Another war for democracy?


Updated: 21 May 2008, 23:01

Originally written: 31 January 2005


George Bush has told us all that the United States invaded Iraq to promote democracy. At first it was to stop Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, but when that allegation faltered, the reason for the invasion changed, retroactively, to bringing democracy to the downtrodden.

Now that Iraq has had its election, perhaps the United States government will invade another mid-east country to bring democracy. Maybe a good choice would be a country which flogs people who protest against the government. Maybe the United States government will claim that the country’s government cannot be held responsible because it was a religious court which pronounced the sentences.

That argument does not hold water, but then, Iraq’s imaginary weapons of mass destruction worked for a while, so the arguments apparently do not have to be very good. Capitalism’s Gravediggers admits that it is not in possession of the “intelligence” available to George Bush — the sort of “intelligence” which proved that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. Maybe Bush knows something about the floggings that nobody else knows.

Capitalism’s Gravediggers believes that the partial punishment of 100 to 250 lashes is quite sufficient to rip the flesh off a woman’s back. Maybe even some non-socialists will believe that to punish the one female and fourteen male demonstrators for an apparently peaceful demonstration against the government, by ripping off their skin, is indicative of a viciously undemocratic state. Maybe that state needs to be taught a lesson by being invaded by democracy-loving George Bush’s army.

On the other hand, one must realize that the personal fief of the al Saud family, Saudi Arabia, is what might be deemed a “friend of America.” Some of its wealthiest families are apparently on very good terms with President Bush. That might mean that “in the interests of friendship” and lots of oil, President Bush will use more subtle measures. Maybe to correct the brutality of the al Sauds, George Bush will use the tried and true technique of selling them large quantities of military equipment. That is sure to maintain the friendship, and eventually — maybe 100 years from now — Saudi Arabia will no longer flog people for disagreeing with the government. It will surely be trumpeted as another victory for capitalism and constructive dialog. That is, if Saudi Arabia does, eventually stop flogging people.

The protesters want an elected leadership to replace the royal family, an independent judiciary, and a new constitution guided by Islamic law. Religion-based laws, and a new constitution for administering capitalism, have no appeal for Capitalism’s Gravediggers, but it does have to be admitted that advancing from feudalism to elected representation is a socially progressive change.

Capitalism’s Gravediggers hopes that the sarcastic suggestion that the United States should invade Saudi Arabia, did not gain your support. The issue is that wars for democracy are very selective. The primary condition for a war for democracy seems to be that a significant economic benefit (possibly long term) should be expected to accrue to the victor. In cases where the likelihood of profits is not evident, the armies of democracy are slow to act. Eventually, if situations get bad enough and voters get vocal enough, governments of the “first world” may choose to intervene. But waiting for a genocidal slaughter, as in East Timor, Serbia, Kosovo, Rwanda, etc., suggests that democracy really has very little to do with wars for democracy.

As socialist have long said, wars are about resources, markets, and trade routes. Democracy is window dressing to convince us that a war is “just”. Killing for profits is “just” under capitalism, which relegates the working class to producing profits for the rich, and cannon fodder in wars between national gangs of the rich.

Capitalism’s Gravediggers is working to build a society with a justice which will benefit everyone.

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