Monday, August 16, 2004
Juan Cole has it going on today. On Bush's rejection of John Kerry's proposal to reduce U.S. troop strength in Iraq, assuming international assistance can be brought to bear:
How long does Mr. Bush plan on keeping 138,000 US troops in Iraq? What is this project going to cost the American taxpayer? What does Mr. Bush plan to do if the situation remains so unstable that elections are not feasible in January? What are Mr. Bush's real plans for Iraq, such that his "mission" there cannot be completed within one year? What exactly is the mission? Because if it is forcing Western democracy on Iraq and then holding up Iraq as a model to other Middle Easterners, that is not working out very well. Iraq under the Bush administration is the worst advertisement for democracy in the history of the world.And, on Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani:
Western reporters keep saying that Sistani believes in the separation of religion and state, but this is not true. Sistani wants religious law to be the law of the land and when parliament takes up legislation related to moral or social matters on which Sistani has a position, he expects the Shiite members of parliament to do as he says.
I suppose it is the sort of system that the Christian Coalition and the religious wing of the Republican Party would like to implement in the United States. Indeed, it is because the Republicans have elements of this sort of system in place that President Bush limited stem cell research and pushed for a constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriage. Some people warn that because Sistani wants religious law and clerical influence, he is a Trojan Horse for theocracy. If so, then so are Tom Delay and George W. Bush and their allies among the evangelical Protestant ayatollahs.