‘Democracy’ and Mendacity

In the Ukraine, tens of thousands of protesters march through the streets demanding that pro-Russian Prime Minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich give up the reins of power: he stole the election, they claim. The whole thing was "rigged." How do they know this? Well, you see, the exit polls – conducted by Western organizations – showed their candidate, Viktor Yushchenko, the winner. When the final results didn’t jibe with the polls, and Yanukovich came out ahead, Yushchenko called his supporters out into the streets, anointed himself the winner, and threatened civil war.

Gee, why didn’t’ the Kerryites think of that? After all, early exit polls in the U.S. showed the Democratic candidate as the putative winner: on election day in the U.S., rumors of Kerry’s imminent victory were spurred by (possibly biased?) reporting based on the preliminary numbers that were coming in. According to the "logic" employed by Yushchenko and his Western supporters – including the EU, the OSCE, and U.S. government officials (and the White House) – this means Kerry is the actual winner of the November election, and a usurper sits in the Oval Office.

Plenty of people believe that already: Kerry had barely finished giving his concession speech before a cyber-subculture based on the premise that George W. Bush "stole" the election – and not only in Ohio – sprouted like mushrooms after a rain. In America, they’re derided as moonbatty conspiracy theorists – in my view, rightly so – but overseas, such people have their uses.

As brigades of "experts," international busybodies, and militant do-gooders worldwide sprang into action, denouncing the Ukrainian poll as beneath "international standards," the U.S. State Department chimed in, warning that Washington could cut back on a $143 million aid package if the Ukrainians insisted on electing the wrong candidate. The Christian Science Monitor cites State Department spokesman Adam Erali darkly threatening:

"Some action will definitely be taken if ‘in the final analysis, this election [proves] to be fundamentally flawed and tarnished.’"

This from a country whose leader got into office on the strength of a hanging chad and a single vote on the Supreme Court.

The U.S. government is for "democracy" overseas as long as the results are decided in advance. But when an election threatens to get out of hand by expressing the real sentiments of the people – watch out! In Iraq the other day, "President" Iyad Allawi‘s goons backed by U.S. forces stormed a Baghdad mosque, killed at least two people, and arrested dozens, including anti-occupation clerics for the "crime" of calling for a boycott of the elections scheduled for January 30.

Since voting has not been deemed mandatory, one wonders what the legal basis of this action will turn out to be. Or is it that just calling for a boycott was their real crime? In any case, the idea of outlawing a peaceful boycott so grotesquely inverts the traditional concept of democracy as the consent of the governed that it doesn’t even bear contemplating, let alone discussing. This is "democracy" with a definite Soviet flair: that is, a system imposed – at gunpoint – in which all meaningful dissent is ruthlessly crushed. And it isn’t just the mullahs who are feeling the back of America’s hand: the offices of Ahmed Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress, our former ally and recipient of millions in U.S. tax dollars, have been raided again, this time by "masked Iraqis [from the Interior Ministry] and heavily armed U.S. civilians," or at least that’s how the INC tells it.

Every time the troops of the Allawi regime come under fire from insurgents, they flee the battlefield – or defect to the ranks of their attackers. But shooting their way into a holy place and killing unarmed worshippers – that’s the only sort of job the American occupiers feel confident assigning to their Iraqi quislings. The Iraqi National Guards are widely reviled, and not just as traitors. The Australian reports the story of Um Fatima, whose husband fell in the battle of Fallujah, and her frantic effort to escape the city:

"’There was no time to wail and sob at the death of my husband. I knew that I had to leave immediately and get my girls out of Fallujah … there was no time to waste. I did not want to remain behind now. I was not afraid of death but I was afraid for the shame that might befall my daughters once the troops took the city."

And rightly so. As Fatima and her three daughters reached the place where city meets desert, they passed an American patrol, which didn’t acknowledge their existence, but they soon met Allawi’s goons, the ones we have invested so much in "training," and that’s when Fatima knew she was in trouble:

"The women then encountered a group of Iraqi national guards who questioned them incessantly. One of them eyed her eldest daughter and ordered her to be searched.

"’I told him no and begged him to let her be. I reminded him that we were Arabs, Muslims, and that this was prohibited in our culture and religion,’ Um Fatima said."

Oh, those Muslim fanatics! Haven’t they seen Desperate Housewives? Because those Iraqi "National Guards" apparently have:

"He grabbed the young woman’s hand and began to force a kiss on her, she said. The distraught mother hit him and tried to push him off as her other daughters began to cry.

"’There was not a soul in sight – a barren desert,’ she said. But suddenly two American soldiers appeared, perhaps from a passing patrol. One of them kicked the Iraqi, hit him and began to yell at him.

"Fatima, a chemistry student who speaks English, said the American was shouting: ‘If you were really here to liberate this city you would not treat the women this way. This is what people here believe how we behave and what they expect us Americans to do, but they do not expect this of you Iraqis.’

"Fatima added: ‘At that instant the evil forces that had killed my father became my angel and savior. The American saved me and the Iraqi assaulted me.’"

Opponents of U.S. intervention in Iraq, and particularly some conservatives who disdain "nation-building," have often argued that the effort to transplant Western institutions in Iraqi soil is doomed to wilt on the vine. In this case, however, It looks like the implantation of Western cultural norms is succeeding all too well.

The Iraqi elections were originally scheduled for January 1 – in typical Orwellian fashion, however, pushing the date back to the 30th was never acknowledged (and rarely reported) as a rescheduling. I guess they figured no one would remember the original plan.

The initial plan, however, was not to hold elections at all, but to install Chalabi and his cronies in power. There was just one problem with that: the Grand Ayatollah Sistani, spiritual leader of the 60 percent of Iraqis who follow the Shi’ite faith, would not hear of it, and he prevailed in the end. The Americans can keep pushing back the elections as long as they want, but sooner or later they are going to have to confront the reality of an elected government of Iraqis demanding an end to the occupation – and what’s the plan then? Shall we just move on to Iran, Syria, or points yet to be imagined – perhaps the Ukraine?

Let these self-proclaimed champions of the "global democratic revolution" hold a plebiscite in Iraq – not on which puppet of the Americans to install, but on the question of the Anglo-American occupation. Better yet, if the United States government is so intent on upholding "democracy" all across the globe, then let them start in their own country – where a well-known presidential candidate is kicked off the ballot because he dares get in the way of the powerful and the connected. In the Ukraine, it only takes a meeting of "no less than 500 voters" to nominate a presidential candidate: in America, it requires a legal team working 24/7 to battle the harassment and legal challenges of "major" party bosses.

The Afghan elections, hailed as a "success" by the Western media, were notoriously lax: votes were bought and sold, bales of ballots went missing, the "indelible" ink used to mark ballots was easily rubbed off: the whole country seemed to be engaged in a voter fraud competition – and the winner was "President" Hamid Karzai, the candidate of the Gucci Party.

Nothing quite so blatant tainted the Ukrainian election, yet the West is up in arms: a representative of the EU compared the Ukrainian poll to elections in North Korea! That this is coming from a spokesman for an entity that holds a "referendum" until it gets the "right" results – as in Denmark, Switzerland, and Ireland – brings to mind Big Daddy‘s famous bit from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof:

"What’s that smell in this room? Didn’t you notice it, Brick? Didn’t you notice the powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity in this room?"

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].