Principalities & Powers

Enthusiastic Democracy

Less than a month after President Bush unbosomed his latest reflections on political philosophy before the National Endowment for Democracy in Washington, one of the latest victims of his administration’s crusade to foster the “global democratic revolution” in Iraq was grousing that what the administration planned for his country simply wasn’t democratic enough.  The Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, leader of the 15 million Shiite Muslims of Iraq, some 60 percent of the population, announced his opposition to the neat little blueprint for “democracy” that the president’s neocon policy wonks had decided would be suitable for the Iraqi rabble.  The grand ayatollah’s dyspeptic reaction is entirely understandable.  In a country where the people he represents constitute the majority, democracy or something more or less resembling it would be welcome to him—at least until he and his colleagues win the elections.

That, however, is clearly not the case with others in the Land of the Great Cakewalk.  “This is a society comprised of [sic] Sunni, Shiites, Kurds, Assyrians, Christians and others,” one member of the “Governing Council,” as the media calls the puppet government set up by Mr. Bush’s viceroys, told the Washington Post.  “The ayatollah is a very important man of the Shiite society . . . but others have...

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