It would appear that the U.S. may be changing its attitude on democracy in Iraq.  Okay, maybe not changing it, more than fine tuning it.  Whatever the case is, according to some commanders on the ground, the administration may be looking for any solution that’ll bring stability to the country, even if it falls short of of full democratic standards.

Not that I’m saying it’s right, but it would make some sense for them to think in this new way.  Consider what the current Iraqi administration has gotten done: not much.  Nobody can seem to agree on anything, the minority Sunni segment of Parliament keeps walking out on sessions, and meanwhile progress on the rooting out the insurgency is simultaneously coming along and falling short of success.  The government can’t provide basic services, can’t defend itself, and is seemingly promising progress while never having had any in the past.

So, in this situation, what is there to do?  Well, Iraq obviously needs someone(s) who can bring together the country, control the insurgency, provide people with what they need, and get things done without being bothered by the bureaucracy of all the factions in Parliament.  Could the U.S. be thinking of bringing back a dictatorship?  At least, one in the interim.  Obviously, we’re not going to see another Saddam in there, the U.S. wouldn’t allow it.  However, could we slip in someone who’s friendly to us, but has the backbone to get things done?

In short, we probably need an Iraqi religious figure who’s also been nice to us.  Someone who’s popular with the people, or at least most of them.  The person would probably be a Shia, to the chagrin of the Sunnis, to be sure.  Could a benevolent dictatorship, or benevolent oligarchy, be the future for Iraq?  Perhaps these things would be a transitional form of government, one that sees things get stable before transferring power to a democratically elected government?   Or perhaps we can bring back monarchy in Iraq?

To be honest, I’m highly skeptical of any other solution than democracy in Iraq.  I know that something needs to be done, but making things less democratic is not the solution, or at least, not a permanent one.  The problem is that if they’re thinking to implement a temporary dictatorship or oligarchy or monarchy, they may come in for a wake-up call.  The fact is, the Arab world is not all to friendly to the idea of democracy.  Yes, it is given that there have been some successes, such as in Lebanon, but overall, you don’t see too many of them in the region.  I could point to Saudi Arabia and the theoretically, but not practically, democracy of Egypt as examples.  My worry is that if something or someone is introduced that is less than democratic, that we may find ourselves having been shot in the foot.

My worry is that this person, or these people, would end up taking up the reigns, only to not let them go.  Unfortunately, the U.S. government has a long history of supporting regimes that end up with some pretty bad human rights records.  My worry is that anything implemented that is less than democratic would end up going this way.  And I hardly think George Bush would want to be remembered as the world leader that toppled a tyranny, only to bring another one to Iraq.

Something needs to be done to get the Iraq government to function properly.  I believe in democracy, and believe it could work, if the government grew a backbone, and stopped fighting so much (this one not so likely).  I worry that any idea of implementing something less than democratic could end up turning ugly in the future.  It may not happen right away, but it could.  I believe that if we’re to go this route, we’d have to keep an eye on things VERY closely.  Make it clear than any steering from the lessened democracy (the goal would be to eventually promote more democracy) would have severe consequences.  Yea, as if we need another war to topple an Iraqi tyrant!

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