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Hypocrisy or democracy?
Talk about bombing Iran's nuclear facilities should not be taken lightly

January 29, 2005

Justice and power must be brought together, so that whatever is just may be powerful, and whatever is powerful may be just. -- Pascal

President Bush says he is committed to spreading freedom throughout the world. Yet when the people of a sovereign nation like Venezuela democratically elect a government the U.S. does not like, the Bush Administration raises questions about the validity of the electoral process after having failed an attempted coup.

Indeed, when now Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice was questioned about Venezuela by Democrats in her Senate confirmation hearing, her answers raised serious questions about the Bush Administration's commitment to freedom and democracy in those countries where the outcome of an election does not necessarily match the administration's interests. Does this approach to foreign policy signal a desire to foster freedom around the world, or is it simply hypocrisy?    

The Bush Administration says they oppose the hard line Islamic rulers in Iran because they are evil and are producing nuclear weapons. Most Iranians are against the theocratic regime, but for their own reasons. Mr. Bush has signaled his support for freedom and publicly thrown his support behind democratic movements around the globe. But if his stance toward countries like Venezuela is any guide, we must ask:  Freedom for whom and freedom for what purpose?

Democracy and freedom, justice and economic prosperity, go hand in hand. In many so-called democracies, poverty is worsening and people are in more in need of bread than freedom. This administration rails against tyranny, yet it supports regimes that routinely brutalize their own citizens.

Pakistan, one of our closest allies in the War on Terror, has implemented some of the most repressive laws in the world in hopes of silencing the voices of dissent. We should not forget that Musharaf, a good friend of this administration, came to power in a military coup not by elections. Similar questions can be raised about Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt. How does the Bush doctrine apply to these countries? 

The tune of war in Iraq has changed from finding the nonexistent WMD to ending Saddam's tyranny and bringing freedom to the Iraqis.  How many thousands of Iraqis have been killed in the process? How many maimed, how many children have become orphans? And which companies are benefiting from the Iraqi invasion: Bechtel, Halliburton, etc... ? Which other US companies? Who else? Where is the peace, freedom, and prosperity the Iraqi people were promised? Will a hurried election remedy all the destruction?

This tragic and illegal war has destroyed the infrastructure of the country. U.S. troops allowed the museum in Baghdad to be ransacked while the oil ministry was the only building surrounded by American troops. The city of Babylon, the birth place of civilization, has been destroyed. The city of Fallujah was completely ruined and many of its people killed or forced to seek refuge elsewhere.

And now the U.S. seeks to legitimize the government it wants with a handpicked candidate who was on its payroll.  Meanwhile, the Administration wonders why a growing insurgency is countering and attacking US troops with suicide bombs and uncivilized behaviors.

The other night, CNN showed the killing of a mother and a father who were driving with their 6 kids in the evening. Apparently, the family failed to stop for a patrol of soldiers. To their misfortune, the soldiers opened fire and the passengers in the front seat were killed. The children were left bewildered, wondering what had just happened to their parents. Fortunately, one of the officers took the children away from the scene so they wouldn't have to look at the bloody bodies of their parents.  

Is this the way to bring democracy and freedom to a land which has never known it? Will these children or the many other families forget and forgive?

Khomeini and the Islamic regime in Iran also claimed that they represent God's will on earth for the people.  In his remarks at the Washington Cathedral, Rev. Billy Graham also said it was God's will to have GW Bush re-elected. God works in miraculous ways!

Exit polls suggest that moral values were the deciding factor in Mr. Bush reelection. What kind of moral values are represented by an unmanageable deficit, an illegal war that promises to bring home more dead and wounded sons and daughters, and the Patriot Act, which is an assault on the constitution? I wonder if those who speak of moral values are not disturbed by a war that has killed many live children in Iraq but argue that a fetus is sacred?  Is this Hypocrisy or morality?

And now it's Iran's turn. While most Iranians will be glad to see a tyrannical government whose rule has brought them more destitution than the Shah's government ever did go. It is ludicrous to think that they will rise up when their land is being bombarded by a foreign power.

Freedom seekers should think twice. Iran is no Iraq. Iranians are even more nationalistic than Iraqis. Iranians will bring hell to earth if their land - even if their unwanted and unnecessary nuclear facilities - are touched. If their historic sites or their cities are destroyed by an "accident," the consequences will be frightening.  When we had an elected government, the freedom seekers brought it down. Why? Same reasons: Oil and profit, self-interest. When the Shah became too greedy, they got rid of him, not even letting his majesty rest in peace in time of sickness.  

And now they have the audacity to support the democratic movement against theocracy by suggesting military intervention or clandestine operations. Iranians, with much sacrifice have already started this movement, and will finish it. But attempts to impose democracy from the outside by force will galvanize the country against any aggression. The Middle East will be ablaze and Iranians will respond by saying: "you bomb Iran over our dead bodies... " 

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The Persian Sphinx
Amir-Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution
by Abbas Milani
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