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Freedom and Democracy (Take II)
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From Fred Kaplan's latest about the Iraqi elections:

Few sights are more stirring than the televised images of Iraqi citizens risking their lives to vote in their country's first election in a half-century, kissing the ballot boxes, dancing in the streets, and declaring their hopes for a new day of democracy.

And yet, the challenges and uncertainties that seemed so daunting last week—about Iraq's security, society, and governance—are unlikely to turn less daunting next week, next month, or the month after.

Yes, as President Bush said in his address this afternoon, the Iraqi people showed the world they want freedom. But this has never been in doubt.

With all due respect, bullshit.

I continue to hear, in various forms and various venues, the idea that we're trying to fit a round peg into a square hole and that some people prefer the relative stability of a dictator to the responsibility and uncertainty of governing themselves. Some people who read this blog have even said as much.

The analog would be to say that some women prefer to stay in abusive relationships because they've never known anything else, that they like the structure and discipline of an assertive mate even though he treats her like dirt and beats on her. This might explain the relationship, but it does not excuse it. In other words, it does not make it right.

To what extent, though, is it any of our business? Bush's inaugural address made the point that it is very much our business, that the world is becoming smaller and more interconnected every day and that the eradication of dictatorships and the spread of freedom are necessary for our own continued prosperity and stability. And I happen to think he's right.

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