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Democracy Comes to Iraq (Should We Try It Here?)

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Writing with all the insight of someone from an observation post in Washington, Myers assures us that the Iraqis don't really mean it, and "few in Iraq believe that it would be safe" for the Americans to leave ("few" in this case meaning "only about two-thirds"). These statements merely prove that Iraqi democracy has "matured" to the point where politicians must "pander to important constituencies" (the Times' own deep respect for democracy is showing here), and everyone "quietly" agrees to the need for our presence.

Did you ever wonder why newsmakers save their most sincere beliefs to be delivered in whispers, or even telepathically?

But this is Iraq, where no Western reporter dares leave his bungalow, and both their government and ours are about as transparent as a piece of obsidian. So who knows what's really going on? I wouldn't begin to predict where this is headed. All they've asked for is a timetable, and that could be anything from Barack Obama's 16 monthsJohn McCain's 100 years. The devil is always in the details. I'm sure pallets of money are being moved as we speak.

But the whole thing got me to thinking about an interesting parallel. For not only do the Iraqi people want American troops to leave Iraq. Americans want American troops to leave Iraq, too.

But while Iraqi public opinion has led to their politicians promising to make us leave, American public opinion has led to our politicians committing$162 billion more to keeping us there until -- well, until the next time they need more money to keep us there.

I find it a bit embarrassing for the world's oldest democracy to be so demonstrably less responsive to the will of its people than a country which has undergone several years of the most ghastly civil strife, prior to which it was under the iron grip of one of the world's most ruthless dictators. But there it is. That proud heir to the legacy of our Founding Fathers, vice president Dick Cheney, could not have put it better: "So?"

Of course, by the analysis of The New York Times, this only means our democracy has "matured."

I'll say. It's matured to the point one could be forgiven for thinking it died.

Either our politicians are dumber than the Iraqis, or they think we are.

Or then again, maybe it's not really about democracy. Maybe it's just about the oil.

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Gregg Gordon is a writer, musician, activist, and otherwise ne'er-do-well in Columbus, Ohio. "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." - Edmund Burke
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