Tuesday, February 08, 2005

“If you don’t behave, democracy will get you."

an ad I saw at Tacitus.Org:

at the site itself, Bet On Iraq.Com,there is this verbiage:

Above and beyond the vast oil reserve, agriculture, and highly educated population, there is now liberty in Iraq. We believe that where liberty is sown, prosperity blooms. We understand that liberty is always challenged. It's challenged regularly in our own country. Why should a fledgling democracy, on the heels of a 30 year dictatorial rule, be immune? We simply trust that the seed of freedom, implanted more than a year ago with the fall of Saddam's regime, has germinated in the hearts of the majority of the Iraqi people. We see this as a wondrous thing, with tremendous possibilities...

The "seed of freedom" has germinated in the hearts of...the Iraqi people? Really? If not for the magnanimity of the Americans who attacked her country I guess it never would have occured to your average Iraqi that she might want to live in a democratic society. That "seed" simply wasn't there before we showed up, hmm? I seem to recall someone far cleverer than me once called this "Christopher Columbus Syndrome". So now we can pat them on the head and coo with glee at what good little democrats they're becoming. (Just in time,too, because we have other countries to liberate.* And if Iraq falls apart if we leave too soon after wrecking her, we can react like disappointed parents who just knew that she would come to a bad end if she didn't listen. Paternalism is a fog that protects your screwed-up world-view in any contingency...)

But back to Bet on Iraq: the purpose of the site is to sell American speculators Iraqi currency, in bulk, at fire-sale prices. Not currency contracts, or Iraqi treasury notes, but actual paper currency. If an American company offered to broker Iraqi treasury notes to US investors, this would actually help Iraq and ordinary Iraqi people. As far as I can see, however, this company is exploiting Iraqis, both indivduals and probably small banks, and buying up large quantities of dinars, probably at less(maybe MUCH less) than the going rate(and if this is the case they're contributing to the dire straits off of which they wish to make a killing, right? )

*Linda Heard last week, from Arab News:
Iraqis are preparing to receive their version of democracy on Sunday by sealing their borders, closing down the airport, restricting travel, applying curfews, keeping candidates and the location of polling stations secret and planning to surround them with US tanks. ...

...Is “freedom” going the way of “democracy”, a word, which has replaced the “bogeyman” in the vocabulary of some harassed Iraqi mothers?
“If you don’t behave, democracy will get you.”

via Abdusalaam.