Democracy Reform

Sir Winston Churchill once said that democracy is the worst form of government except for all the rest. He is right. Its the best form of government but it also has its flaws. I think that its flaws endanger democracy and needs to be fixed. This blog is for like minded people who want to see democracy improved. I invite people to sumbit essays. I will publish even those I do not agree with so long as I find them interesting.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

How Goes the War?

How goes the war on terrorism? This is really the war against the ideology of Radical Islamism which began long before the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center in 2001.

Following September 11, there was a rare moment of political unity in America. But now that unity is gone as votrepreneurs (politicians) go back to their usual form. They are more interested in promoting their political careers than in their country's national security.

For the Democrats, this means that they must portray the policies of their opponentsas failuresą„¤ This is the nature of democracies.

As stated in my last article, Harry Reid was quick to say that the war is lost. Hillary Clinton called for the closure of Guantanamo Bay. The Senator from New York said:

"Guantanamo has become associated in the eyes of the world with a discredited administration policy of abuse, secrecy, and contempt for the rule of law."

Meanwhile, both houses of Democrat controlled Congress passed a bill calling for the US troops to begin withdrawing troops from Iraq by October 1. Senator Christopher Dodd, Democrat of Connecticut said:

'Staying the course' has cost us over 3,200 young lives of our brave men and women in uniform and more than $400 billion, with no progress to speak of."
All these comments must be comforting to America's enemies. I can imagine, Osama bin Laden in his cave somewhere gleefully absorbing the news. He would vote for them, if he could.

Ahmedinejad would
also vote
Democrat, if he could.

Its time to ask, 'Who are they and what do they want?' Also, what does America want? America's enemies are Radical Islamists who are fighting to implement Islamic Law in Iraq with the eventual goal of bringing Islamic Law throughout the world.

Its part religion and part politics. Indeed, Islam traditionally does not separate politics from religion. America on the other hand wants to promote its ideology of democracy throughout the world. The two ideologies are incompatible.

For the Islamists, the world must be ruled according to Islamic Law (also known as Shariah) which was revealed to Prophet Mohammad 1,400 years ago. In a democracy, it is man who makes the laws, not God. Thus if the majority of the people vote to legalize alcohol, this is against the Will of God and cannot be accepted by Islamists. In an Islamic state it must be God who makes the laws and not man. Thus democracy is a form of idolatry in which man worships himself and puts himself above God.

Thus when Bush wanted to plant the democracy in Iraq, he was throwing a gauntlet down at the Islamists. The two leading Islamic states are Saudi Arabia (Sunni version of Islam) and Iran (Shiite version). Both have supported the Islamist agenda with their oil money.

Should America succeeds in Iraq, Muslims might be seduced from the Islamist ideology. That is why the Iranian Mullahs call America the Great Satan for Satan is the great deceiver who misleads mankind from Allah's Laws. They are thus anxious for Bush to fail in Iraq.

Also anxious are Bush's political rivals in Americaą„¤ To persuade voters to switch sides, you must always portray your opponent's policies as failures.That is why every little problem in Iraq is magnified into a major failure. Every suicide bomb blast in Baghdad is cited as evidence of failure ignoring the more tranquil parts of Iraq. Every success no matter how big is ignored. Thus the big fact that a bloody dictator, Saddam Hussein is gone and Iraq held its first elections is played down.

Instead the focus is on the missing WMDs or the fact that 3,200 American lives were lost. While every life is precious, the lost of which is a tragedy to family members, it should be remembered that this war is cheap compared to other conflicts. It cost 500,000 lives in the Civil War before slavery was finally abolished. It cost about the same number of lives before Nazism and Fascism was defeated. It cost more than 100,000 lives in the wars against Communism. You can't fight a war without casualties.

For Bush's political rivals, the focus must always be on failure - no matter how small. The news media too must focus on failure. A story about an Iraqi mother and child walking down the road safely does not make the news. But a story about them blown apart by a suicide bomber would. Its the nature of news. Bad news raises ratings and advertising revenue. Good news don't sell.

For every Iraqi killed, thousands others go about their lives unmolested. But TV images of the victims of suicide bombers gives the impression that the Bush's policy of trying to plant a democracy in the Mid East is a failure. Democrats and the news media are of course please to call it a civil war. But it is not a failure and there is no civil war. Don't take it from me. Ask the Iraqis.

Iraqis: What Civil War?

In a survey, 61% of Iraqis think (1) their country is not in a Civil War as compared to only 27% of think otherwise. Most also think that their lives are better now than under Saddam Hussein. This means that American intervention is not a failure - unless US troops withdraw. Then you will get a Civil War.

Portraying your political opponents as failures is the nature of democracy. But it does undermine public morale in a war, making defeat more likely. The average voter also gets confused and loses his or her focus on what this war is about which is to prevent the spread of Radical Islamism. America wants to promote democracy and the Islamists want to promote the Islamic state. For Bush's political opponents, the most important thing is to win the next elections, not win the war against Radical Islamism. In fact, a victory would improve the electoral chances of the Republicans, their rivals.

