The Perils Of "Democracy"
Thursday, December 1,2005 00:00
By (Agencies)

The Perils Of "Democracy"

By Editorial Board
President Bush is obviously on the right track in his efforts to promote democratic elections around the world. As he says, democracies don`t make war against each other. But there have been glitches that have surfaced along the way, which suggest that some fine tuning in the push for democracy is needed.

Under pressure from the Bush administration, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak departed from past practice and permitted relatively free elections for parliament. Unexpectedly, the radical Islamic group — Muslim Brotherhood, which is officially outlawed but fields candidates as independents, won 76 of the 454 seats in the People`s Assembly, Egypt`s lower house, with one more round of voting to go. Thus, the results so far will make Muslim Brotherhood the largest opposition bloc to Mubarak`s ruling National Democratic Party and give it the right to field a candidate in the presidential elections of 2011, when Mubarak has said he will not run.

A similar problem arose at the conclusion of a contentious Arab League-sponsored "reconciliation meeting" in Cairo amongst the different factions in Iraq. Newly "democratically" elected Iraqi politicians hammered out an agreement on the political spin they would put forward to the world on the issue of terror and a timetable for an American pullout. The Arab League Secretary General Amre Moussa read the final statement following a delay of several hours due to wrangling over the wording of several sections. Here is part of what he said:


Although resistance is a legal right of all nations, terrorism is not legitimate resistance. We condemn terrorism and acts of violence, killing and kidnapping, targeting Iraqi citizens, humanitarian, civil or government organization, national wealth and places of worship.


Iraq`s Shi`ite- and Kurdish-led government was reported to have opposed recognizing this "right of resistance," but Sunni Arabs had insisted on it. They argued that at least parts of the Iraqi insurgency are engaging in what they see as legitimate resistance against foreign occupation. The final language represents something of a compromise, strongly condemning attacks that target or affect Iraqi civilians and infrastructure, but not attacks that target U.S. or other international troops.

The bottom line from these popularly elected officials is that it is okay to target and kill American occupiers!

Finally, of course, is the issue of Hamas participation in the upcoming Palestinian elections. In the name of "democracy," Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas refuses to bar Hamas candidates from participation. One wonders how elected terrorists can be neutralized following the election. But equally troubling is that earlier elections and polls show that Hamas is enormously popular with the Palestinian "street" — and electorate — for its virulent anti-Israel stance. Indeed, most Palestinians reportedly believe that it is the pressure of Hamas` program of terror that is primarily responsible for American and Israeli concessions. And it is widely reported that Abbas is really worried about the electoral prospects of Hamas, as opposed to his Fatah faction.

Thus, the drive for "democracy" may have the unintended result of catapulting terrorists into legitimacy and leadership positions, simply because they are popular with the voters. This does not make them right — only celebrated.

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