Regarding Time's Charles Krauthammer's Essay...

Regarding Charles Krauthammer’s essay in the February 14, 2005 issue of Time magazine:

Krauthammer criticizes “Europe” and “Arab States” for questioning the legitimacy of the Iraqi election. He asserts that the large turnout by voters in Iraq gives the election legitimacy and that the resulting Iraqi government should be recognized by other states. However, isn’t it more important, and unlikely, for the people of Iraq to legitimately recognize their own government? Who cares if France, Syria and Germany recognize an Iraqi administration that nearly half of Iraqi’s see as illegitimate? Krauthammer is correct when he writes that Sunni Muslims were not barred from the polls, and indeed were encouraged to vote. The fact is that a lot of them didn’t vote and a great number of them will continue to see any elected government as an illegitimate regime. The important task is to find a way to allow the Sunni minority in Iraq, who are causing the majority of the problems, to live peacefully under an administration that they see as legitimate, regardless of how it is viewed by either Europe or The Arab League. Mr. Krauthammer writes that “the entire argument about Sunni participation is empty.” This may be true, but it is unhelpful and likely more inflammatory when it is Sunni’s themselves that are making the argument.

When Krauthammer writes that the U.S. version of liberation was not the most “artful”, he understates the problem of implementing democracy by force. One of the most ironic pieces of the entire democratic project is that Bush heavily campaigned against nation building prior to 9/11. Both the Republicans and Democrats are guilty of grave hypocricies now that the shoe is on the other foot. My position is simple, but not simplistic. The U.N. must approve of the invasion of any sovereign country. Although Kerry was blasted for it politically, he was correct to state that the invasion of another country should pass a global test. Personally, I think it is too much of a stretch to argue that the Iraq invasion was about defense. The world will still be lucky if the entire mid-east region doesn’t break into all out warfare as a result of the primarily unilateral invasion of Iraq by the U.S.

Finally, I don’t agree with Krauthammer’s hypotheses that if it weren’t for 9/11, the U.S. would have never invaded Iraq. Iraq invasion plans were being made shortly after the Bush administration was assembled, according to Kevin Philips and E.J. Dione, Jr. (admittedly, secondary sources). Furthermore, I disagree with Krauthammer’s assertion that creating a democracy is the only way to prevent terrorism. The way to defeat terrorism is to defeat fanaticism. It could even be argued that democracy enables fanaticism to flourish. I’m not saying that we should eliminate democracy. I’m saying that it’s impossible to eliminate terrorism. There are many varied roots of terrorism, but I think the type of government of the country is one of the weakest. Our fine U.S. democracy, after all, produced Timothy McVeigh.


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