To get voters to switch sides the Democrats must tell them that going into Iraq was a terrible mistake. But if its a mistake, the inescapable conclusion is to get out.That is why in the recent bill passed by both houses of Congress, now controlled by Democrats, calls for withdrawal to begin by October 1. Bush is certain to veto it.

But what would happen if the US withdraws from Iraq? A civil war is likely to ignite with Iran supporting supporting their thugs and the Saudis supporting theirs. Soon one thug will emerge victorious and you get an Islamic state that is hostile to the US. Its likely to be Shiite dominated because the majority of the Iraqis are Shiite and it is also likely allied to Iran.

Radical Islamism would have made a big gain after losing Afghanistan (the Sunni version). Iraq, like Iran would support radical Islamists throughout the world with their oil money. Meanwhile, a Bush administration weakened by its political opponents, seems to me to be losing its will in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Should that happen, it would be the first time that an Islamist state have nukes. Very soon, its Sunni rivals, the Saudis would want nukes too. The security of the free world, not least the USA, will be endangered. If you cannot stop drugs and illegal immigrants from crossing the porous Mexican border, you can't stop terrorists with nuclear materials crossing either. Don't forget that these Islamists are not deterred by Mutually Assured Destruction like the atheist Soviets. Indeed, martyrdom is an inducement to use nukes.

So the war against Islamism is going badly. Yet the election circus goes on with the Democrats putting their personal interests ahead of national interests. They of course want to get elected. It does not matter to them if national security is compromised by their behavior. But we should not blame them for this. The problem lies with the system which rewards such behavior.

As I said, to persuade voters to switch sides you must always portray your opponents as failures even if it undermines public morale in a war. That is why I said that politicians behave like entrepreneurs. A businessmen trying to sell a detergent has to slime 'Brand X' to persuade you to buy his product. That is why I have called them votrepreneurs because politicians are entrepreneurs trying to win your vote instead of money.

How to reform the system? In my first essay, 'Democracy needs a Reformation', I have called for a single eight year term for the President and Senators should be elected for life. House Reps will be elected for four years as before. The life term for Senators term is likely to provoke opposition. But I was trying to replicate the British House of Lords without the element of hereditary power. In my opinion, the British Parliament in the 19th century, when the unelected Lords of the Upper House had real power, protected national interests better than the elected clowns of today.

That is because the personal interests of the British monarch and nobles were more aligned with national interests.
The ruling class saw the country as belonging to them and wanted their sons to inherit a rich powerful country. Defending the country meant defending the privileges that the country had given them. Only problem was that in their pursuit of national interests, Britain and other European powers became expansionist and made life miserable for others - including my own ancestors. But that is a topic for another day. (By the way, the British House of Lords, the most undemocratic element in the British Parliament, opposed the recent Religious Hatred Act and helped to preserve liberty of speech. A much watered down act was eventually passed.)

By electing Senators for life (or at least for a long time), you have a body of people who need not constantly behave like salesmen. They are free to think of the long term good of the country. They should also be well paid. A system of reward based on objective measures of national welfare (eg employment, GDP growth, inflation rate etc) can be set up to align their personal interests with national ones.

A Lower House which faces elections every four years will inject the immediate needs of the people into the decision making process. The President with his eight year term can act as a balance between the Upper and Lower Houses. As I said in an earlier article, too much or too little democracy is undesirable. The time for reforms is now - before some terrorist smuggle in a nuclear device or a 'dirty bomb' across the border. This could result in the Constitution becoming suspended. Should democracy fail to protect the people, the people will lose faith in it totally and turn to a dictator or strong man. I don't want to see this happen.

(1)Iraqis: Life Getting Better


At 5:34 PM, Blogger Mr. Spog said...

If a senate consisting of members with life tenure were considered too undemocratic (as seems likely), one possibility would be to qualify its veto power, much as the U.S. President's veto power is already qualified. For example, the lower house might be given the right to override a Senate veto by a 2/3 vote. (Presumably the lower house would then need, e.g., a 3/4 supermajority to override combined vetoes by the Senate and President...)

This approach to limiting the formal powers of the upper house was proposed by the 19th-century British political thinker and historian W.E.H. Lecky, who saw that the legitimacy of the Lords was eroding, and hoped to arrest this decay by drawing clearer boundaries around the upper house's powers. Without some formal rule of this type, any move by the Lords to contradict the will of the Commons would be viewed as a threat to democratic supremacy. With such a rule, everyone would be assured that the Commons remained ultimately in charge (if it was sufficiently united on an issue), even if the Lords started to throw around its veto power quite often.

At 6:55 PM, Anonymous ohmyrus said...

You are right, Spog. The system can be further fine-tuned by allowing the lower house to veto the upper if it has a 2/3 majority.
I will put your comment on the front page.


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