micah holmquist's irregular thoughts and links

Welcome to the musings and notes of a Cadillac, Michigan based writer named Micah Holmquist, who is bothered by his own sarcasm.

Please send him email at micahth@chartermi.net.

Holmquist's full archives are listed here.

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Sites Holmquist trys, and often fails, to go no more than a couple of days without visiting (some of which Holmquist regularly swipes links from without attribution)

Aljazeera.Net English
AlterNet (War on Iraq)
Alternative Press Review
Always Low Prices -- Always
Another Irani online
antiwar.com (blog)
Asia Times Online
Axis of Logic
Baghdad Burning (riverbend)
BBC News
blogdex.net ("track this weblog")
The Christian Science Monitor (Daily Update)
Common Dreams
Daily Rotten
Democracy Now
The Drudge Report
Eat the Press (Harry Shearer, The Huffington Post)
Empire Notes (Rahul Mahajan)
frontpagemag.com (HorowitzWatch)
Guardian Unlimited
The Independent
Information Clearing House
Informed Comment (Juan Cole)
Iranians for Peace

Iraq Dispatches (Dahr Jamail)
Iraqi Democrats Against Occupation
Iraq Occupation and Resistance Report (Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice)
Mr. Show and Other Comedy
The Narco News Bulletin (blog)
The New York Times
Occupation Watch
Political Theory Daily Review
Press Action
Project Syndicate
Raed in the Middle (Raed Jarrar)
The Simpsons Archive
Simpsons Collector Sector
Technorati ("search for mth.blogspot.com")
United States Central Command
U.S. Embassy Baghdad, Iraq
War Report (Project on Defense Alternatives)
The Washington Post
Wildfire (Jo Wilding)
wood s lot
www.mnftiu.cc (David Rees)

Blogs that for one reason or another Holmquist would like to read on at least something of a regular basis (always in development)

Thivai Abhor
As'ad AbuKhalil
Ken Adrian
Christopher Allbritton
Douglas Anders
Mark W. Anderson
Aziz Ansari
Atomic Archive
James Benjamin
Elton Beard
Charlie Bertsch
alister black
Blame India Watch
Blog Left: Critical Interventions Warblog / war blog
Igor Boog
Martin Butler
Chris Campbell
James M. Capozzola
Avedon Carol
Elaine Cassel
cats blog
Jeff Chang
Margaret Cho
Citizens Of Upright Moral Character
Louis CK
Les Dabney
Natalie Davis
Scoobie Davis
The Day Job
Jodi Dean
Dominic Duval
Steve Earle
Daniel Ellsberg
Tom Engelhardt
Lisa English
Barbara Flaska
Brian Flemming
Joe Foster
Yoshie Furuhashi
Al Giordano
Rob Goodspeed
Grand Puba
Guardian Unlimited Weblog
Pete Guither
The Hairy Eyeball
Ray Hanania
Mark Hand
Hector Rottweiller Jr's Web Log Jim Henley Arvin Hill Hit & Run (Reason) Hugo Clark Humphrey Indri The Iraqi Agora Dru Oja Jay Jeff Lynne d Johnson Dallas Jones Julia Kane Blues Benjamin Kepple Ken Layne Phil Leggiere Brian Linse Adam Magazine Majority Report Radio Marc Maron Josh Marshall Jeralyn Merritt J.R. Mooneyham Michael Scott Moore Bob Morris Bob Mould Mr. Show and Tell Muslims For Nader/Camejo David Neiwert NewPages Weblog Aimee Nezhukumatathil Sean O'Brien Patton Oswalt The Panda's Thumb Randy Paul Rodger A. Payne Ian Penman politx Neal Pollack Greg Proops Pro-War.com Pure Polemics Seyed Razavi Rayne Simon Reynolds richardpryor.com Clay Richards Mike Rogers Yuval Rubinstein
Steven Rubio
Saragon Noah Shachtman Court Schuett The Simpsons Archive Amardeep Singh Sam Smith Soundbitten Jack Sparks Ian Spiers Morgan Spurlock Stand Down: The Left-Right Blog Opposing an Invasion of Iraq Aaron Stark Morgaine Swann Tapped (The American Prospect) tex Matthew Tobey Annie Tomlin Tom Tomorrow The University Without Condition Jesse Walker Warblogger Watch Diane Warth The Watchful Babbler The Weblog we have brains Matt Welch
Alex Whalen
Jon Wiener
Lizz Winstead
James Wolcott
Wooster Collective
Mickey Z

