03 February, 2005

Iraqi elections

In case anyone is wondering, I think the Iraqi elections were wonderful. The elections don't provide a legal justification after the fact for invading the country, any more than the observation that we're better off with Saddam and his regime out of power. But if we're there anyway, for whatever reason, we owe it to the people whose territory we are occupying to help them make the transition to a working democracy that respects the rights of every individual.

Cultural imperialism? Maybe. In response, let me suggest that

(1) the political culture we're trying to export is a lot better than the one they had, and

(2) the response of the people to the opportunity suggests that the Iraqi people agree with me.

"Shocked! Shocked!"

There's a memorable scene in the movie Casablanca where the Chief of Police, who has been gambling in Rick's Cafe all night, finds that he is required by Vichy politics and Nazi complaints to close the place.

"I'm shocked! Shocked! To find gambling in this establishment!"

Waiter: "Here's your winnings, sir."

"Thank you. I am required to close this cafe!..."

Somehow, it comes to mind when I read about the U.S. position on the oil-for-food scandal. As long as it served our interests, we failed to officially notice it. And now,

"We're shocked! Shocked!"

Mysterious death in Georgia?

I hope this was just an accident. After the poisoning of Yushenko in Ukraine, I get nervous.

It was probably an accident.

Wasn't it?