When thinking about our continuing occupation in Iraq I always think of two quotes which I found to be true:
When liberty is taken away by force it can be restored by force. When it is relinquished voluntarily by default it can never be recovered. -Dorothy Thompson (1894-1961) American Newspaper Columnist
"If I were an American, as I am an Englishman, while a foreign troop was landed in my country I never would lay down my arms,- never! never! never!" -William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, during a speech November 18, 1777
These are, in essence, the basis of my opinion. For democracy to prevail in such a war-torn country as Iraq, they must propagate their own form of a democratic society. This may not necessarily match our version in the U.S. Few countries have such a difficult set of decisions to make concerning how to be fair to all religious groups inhabiting their land and make any form of democracy work. How does one make democracy work in such an environment ? Most religions work upon some mutual goals: respect for other religions, commonalities in philosophies and personal deportment, working for the common good even among widely-differing opinions. Radical Islam is a rare exception to this rule and intolerance is rampant and militant in most cases. The basis of their religion in many respects is undemocratic.
So what is the answer?
I believe that democracy requires that the governed body of people have important points of contact in like-mindedness. They must respect a specific set of rights- whatever they determine those to be. They do not necessarily need to share the same culture. (The U.S. couldn't be more culturally diverse, right?) They need to appreciate all cultures and find ways to accommodate others.
Militarism needs to be set aside. That won't happen as long as the United States Armed Forces reside in Iraq, it's as simple as that. Look at the type of societies run on militarism and you can see what kind of environment it creates. N. Korea, Saudi Arabia, Jerusalem, etc. Iraq has not actually changed much and it won't as long as we're there. They need to create a society that is intolerant of fascist states of mind and ways of governing. They need a real and kind leader to step up to the plate. I don't know if they have such a person but they need one.
The United States had George Washington. Any prospects Iraq ?
The Castle Lady sends out lots of encouragement !