Friday, November 18, 2005
Why democracies should not fight elective wars
The gist of the presidents comment is that replacing Saddam with a democratic form of government brings stability to that region. Nevermind the chaos and grief that stems from our effort to reach this goal. After all, when you have Gawud on your side the ends must justify the means. And to be sure there is a kernel of truth in the presidents saying. After all, the U.S. has yet to march into Canada, and the unpleasantness with Mexico happened long ago... back when our democratic institutions were not nearly so advanced as we see today.
There is a good reason democracies would do well to heed the spirit of the presidential saying noted above and not invade others except in self defense or the defense of allies. A democracy, by definition, is subject to a regular transition of leadership, and a flux in their democratic institutions determined by the whim of the people. If a particular leader thinks it is a good call to go to war, but that war is not necessary, when the public see's fit to change the governments leadership or institutions, the new government may not see things the same as the old administration did. Thus it should be that when it comes to the involvement of our democracy in a foreign war it should be under the certain knowledge that that deployment is absolutely necessary.
Under these terms, it would be well understood that the war America should be involved with is in Afghanistan, based upon the terrorist attacks of 09/11. The war in Iraq was presented as a pre-emptive strike and as such under this proposition, and by the spirit of the quote of the president, would not be an example of a justified war. I suspect president Bush will hand the problem he created to the new president in 2009. However, this may not happen because public opinion has soured on the war, and the president seeing the harm his policies are inflicting on his own party in the various upcoming elections may see fit to cut short the war. Yet we have witnessed on more than several occasions the bullheaded nature of president Bush in carrying forth wrong headed policy in contravention of all considered advice, based upon his gut feeling alone.
The turmoil we see on the national political scene at this time is a direct result of our democracy fighting an elective war. Let us hope that future generations learn, the lesson we should have learned in Vietnam, with this generations folly.
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