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THE DEMOCRACY BUSH BUILT?

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The Middle East Times publishes a perspective on the stunning success of Hamas, an organization that America deems a terrorist organization, in free elections in Palestine. It is a commentary on Bush's unilateral neoconservative ideology that will not receive wide circulation in the United States:

Fatah took on the role of absolute power inside the Occupied Territories, yet played pawn to the West and Israel, and lost sight of the reason for its creation - the liberation of the Palestinian people. In the end, Palestinians were put into a precarious position: Vote for conservatism or vote for corruption. With the vote for conservatism, however, came the possibility of stability, improved social programs and a long needed crackdown on corruption. Conservative Hamas glided into the finish line victorious.

One cannot solely blame Fatah for its loss. America, Israel and the European Union delivered the Palestinians a blunt message, "Do not elect Hamas ... or else." This - coupled with the collapsing of Fatah and its lack of commitment to rebuild infrastructure and social programs - energized the pro-Hamas movement who rejected Western influence.

The world witnessed a similar occurrence in Iran before their elections, "Go moderate ... or else". Yet, the people of the Middle East don't deal well with threats from the West - especially those who don't have the slightest interest in democracy.

Instead of building a base of legitimacy for Abu Mazen and supporting progressive and democratic movements in Palestine, America and Israel undermined the very process. Israel foolishly believed that it could deligitimize Abu Mazen and Fatah to the point of non-negotiation without a viable alternative emerging within Palestinian society. America, as usual, went along for the ride to preserve its interests.

These elections have proven the failure of unilateralism. An occupier cannot force the occupied into concession by pretending that they don't exist. In this case, the occupied shifted toward a conservative movement that does a better job feeding Palestinian children, sending them to school and rebuilding bulldozed houses.

Hamas chose to fight against injustice, rather than give into it. While some of Hamas' methods in the past, i.e. suicide bombings and targets on a civilian population, are morally reprehensible, they were fighting against the injustice of occupation - the same could not be said for Abu Mazen and Fatah.

Juan Cole, Informed Consent (a TPJ favorite) made a similar case with the election results in Iraq. Bush's war of democratic liberation bears very strange fruit.

The election in Iraq has produced a government that will be based on fundamental religious principals. Juan Cole reaches these conclusions:

[T]he Shiite religious coalition will certainly form the government for the next 4 years and will provide the prime minister. Their victory is a major setback for the Bush administration, which had backed the secular list of Iyad Allawi, al-Iraqiyah. The Iraqiyah's representation was substantially cut back, to only 25 seats. . . .

The Shiite religious parties have warm relations with Tehran and form a new arena for Iranian influence in the Middle East. The Bush administration hope that Allawi or his list members can be shoe-horned into important posts in the new government strikes me as forlorn unless there is American coercion of some sort. They lost, and the spoils go to winners. . . .

Significant Sunni participation in the parliament, with 58 seats altogether, will not affect the guerrilla movement, which rejects the new style of politics. Guerrillas have unleashed grisly bombing campaigns that show no sign of letting up.

If Cole's assessments are correct, Bush removed Saddam, who served as an aggressive bulwark against the Iranians, from power. In his place, Bush's democratic Iraq is a potential ally of fundamental religious forces in the region. It will be a fundamental religious regime that controls some 20%+ of the world's known oil reserves.

A fundamental religious regime in Iraq is an ironic, but not surprising, twist that further confirms that Bush's radical neoconservative philosophy and world vision are criminally flawed.

Every citizen must ask, have Bush and the radical Republicans made America safer?


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