A Beacon of Middle East Democracy?

Sunday, March 7, 2010
Today, Iraqis braved terrorist threats and violence to elect their new Parliament.

On this subject, Newsweek ran an interesting story on whether Iraq has, in fact, become a beacon of democracy in the highly undemocratic Middle East:

Rebirth of a Nation

Something that looks an awful lot like democracy is beginning to take hold in Iraq. It may not be 'mission accomplished' -- but it's a start.

In Iraq, meanwhile, an insurgency was growing, terrorism was spreading, and American forces were in a state of near panic. They had begun rounding up thousands of the Iraqis they had come to "liberate," dragging them from their homes in the middle of the night and throwing them into Abu Ghraib Prison. At the time of Bush's speech, some of those detainees were being tortured and humiliated. Iraq had entered a spiral of gruesome violence that would kill scores of thousands of its people and cost more than 4,000 U.S. military personnel their lives. American taxpayers month after month, year after year—and to this day—would spend more than $1.5 billion per week just to keep hundreds of thousands of beleaguered troops on the ground, fearful that if they withdrew too quickly, or at all, the carnage would grow worse and war, not democracy, would spread throughout the region.

Bush's rhetoric about democracy came to sound as bitterly ironic as his pumped-up appearance on an aircraft carrier a few months earlier, in front of an enormous banner that declared MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. And yet it has to be said and it should be understood -- now, almost seven hellish years later -- that something that looks mighty like democracy is emerging in Iraq. And while it may not be a beacon of inspiration to the region, it most certainly is a watershed event that could come to represent a whole new era in the history of the massively undemocratic Middle East.

Read here in its entirety.