Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


From ABC News:

Dec. 20, 2005 — - President Bush's National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley today labeled Iran "probably the No. 1 supporter of terror in the world today" and claimed a growing consensus between the Bush administration and its critics on the way forward in Iraq.

Speaking at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, Hadley said Iraq's recent parliamentary election is one way to offset Iran's influence in the region, claiming the high turnout on Sunday could help trigger democracy throughout the region.

"That is why it is so important that the terrorists be defeated in Iraq, and that Iraq be a showcase, in some sense, of a competition between the ideology of the terrorists and the ideology of freedom and democracy," Hadley said.

Hadley said he hopes that ideological struggle will spread to Iran. "One of the questions we keep asking is, when are the Iranian people going to begin to ask themselves, 'If Iraqis in Iran can participate in a free election in Iraq, why not us?'"

Hadley apparently doesn't know who won the election in Iraq -- Shiite religious parties, closely allied with Iran's ruling clerics. Many of their leaders, in fact, were living in Iran until the U.S. brought about regime change. The Iranian government praised the elections in Iraq and welcomed the results. Iraq's central government will be very weak, barely more than symbolic, but the majority of the country's population, oil resources, and military, will end up under the control of the Ayatollahs. (And by the way, Hadley is also apparently unaware that the Iranian government was elected.)

Democracy depends on a democratic political culture, not the ritual of voting. Iraqis have elected a fundamentalist, clergy-dominated government hostile to Israel, hostile to the United States, and closely tied to Iran. Now the plan is to keep U.S. troops in Iraq in order to protect and defend this government, build up its armed forces, and help it defeat the Sunni Arabs and secularists who do not wish to live in a Shiite theocracy. Mr. Hadley, and the Resident, define that proposed outcome as "victory."

Are they nuts?

(Note: Public health is about everything -- well, everything in the human realm, anyway -- so I get to talk about anything I want to. So there.)


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