freedom on the march

According to Fafblog, the justification of our presence in Iraq is a kind of Groundhog Day experience. Here was a laugh-out-loud snippet:

Q. Why are we in Iraq?
A. For freedom! Recent intelligence informs us it is on the march.
Q. Hooray! Where’s it marching to?
A. To set up a government of the people, by the people, for the people, and held in check by strict adherence to the laws of Islam.
Q. Huh! Freedom sounds strangely like theocracy.
A. No it doesn’t! It is representative godocracy, in which laws are written by the legislative branch, enforced by the executive branch, and interpreted by an all-powerful all-knowing deity which manifests its will through a panel of senior clerics.
Q. Whew! Is democracy on the march?
A. Democracy was on the march. Sadly, freedom and democracy were caught in a blizzard and freedom was forced to eat democracy to survive.

Just think about that for a moment — freedom was forced to eat democracy to survive. It’s an elegant and damning metaphor. For all the bluster about the new realpolitik of our post 9-11 world, the neoconservative agenda is fundamentally a pie-in-the-sky approach to foreign policy. As Publius writes while commenting on the NY Times Fukuyama article,

The actual invasion of Iraq (and the greater neocon vision for the Middle East) depends entirely on idealism in that it bets the house on imposing Western ideas top-down rather than helping them develop from the bottom-up… Because liberal democracy “recognizes” the dignity of each individual in a way that no other system does, it represents the final stage of History and has, ideologically speaking, triumphed over competing systems like socialism.

Rather than getting down to brass tacks and figuring out what is actually achievable, we’re fed some heavy-duty koan-like analyses that beggar explanation. And so here is your moment of Zen:

Q. Why are we in Iraq?
A. To prevent the failure of the occupation of Iraq. If we pull out now the occupation will be a failure!
Q. Would it have been easier to have never occupied it in the first place?
A. Ah, but if we never occupied Iraq, then the occupation certainly would have been a failure, now wouldn’t it?
Q. [meditates for many years]
Q. Now I am enlightened.


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