The Right side of history

They say it can’t, and shouldn’t be done.

Kuwaitis demonstrate for women’s suffrage

KUWAIT (Reuters) - Around 500 Kuwaiti activists, mostly women, have demonstrated outside parliament to demand female suffrage amidst tensions in the Gulf Arab state over a government drive to grant women political rights.

"Women's rights now," chanted the crowd, which included women dressed in abayas, or traditional long black cloaks. Some of the demonstrators at Monday's protest wore veils over their faces.

"Our democracy will only be complete with women," said a placard written in Arabic. "We are not less, you are not more. We need a balance, open the door," said one written in English. Kuwaitis demonstrate for women's suffrage

Oh, the irony. It almost hurts.

The left is on record advocating the suppression of these women in the Middle East. You know... "It's not our problem," and "They don't want freedom and democracy imposed on them." Just the kind of 'realist' foreign policy that says we shouldn't meddle in the affairs of dictators because, well, they have their own culture, and ours is no better after all.

So why do these women feel that now is the time to rise up? What has happened so recently that would foment this kind of atmosphere for freedom? ...It's a mystery.

Maybe it was the 'speaking truth to power' performed by the leftist human shields who realized, after they couldn't stop Bush's war of imperialist aggression in Iraq, that they could stay and make the region a better, more progressive place using the same tactics they do in so-called 'free' countries. (A long shot, I know, since they all returned to their oppressive capitalist homelands as quickly as possible.)

Or perhaps it's the new 'culture of fear' engendered by the Patriot Act amongst the all male power structure there?*

When there's a suggestion of a connection between Iraq and 9/11, the left has a kind of reflexive seizure.

"9/11 had nothing to do with Iraq! We were never attacked by Iraq! Iraq never had any WMD!"

The connection is simple: 9/11 happened. We invaded Afghanistan, toppling a brutal fascist state, and put them on the path to democracy. Then we invaded Iraq, toppling a brutal fascist state, and put them on the path to democracy. The connection is the Middle East and democracy.

Washington has been pressing its allies in the Middle East to bring in political reforms, saying lack of freedom and democracy have fostered violent Islamic militancy.

Kuwaiti women have traditionally been more liberal and educated than those in other Gulf states, who have already won political rights in Bahrain and Qatar. Kuwaitis demonstrate for women's suffrage

"You can't impose democracy!"

No you can't. They have to want it. My question to the left is, is there a reason why you don't think they want democracy? Is there a reason that the idea of free markets is scarier to you than fascist states? And if so, why?

"No one asked America to go over there and give the Iraqi's democracy. In fact, if the Iraqi's had really wanted democracy they would have overthrew Saddam themselves! Iraqi's just don't want democracy."

I looked for Michael Moore's statements about this at the Republican Convention, I really did. These will have to do:

Iraqis go to the polls today in an imposed civics lesson on democracy, courtesy of President George W. Bush. Few are betting on its success.

Today also marks the 33rd anniversary of a tragedy with disturbing parallels to those in Iraq -- Bloody Sunday, when members of the British Parachute Regiment gunned down 14 unarmed civil-rights marchers in Derry, Northern Ireland.

* * *

In fact, the President has made a series of catastrophic decisions ... from the beginning ... in Iraq. At every fork in the road, he has taken the wrong turn and led us in the wrong direction.

...If George W. Bush is re-elected, he will cling to the same failed policies in Iraq -- and he will repeat, somewhere else, the same reckless mistakes that have made America less secure than we can or should be.

* * *

MR. RUSSERT: Do you believe this election will be seen by the world community as legitimate?

SEN. KERRY: A kind of legitimacy--I mean, it's hard to say that something is legitimate when a whole portion of the country can't vote and doesn't vote. I think this election was important. I was for the election taking place. You may recall that back in--well, there's no reason you would--but back in Fulton, Missouri, during the campaign, I laid out four steps, and I said at the time, "This may be the president's last chance to get it right."

"I was for the election taking place..." Just not on June 30th, I recall.

"Spreading democracy is a naive and even dangerous illusion."

The Bush administration's initiative on Middle East democracy has been widely portrayed as ending with a whimper at a trio of international summits this month. [June 21st, 2004] Opposition from France and other European skeptics forced a watering down of the democracy initiatives by the Group of Eight and NATO; several big Arab governments, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, spurned what was left. In Washington, foreign policy "realism" is back in fashion, thanks to the trouble in Iraq: Both the Democrats around John F. Kerry and a number of powerful Republicans are saying Bush's vision of spreading democracy is a naive and even dangerous illusion.

Should we respect their culture and not impose our foreign values on them? After all there are many other dictatorships out there, are we going to invade them all?

Perhaps we don't have to. Far from reckless, this President did what needed to be done in the time that it needed doing.

The invasion of Afghanistan was fully warranted, yet it was still protested by many on the left. And yes, the invasion of Iraq was an elective war. We elected to proclaim that the new standard is freedom, and turn the strategic tables on terror.

But almost all of them say that Bush's preaching on democracy over the past year, and the modest action that has come with it, has changed the terms of debate about the future of the Middle East, both in and outside the region. Bush's campaign "frightened people," King Abdullah of Jordan said in an interview here last week.* "But it also allowed some of us to say that if we don't come up with our own initiative, something will be forced on us. And once you say you are going to reform, you trigger a process that you can't turn back." - June 21st, 2004

Freedom and Democracy at the point of a sword? Sure, if you consider your local police to be keeping the peace 'at the point of a gun', then yeah.

I believe that time, and history, are on our side because the people of the middle east are people just like we are, with the same minds, the same hearts, and the same human nature.

Posted by Eric Simonson at March 8, 2005 2:41 AM