Thinking For The Individual

Formerly known as 'Thinking For The People', this site offers some reflections on the state of British society and her people from the perspective of a libertarian Conservative with a passionate belief in the pillars of freedom and responsibility.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Iraqi Elections Mustn't Be For Propaganda

Baghdad's envoy in London says that the rising tide of violence in Iraq will not stop the long-awaited elections from taking place at the end of January.

Regardless of the debate over whether there was any true justification to go to war in Iraq, we should all be hopeful that this is true. There are still many people who use the apparent lack of justification to attack the government from all sides of the political spectrum. But that kind of behaviour will not help solve the problems the people face in Iraq.

What is important now is that processes take place to bring the rule of law and some sense of stability to the troubled country. Elections are one step on that journey of a thousand miles.

But, considering some of the mistakes made by the coalition in Iraq, I do hope that these elections are not simply propaganda instruments for the west, and particularly the US. We have all been practically instructed to herald the arrival of these elections as a great turning point. Whenever the Americans have been challenged for failing to defeat terrorist cells in Iraq, their response has been to say, 'Well, at least there will be elections soon'.

Whilst they are important, what is imperative is that the west or any other power does not use these elections in order to prove themselves. These elections are to bring some order to a country in a state of anarchy. We must be very careful that the western powers in Iraq do not use them as proof that they know what they are doing.


At 6:15 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here here. Mark yet do you tihnk the people of Iraq are in a fit state to vote for a goveremtn and is this really an Iraqi govt. or is it simply a few non westerners sat at seats with workds being fed to them.

At 6:23 pm, Blogger Mark O'Brien said...

It is difficult to say whether any Middle Eastern nation used to autocratic, dictatorial rule would be able to form a democracy almost overnight. Iraq, in that sense, is a kind of test for the future. If these elections work in Iraq, it may give some credibility to the idea that western values can be superimposed onto these places.

I don't know whether Iraq is in a decent enough state to hold elections. Mistakes have been made which have meant that the security situation is perilous. However, if elections were postponed all of a sudden because of security fears, that would be a dreadful propaganda failure for the Americans in particular.

My article expressed these very fears that propaganda is becoming more important than the security of the Iraqi people.

I doubt that the elections would be postponed. But that is not because of American fears over security. That is probably because of the fact that it would be such a propaganda defeat.


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