I watched the television News Networks as the Shiites marched to Karbala, their holy city in Iraq.
I was aghast at the spectacle of Shiites flagellating themselves with leather straps, chains and knives, to the point where their blood ran freely from their heads, to their shoulders, and down their backs and chests.
I watched the messianic Islamic mob move inextricably forward and onward towards their vision of the divine in Karbala in their march to the archaic.
I can not see any way for these 7th century religious zealots (nuts) to ever accept the norms of the 21st century; never mind the concept of Western style secular Democracy.
Where there is no clear separation between Church and State, and more specifically, where the Church rules the State; in this case, where the Mosque rules the people, there can never be Democracy.
I wrote the other day, April 21, 2003 (see archives), that maybe Saddam was right. And that perhaps the Americans had bitten off more than a mouthful.
Even though there are tremendous and obvious risks to being in Iraq, being there nonetheless, gives the Americans an incredible location for their military bases.
From Iraq, the Americans can reach Syria, Jordan, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. And they can do so in minutes.
From this most middle point of the Middle East, America can police the world’s most dangerous neighborhood.
I don’t necessarily believe the Americans are so naive, as to imagine that they will ever be able to bring REAL Democracy to the Arab world. But; in spite of the religious fervor, I hope they will deliver some sort of facsimile that will be a more or less acceptable substitute.
Given the location of Iraq, and the potential for strategic American troop placements, a Democratic facsimile is far better than nothing. And who the hell knows. Maybe the Americans can pull it off. Only time and steadfast resolve will tell.
In the words echoed by Americans in days gone by: “It’s worth a good old college try”.