Thursday, April 15, 2004
I try to check my comments section regularly, but sometimes I miss one. I wish Haloscan had some kind of alert system. This one was pointed out to me. To my post of April 9th (just scroll down), regarding civilian casualties in Iraq, David says:
The Americans will just say what they should say, something like: "We're really sorry if noncombatants were hurt, but we're doing our best." And the terrorists will just lie. In that neck of the woods, I wouldn't trust the word of anyone but the Americans.
I was puzzled at the phrasing, “the Americans,” but the email address indicates that David lives in Australia. I forget that this Internet doohickey is worldwide. So, welcome to my friends from down under, and say hello to Tim Blair for me.
David’s comment gave me a thought: why is it that American officials are trustworthier than our enemies? I’m going to suggest two reasons.
One, while the insurgents aren’t exactly terrorists (based on my own not-so-clear definition), they are using tactics that do not inspire trust. Guerrilla tactics in an urban setting: look like a civilian, use civilians as cover, force your opponent (that is, us) to risk destroying homes and mosques.
Two, and stay with me on this one, the insurgents don’t have anyone to answer to. Their goal is chaos. Their goal is to prevent the creation of a democratic government. They aren’t trying to win friends. American leaders, and the leaders of other coalition nations, do have someone to answer to. They have constituencies. If they get out of line, if it turns out they’re lying to us, if a sufficient number of us believe they’re lying to us, they’ll be voted out (just ask Aznar, and note that Bush, Blair, and Howard all face elections in the next twelve months). Be cynical if you want to, but democracy works. Our foes in Iraq don’t have to worry about that.
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