Boot-On-Neck Democracy.

Boot-On-Neck Democracy.


Iraqi Voter

The Iraqi people want us dead.

About six in 10 Iraqis say they approve of attacks on U.S.-led forces, and slightly more than that want their government to ask U.S. troops to leave within a year, a poll finds.

Six in ten. So an IED goes off in a Baghdad neighborhood and ten Iraqis look out of their windows to see what’s going on. They see American soldiers or marines lying dead or dismembered on the ground. And six of those ten say, “Good, serves ’em right.”

I supported this war. And I supported it specifically on the theory that we were going to turn Iraq into a Democracy.

I’ve also stated that it never occurred to me that we were going to let Iraqis handle the transition to Democracy. I assumed we were doing Japan 1945. I assumed we were going to type up a constitution, hand it to whoever we hadn’t killed during the initial attack and say, “Here, do this. If you don’t, we’ll shoot you.” Boot-on-neck democratization.

(read the rest at Sideways Mencken.)

  • Jimmy the Dhimmi

    The entire german and japanese population was absolutely devestated by the allies in 1945 and any cultural identity related to liebensraum or imperial shitoism was utterly wiped out.

    I guess leaving modern Arab culture in place, though it was the only morally acceptable way to prosecute the war, will inevitably fail us, and Bush was wrong that all people yearn for freedom from tyranny. Particularly those who subscribe to a 7th century death-cult.


  • Joshua

    […] Bush was wrong that all people yearn for freedom from tyranny.

    To be more precise, Bush was wrong in assuming that all people have the same definition of tyranny, let alone the same idea of what it means to be free from it. Of course, Bush wasn’t the only one. It probably has never occurred to a lot of Westerners that to a large number of Muslims, life under shari’a is freedom from tyranny.

    Sideways and Jimmy are right about one thing: to change this attitude would have required a wholesale reinvention of Iraqi society at gunpoint. But this is where we see the crippling flaw of pre-emptive war come into play – when initiated by democracies, it is naturally self-inhibiting. Vigorous warfare requires a sense of urgency, which, as we have seen, is very hard to instill among voters in the absence of an imminent or actual attack – an open-ended threat, no matter how credible, isn’t enough. Yet pre-emptive war, by its very nature, is fought under non-urgent conditions. Indeed, its very purpose is to prevent urgent conditions from arising in the first place. This makes it that much harder to convince citizens that the war, or the postwar, ought to be waged with the gloves off.

    I know I would have had deep reservations about forcibly transforming Iraq a la post-WWII Japan, but I also know it would be a vastly different story had the Iraq war begun with a mushroom cloud over a Western city.

  • m.takhallus


    That is a very smart point. You’re absolutely right that pre-emptive warfare by it’s nature is self-inhibiting. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thanks.

  • Alan Stewart Carl


    That’s a well-written, highly perceptive point. And it ties into a personal theory of mine: that Bush has half-assed this war because he believed he could never convince the American people to take it on with full force. So, he asked no sacrificies of the homefront. He approved military plans that were meek and as morally justifiable as war can be. And he continually uses small tweaks rather than serious overhauls to try to fix the mess.

    He sold us an easy war because he didn’t think he could sell a hard one. Problem is, victory in Iraq will be/would have been hard. Hard moral choices. Hard homefront sacrifices. Hard resolve.

    But that’s a hard sell and Bush instead opted for the easy one. Problem is, he and his administration believed their own marketing.

  • DosPeros

    Boot-on-neck democratization is exactly what we should have gone for. The Iraq War is the pathetic consequence of trying to apply a multi-culturalist ethic via war.

    You are absolutely correct that we should have handed them a written, canned constitution and said, “Apply or Die — vote for whoever you want, but you are having elections every 4 years and you will respect freedom the press”.

    I do not buy this argument: Democracy takes a long time and the US is any example of that. No, democracy is quick, even if equality takes a long time. Anyway, good post.

  • JustAnotherIdjut

    Good post. Sometimes I’m pleasantly surprised at what I find here.

    It’s what I’ve said all along… We should have pounded them into submission from the very beginning. Things would be a lot easier now.
    More bombs would’ve been much more effective than more troops.

  • sleipner

    The biggest problem with the concept is that boot-on-neck democracy is TOTALLY IMMORAL. We have NO right whatsoever to tell other civilizations how they should live their lives, just because we think our civilization is better than theirs.

    Sure, I’m totally against any culture that is xenophobic, misogynistic, homophobic, and follows various other backwards philosophies, but I believe that if that’s where their culture is currently situated, it is their own responsibility to change it. We can exert influence to change it, but invasion at gunpoint is utterly immoral, and is almost certain to fail.

    Frankly our own culture may be viewed in such a light by some more modern civilizations (such as those in Europe), but I don’t see them mobilizing to take over the USA. Of course they couldn’t, because we spend way more than should be necessary on the military.