Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, while far from endorsing an Iranian-style theocracy, has avoided ruling out an Islamic government. “Why cannot an Islamic form of government that has as its basis the faith of Islam not also be democratic?” he asked in an interview with the Dubai-based station al-Arabiya on Thursday. “Just because one is in an Arab country or one is practicing the Muslim faith, to suggest that, therefore, you are denied the benefits of democracy, I think is a false choice. Democracy can coexist with any faith,” Mr. Powell said in a separate interview with the U.S.-funded Radio Sawa. [Washington Times, 4/26/03]

Separation of church and state? “That’s just our culture; other cultures can make other choices.”

But why then insist on democracy? That’s just our culture too; why not let other cultures make other choices?

But not having democracy is tyrannical, Powell might say. Well, not having a separation of church and state is tyrannical too. If you’re not willing to pass moral judgments on other people’s cultures, then don’t–but then you have nothing to say. If we’re going to insist on democracy in the name of preventing tyranny, then we should at least be honest about the fact that we are passing a moral judgment on what kind of government we’re willing to tolerate in that society–and then we should be consistent in doing so.

Freedom cannot coexist with any faith–most faiths to one extent or another oppose essential elements of freedom, and all faiths oppose the basis of freedom: the absolutism of reason. Powell seems to think that as long as there is “democracy” then the government can choose to do whatever it wants. But this is not freedom; it is the tyranny of the majority. If he believes that, he is not fit to be serving as a government official in a free country.

Rumsfeld is much better on this:

“This much is certain,” Mr. Rumsfeld told reporters at the Pentagon. “A vocal minority clamoring to transform Iraq in Iran’s image will not be permitted to do so. We will not allow the Iraqi people’s democratic transition to be hijacked by those who might wish to install another form of dictatorship.”

Let’s remember, too, that George Bush the elder is the one who first brought us Colin Powell–and both of them are the ones who stopped short of taking out Saddam Hussein the first time. I completely agree with Chip Joyce on this:

What the first George Bush did in 1991–stop short of taking out the Iraqi government and inciting a Shi’ite revolution and then betraying it–was hideous. His foreign policy was as bad as, and I think arguably worse than, President Clinton’s. He made Saddam Hussein a hero who inspired jihad against the West. … [He] had the CIA tell these terrified people: revolt and we’ll back you up. They revolted and no one backed them up. Thousands were massacred and thousands more were tortured and imprisoned as a direct result of this betrayal. [About the War, 4/23/03]

And for the sake of what? In order to preserve an international coalition for the purpose of contriving “peace” between the Israelis and the Palestinians. And we know how well that worked out.

For further reading: Bush Should Fire Colin Powell

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