Friends of Democracy is a new web site that's sprung up to cover and document the Iraq election and political efforts. Unabashedly pro-democracy, it offers the antithesis of the insurgency's chaos. It may be a propaganda front, but it's offering a look at Iraq that I haven't seen, including on-the-ground reporting (with photos) of the run-up to the election.
From the vision statement: "By our hands, work, thoughts, sacrifice we will build up the new Iraq.
Our home is open for every friend of democracy and they are many in Iraq.
We are the hope of the rest of peoples which longed for freedom and they are looking with the eye of hope to the Iraqi sample.
Let us show them a shining sample and let us remind them that we are the ones of the first code of laws. Let them share us to work with full efforts to push forward the democracy process in Iraq."
"We endeavor to link the non governmental organizations (NGO's), students groups, women organizations and the individuals through a network to exchange experience and thoughts to push forward democracy process in Iraq.
We won't be isolated islands from now on.
We are stronger in sharing opinions and exchanging information and experience.
You are not alone, friends of democracy exist all over Iraq and now you are with them in every moment.
Our weapon: the word and free opinion."
If this is a Negroponte psyops job, it's a good one. While the U.S. invasion of Iraq, built on a foundation of brutishness and lies, has created a panoply of tragedies, I am beginning to believe that only through empowering the Iraqi democratic forces will any good ever come of this misadventure. FoD offers a picture of what Iraq might look like should leaders guided by enlightened democracy come to the forefront.
The same sentiment might be offered regarding any resistance movement in any nation. Should the cream rise to the top, then things could work out. The U.S. military and state department can not make this happen. No one knows how to make this happen, but FoD offers a mustard seed of hope.
Like Howard Dean's "You have the power" mantra and recent voyage into the esoteric, "I'm not much of a Zen guy, but I've learned that the best way to gain power is to give it away", the best way forward in this mess'o'potamia lies in struggling to establish a true democracy in Iraq.
I know, I know. There's bodies everywhere. Hatred that will last generations has been birthed. A training camp for budding terrorists has been created. People don't even have basic services like water and electricity. Ba'athists armed with the weapons we didn't secure roam the streets, killing innocents and soldiers alike. U.S. and other "coalition" forces kill insurgents and innocents. Confusion, violence, and uncertainty are running the show, to be sure.
But with world opinion (rightly, in most cases) turned against us, we must find a way to turn power over to forward thinking, energetic Iraqis and then get the hell out of there. It's unlikely that John Negroponte is going to be too happy to do this. It's unlikely that anything but a series of U.S. stooges will preside over Iraq, but if liberals / progressives are going to work for anything in Iraq it ought to be peace, democracy, and true sovereignty.
Here at home, we've got to have our own regime change, and I have the same aspirations for our nation that I have for the Iraqis. I am incensed and outraged at the atrocities being perpetrated with my money and in my name both at home and abroad. We must support any and every true democratic efforts in Iraq, and we must push to create a progressive America here at home.
It's only insurgents, terrorists, George W. Bush and his administration, a comatose media, religious nationalism, the distrust of the world, apathy, and a dozen other things we've got to overcome. Daunted? Me too. To think that freedom and democracy might take hold in Iraq is terrifically naive, but what else will we support and work towards? While cursing every darkness, the left can also light a candle of solidarity with those who aspire to be free.
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