Monday, July 14, 2003
Late democracy

"Iraq has taken its first step towards self-government since the fall of Saddam Hussein with the inaugural meeting of a governing council composed of Iraqi nationals," the BBC reported yesterday. "The new body, whose 25 members were chosen by the US-led coalition occupying Iraq, met amid tight security in the former Ministry for Military Industry building in Baghdad."

Although there is some question as to what this council will actually do and Iraqis reportedly are skeptical of its ability to represent them, the formation of this council does represent a step in what is likely the path towards some form of Iraqi democratic self-rule. The Bush Administration has made too much of bringing "democracy" and "freedom" to Iraq to turn back, and so, short of the U.S. being forcibly removed from the country, it appears almost certain that the U.S. will set up some form of democratic governance in Iraq in the near future. However, such a system is not likely to come to fruition until the U.S. has taken care of its major concerns in the country and the democracy is unable to challenge those concerns.

While that may sound like a conspiracy theory, I came to this conclusion through an analysis of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's own word in late May, an analysis that was bolstered by what Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Thursday:

...we now have to focus on the future, and that is to build a better Iraq for the Iraqi people, and help them put in place a representative form of government that will make sure that there are never any more weapons of mass destruction in this country, and that it's a country that will live in peace with its neighbors.
There is nothing about having "a representative form of government" that is inconsistent with having weapons of mass destruction. Democracies like the U.S. have developed weapons of mass destruction, while a country like Russia has moved towards democracy while continuing to possess such weapons. Powell can only make such a statement because to Team Bush "a representative form of government" actually means, "a government that is largely compliant with U.S. desires and which reaches this position through a modicum of popular and representative decision making."

This is nothing new. Throughout the Cold War the U.S. attacked Soviet bloc countries for their lack of democracy, but, as U.S. involvement in anti-democratic coups in Guatemala in 1954 and Chile in 1973 make clear, democracy was not necessarily enough for the U.S. to leave a country alone. As Slavoj Zizek observes in 2002's Welcome to the Desert of the Real, more recently "democracy" in the context of the Palestinian people is a term that has come to be used to refer to scenario where the Palestinians are defeated and demoralized to the point of giving up on the use of violence as a tactic in their struggle for some conception of "liberation."

This phenomenon can be seen a group like the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a group that only seems interested in defending democracies when doing so coincides with exporting democracy to other countries so as to get them on the same page as the U.S. Democracy is the preferred form of an obedient regime, in other words.

If the construction of such a democracy in Iraq goes relatively smoothly, and there are of course those who want to prevent that from happening, the Iraqi experience will likely become a model for the U.S. to follow when taking over other countries and establishing new governments. It is worth noting, however, that President George W. Bush has made a gesture towards promoting democracy in countries that the U.S. does in fact get along with. At the same time, it would be foolish for the U.S. to start attacking allies -why make more people hate you and cause your resources to be further stretched for little gain-, and one would like to believe something that almost certainly won't be happening. This latter reality will inhibit the former impulse, but to what extent? What sort of framework of relations with allies will the U.S. develop in light of this tension? Will non-democratic allies assume a lesser position compared to democratic allies? Definitive answers might not be soon forthcoming as it will take some time to get enough examples, but the creation of such a framework that is stable will do a lot to allow for stability, although anything even approaching perfect stability is likely to remain out of reach, in the world that will be created and recreated by the "war on terror."