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News and views on Israel, Zionism and the war on terrorism.

May 09, 2003

Does he realize what he's saying?

I don't think that Oslophile, Thomas Friedman, understood what he wrote in his most recent column:

It isn't often you get to see a live political science experiment, but that is what we're about to witness in Iraq as the first interim Iraqi government is formed from the different factional leaders in the country. What American advisers and this Iraqi interim government will attempt to answer is the most fundamental question facing the Arab world and many developing countries: How do you get from here to there? How do you go from a brutal authoritarian regime to a decent, accountable, democratizing society, without ending up with an Iranian-style theocracy or chaos?

Interestingly enough, what the smartest experts in the democracy field all seem to agree on is that this interim Iraqi authority should not focus on holding national elections — the hardware of democracy. Elections should come last. Instead, it must start with the software — building, brick by brick, the institutions of a free society — so that when people do get to vote, when national power is up for grabs, they have a range of choices and can be assured that there will be a rotation of power.
Well one thing you don't do is give the tyrant control of all apparatuses of government and no penalties for misbehavior. That's what happened with Oslo and it didn't seem to bother Mr. Friedman. Oslo failed because the "software" was ignored. The Palestinians used every government body necessary to deliver their message of hatred towards Israel and Jews. Instead of building commerce they built weapons factories and organizations to smuggle them. Friedman and others in similar positions had a responsibility to point this out. They didn't.
Cross posted to IsraPundit and Doubting Thomas.