Germany by the High Commission on Germany set up in Bonn in the west and a Soviet commissariat in the east, and for several years things plodded along, haltingly, until the Germans in the West took it upon themselves to do it better. Those in the East were forbidden from doing so. Germany is still paying for that 50 years of imposed governance in the East meeting ground-up governance in the West.

Germane to present day Iraq, the rapid economic boom for West Germany from 1948-1960 had less to do with a central government and everything to do with the economic needs of individual German states and municipalities, and persons. The German "miracle" was a ground up program, heavily assisted by Marshall Plan largesse in its earliest days, by individual investors after 1952.

Likwise, the Japanese economic miracle of the 50's and 60's. Individuals, businesses, corporations led the miracle.

Jump forward to today...it will be individuals, businesses, and corporations that will lead the re-birth of an independent Iraq.

Words are cheap, the cheapest commodity there is. Having diktats from a central government, a weak one at that, are meaningless in reality.

Having a local neighborhood spawn a business or two, offer food on the table in return for an honest day's labor, is how a people actually achieve real independence. Once they own that table, own that food, and the means to obtain both, banding together to broaden their power to control their own lives leads to democratic governance...from the ground up, not from the top down.

Posted by Frank | October 18, 2007 11:30 AM

Folks, I really am open to good debate on historical events.

But the notion that Japan and Gemany did not develop constitutional orders throughout the 1800s and on into the 1900s?

That's ridiculous. It's like arguing the sky is not blue.

When I say there are NO exceptions, I mean that you cannot have constitutional democracy without forming constitutional orders. And Iraq hasn't formed constitutional orders or had any history of it.

Posted by Frank | October 18, 2007 11:54 AM

Tom W.

I used to get a chuckle out of people claiming I was a democrat. Now it is merely tiresome.

There isn’t a single thing I’ve posted that is remotely liberal.

I watched as the neocons ruined the democrat party before they came over to the Republican Party. How the party of Ronald Reagan allowed them this much influence I have no idea.

I don’t know what happened to the Republican Party.

From spending like drunken democrats to opening up our borders for any Tom, Dick, and Harry, to thinking that we could create constitutional orders for another society by holding elections.


Posted by coldwarrior415 | October 18, 2007 12:12 PM

If you read the 1889 Constitution of Japan, the one term that is repeated throughout is "subjects." Not citizens, not people, but "subjects." It opens with an Oath to the Emperor. It is followed immediately by the The Edict. Next, Article One stipulates the Supreme and Divine Rights of the Emperor. Article Two presents the Duties of Subjects. It is a top down document. Not exactly the sort of thing our Framers cobbled together in Philadelphia.

The Germany "Consitution" of 1848, the first German Constitution, was enacted in Frankfurt and never got much past the city limits. The Deutscher Bund (German Federation) formed by 35 sovereign German monarchs simply didn't approve.

There were other attempts along the way to enact some sort of people's "constitution" in Germany but other than the feeble Weimar Constitution, drawn up by elite, under pressure from Verseilles, a vapid document issued by an extremely weak government, the monarchy essentially controlled all aspects of Germany until Weimar, and the neo-monarchy, that of the NSDAP, "the Third Reich," reich being the operational term here, which came to power in 1933, after the collapse of Weimar, ruled Germany using much of the same vehicles utilized by the former monarchy to control the German people and all aspects of their lives. The Reich also published many many documents regarding the status of the people, but as was seen in the USSR during the Soviet Russian days, a flowery document does not a democracy make.

While the 1848 Frankfurt Constitution can be viewed as the birth document for German democracy, it never served as such, a real constitution establishing a real government of the people. It was an inspiration, perhaps, but its efficacy as a foundation document for the development of Germany today it has none other than the symbolic.

Only after destructive warfare, and the total collapse of the ruling order, was there any ripe ground for democracy in either Germany or in Japan.

Again, Iraq is showing that it can build from the bottom up, and should, make their democracy the property of the people not an edict from the government.

Posted by Frank | October 18, 2007 12:34 PM

The fact that a society like Japan was developing constitutional orders does not mean it was a full fedged constitutional democracy.

But you canot read about the Meiji and claim that Japan did not develope constitutional orders such as the rule of law, notions of equality, private property and a number of other constitutional orders.

The elections in the 1940s were therefore not held outside of a constitutional framework and a constitutional society -- like the elections in Iraq.

Again, this stuff is so basic. That's what makes the current debacle so mindboggling. I would have expected something like this from liberals, not people who call themselves Republicans.

But then, the neocons came from the Trotskyites. They never really were true conservatives.

Posted by Frank | October 18, 2007 6:51 PM


I very much appreciated your post. You, at least, understand that what is being done in Iraq is not like anything done during World War II.

I want to tell you about some remarks that George W. Bush made, and I agree with him.

He said that all people want to be, and deserve to be, free.

But elections do not create freedom.

When they are held at the wrong time or in the wrong environment, they delay freedom.

And in the case of Iraq, they will, in all likelihood, cause more violence.

Constitutional democracies do not form based on what we are doing in Iraq.

That fact has nothing to do with military tactics or the basic goodness of the “Iraqi” people.

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