Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Mrs. Dick's American History Propaganda Show
So Lynne Cheney went to a couple of elementary schools today to teach the kiddies about the parallels between this week's elections in Iraq and our own early struggles for democracy.

Hand me my gun--there are fish in that barrel.
"Two hundred and seventeen years ago, we held our first vote under our Constitution," Vice President Dick Cheney's wife said. "We started then on the path the Iraqis are walking now."
Our path was somewhat different, however. It wasn't laden with improvised explosive devices planted by some of the same people who are supposedly being represented in the new government.
The elections also pave the way for amendments to Iraq's new constitution. To win Sunni Arab support for the constitution, the Sunnis were promised they could propose amendments to it during the first four months of the new parliament's tenure. Cheney said that was "a very important historical parallel" with America's early democratic struggle. "We did much the same thing in terms of our Constitution," Cheney said in an interview on CNN. "Many were reluctant to ratify (it) until they were told there would be amendments. ... So there are indeed many parallels and I look forward to talking with kids about it."
Boy, the parallels are stunning. Remember how America's first permanent government was chosen in a violence-torn election by the tiny minority of American citizens permitted to vote by the French occupiers who had overthrown the British? Remember how when the American Constitution was written, the delegates from Rhode Island and Connecticut threatened the other 11 states that they would withhold support from the Constitution if they weren't given the right to amend it? Remember how they tried--and how the majority turned on them and started a civil war with a few months of the new constitution's ratification, even before the occupying troops went home?

There were lots of parallels before that, as you may recall. Remember how the French, who had hated the British and wanted to overthrow them in an important region for many years, launched their shock-and-awe campaign? Remember when the jubilant Americans pulled down the statue of George III? Remember how a retired French general ran the American Provisional Authority for a year or so before handing sovereignty over to a cadre of handpicked American collaborators, many of whom hadn't actually lived in America for years?

Lynne Cheney's insistence that there are "many parallels" between what happened here--a popular upwelling of democracy that was guided at the top by a few intellectual disciples of John Locke but was sustained by thousands of people at the grassroots--and what's going on there--the imposing by force of a governmental system derived from Enlightenment principles on a fractious region where the Enlightenment never occurred--is as fantastical as her husband's insistence that we would be greeted as liberators.

They have a Constitution and we have a Constitution. As parallels go, that's pretty much it.

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