quinta-feira, 2 de março de 2006

Iraque, democracia e guerras

"People who had tended to regard themselves primarily as Iraqis were suddenly forced to focus on the fact that they belonged to a particular group: Sunni, Shia, Kurdish, Christian, or whatever.

"The act of voting was as divisive as it was empowering, and the fact that it happened three times in 11 months added to the intensity of the problem."

This is not the first time in modern history that the results of a genuinely free and fair election set off a horrendous civil war. The same thing happened in Ireland in 1921-1922, resulting in a civil war in which Irishmen killed each other in greater numbers than had just died fighting the British Empire in their successful War of Independence.

But American policymakers had a much more dramatic and awful example far closer to home that should have warned them about the potential of popular democratic passion to set off catastrophic civil strife: The free and fair elections of 1860 divided the United States between North and South as never before and led directly and rapidly first to the secession of the 13 Southern States and then to the worst civil war the modern Western World has ever known, in which 650,000 people died.

Iraq may yet avoid such a terrible fate. But there is no doubt that, as Simpson acutely noted, far from bringing its people together, the workings of the democratic process there have ripped them asunder as never before."Analysis: Iraq elections led to war

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