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Afghan Democracy(10 posts)

Afghan DemocracyDwayne Barry
Mar 24, 2003 9:33 AM
I know we didn't go into Afghan to establish a democracy but you would think we would try.

Then I heard Ari Flescher (sp?) use Afghanistan as an example describing us as having established "a government representative of the people". But i couldn't remember elections taking place.

I guess this is what he was talking about:

I hope we do better in Iraq. Again, this makes me doubt the Bush adminstration's frankness. If you're going to claim the moral high-ground why engage in half-truths?
World Socialist Web Site???Alpedhuez55
Mar 24, 2003 9:51 AM
You are accusing the Bush administration of half truths by posting from a left wing Socialist Party website? Are we supposed to take everything they write as the gospel truth?

Give a little time for Afghanistan to develop. Iraq is a largely educated and advanced society. THe situation will be much different there.

Mike Y.
Please forgive me...Dwayne Barry
Mar 24, 2003 10:07 AM
I'm sure you can point me to a site that will decribe the elections that took place in Afghanistan that makes this a "government representative of the people" rather than one of warlords and their militias.
sounds just right to memohair_chair
Mar 24, 2003 9:55 AM
Wow, infighting and mixed motives, people storming out, pre-canned speeches, intelligence operatives lurking about, etc.

Sounds like exactly what goes on in this country! They have that democracy thing nailed! If only they had wealthy campaign contributors and corporations, it would be perfect.

Give me a break. First of all, a lot of people confuse the terms democracy and republic. There are no democracies in the world today. Republics, however, abound. What the Afghans have is the beginnings of a republic that may or may not succeed.

If you go back 235 years and look at what was happening at the beginning of the United States, you'll discover that there was a lot of screaming and shouting and pissing matches and fights and slamming doors, etc. Not everyone wanted to start a revolution, and there were impassioned pleas on both sides. When war came, neighbors sometimes fought each other. Hopefully, you know how it turned out.

You should also know that the republic in this country had very shaky foundations, and only the true brilliance of the founding fathers, and even more important, the equally superb next generation of leaders (Webster, Clay, Jackson, et. al.) could hold it together. It came apart in the 1850s and we ended up fighting a civil war.

So give the Afghans a few years to figure it out. It seems only fair. Afghanistan will probably never have a true republican government because of the tribal situation. But it can exist as a loose federation of states with common interests (defense, trade, etc.). They have to start somewhere, and trying to bring the tribes together to talk about it, even if unsuccessful at first, has to be tried. What else are they supposed to do?
You missed the point of the post...Dwayne Barry
Mar 24, 2003 10:05 AM
it's not if democracy or a republic will ultimately work in Afghanistan, it's that the Bush administration represents it as "a government representative of the people".

If the current Afghanistan can be described as such, why not China. I mean there is a small body of non-elected officials that do "elect" the next leader.
how does that compare?mohair_chair
Mar 24, 2003 10:26 AM
Would you say the United States government is truly representative of the people? I mean, how many people who could vote actually vote? (And are their votes counted correctly?)

I agree that "a government representative of the people" is kind of a stupid thing to say, because by what measure could you ever prove it true? I'm sure you can find some opium farmers up in the hills of Afghanistan who have no idea there even is a government, much less who it is. But just because they aren't participating, doesn't mean they aren't represented.

That's part of what a republic is about. You elect representatives and they do the talking. Ideally you elect ones that represent the interests of your region, so even people who live there but don't participate in the process are represented. Ideally, all leaders, even dictators, have the interests of everyone in mind, and therefore can claim that they are "a government representative of the people." If the people disagree, they should oust their representatives and find new ones. It happened here 235 years ago.
American Short Attention Span SyndromeTJeanloz
Mar 24, 2003 11:32 AM
That article, written in June, 2002, seems to seriously lack any perspective of time. Operation Enduring Freedom began on October 7, 2001; this writer is complaining about the Afghan government in place eight months after the bombs began falling. Is there any serious expectation that it is possible to have a democratic government up and running in eight months? In the American Revolution, armed conflict began in 1775, yet we didn't have a federal democracy until 1789 -- fourteen years later. More recently, World War II ended in 1945, West Germany didn't become a democratic state until 1949. So again, I ask, is there any reasonable expectation that Afghanistan should have a democracy in place eight months after the conflict began?

Ari Fleischer is actually quite correct in saying that the Government of Afghanistan is representative of the people. As the article points out, there was a lot of give-and-take to get a compromise government in place. At this point, the last thing we would want to do in Iraq is take over control this week and hold elections next week. The Shia would overwhelmingly win, and the new government might well persecute the Sunni who have abused them for so long. Certain steps need to be taken to make a country ready for peaceful democracy.
American Short Attention Span SyndromeClydeTri
Mar 24, 2003 12:23 PM
Geesh...I finally agree totally with TJeanloz....couldnt have said it better....
So let me get this straight...Dwayne Barry
Mar 24, 2003 1:51 PM
a government that exists because the hand-picked-by-the-west leader is "elected" in large part because deals were cut that allowed the warlords (elected by no one but their fellow thugs with guns) to control major cities. That the thugs threatened and even in some instances assasinated some electors who didn't see things their way is a "representative government"?

I totally agree with the idea that a full-blown democracy is not a realistic expectation for now and that the article I originally cited is heavily biased in tone. But I checked several other cites and the basic facts aren't different.

I guess we'll just have to disagree on the meaning of representative government.
A matter of degree...TJeanloz
Mar 24, 2003 2:05 PM
Is it perfectly representative? No. But it is better than having one warlord choose for everyone. And the government was inclusive of not just Pashtuns, but also Tajiks, Hazara, and Uzbeks. It is far more representative than the government that it replaced, and has a mandate to conduct full elections no later than June 2004, which seems reasonable from where I sit.