Amongst all the feckless arguments offered by those adamantly opposed to the liberation of Iraq, one in particular most rankles. Sundry leftists offer a version of the following query: “Why not let the people of Iraq vote to determine if there should be a continued American military presence in their country?”
This always struck us as a strange way to go about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in the War on Terrorism. In fact, we, the crack young staff of “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” find it sufficiently strange that we wonder if it is actually proposed in good faith.
We say this for a number of reasons. First, there’s the matter of simple hypocrisy. As stalwart opponents of the removal of Saddam Hussein from power, our leftist pals demonstrate that they’re not too keen on the idea of spreading democracy in the Middle East. Suddenly, however, they hunger for the Iraqi people to vote–provided that vote aims at the removal of non-native troops in the country. Thus do the opponents of democracy become its most feverish backers.
Next, we suppose we should add that this support for a popular referendum on the American presence in Iraq betrays a fundamental ignorance of the workings of contemporary democracies. In this one instance, the pushers of a referendum aim for a crucial military decision to be made through the auspices of “direct democracy.” But democratic countries in the modern industrialized world are “representational democracies,” not “direct democracies.”
The American people, for instance, do not make specific military calculations through popular votes; rather, we elect leaders who have civilian oversight of our nation’s military forces. And for good reason: Clever as he may be, the average American likely doesn’t possess the requisite knowledge of military tactics to make competent decisions regarding our nation’s defense.
Why, exactly, should this be any different for the people of Iraq? Not even ancient Athens–an example of a “direct democracy”–allowed its citizens to determine the polis’ military policy through popular votes. On the contrary, a board of ten generals was elected to make such decisions.
We should add the fact that those hankering for an Iraqi vote against the American troop presence don’t support popular referendums across the board. Ask your left-wing pals if they favor the topic of gay marriage being determined by a popular vote of Americans. Or perhaps racial preferences–do they want a referendum for American citizens on this topic?
Of course not! And for good reason: Their pet causes would surely lose out. For some reason, however, they think that a referendum in Iraq is hunky dory.
This should be seen as exactly what it is: Not an example of left-wing commitment to democracy or to the Iraqi people, but a cynical ploy to compel an American retreat in the War on Terror.
(Note: The crack young staff normally “weblog” over at “The Hatemonger’s Quarterly,” where they are currently sponsoring a referendum on the use of torture against Keith Olbermann.)