Thursday, February 23, 2006

Parent Trap

There was a Batman story titled "Cataclysm" where Gotham City was destroyed by an earthquake and the island was sealed off by the US government. The survivors were stranded in a post-apocalyptic society with mob violence and gang rule.

In one issue, Superman showed up to help despite Batman's objection. Superman enlisted a few workers and restored electricity to a section of the city; and within an hour, a hundred people had crowded the facility to offer payment in tribute. He insisted that it didn't have to work like that, that they could cooperate and rebuild their neighborhood together. They wouldn't listen.

He met Batman on the outskirts of the city before leaving. "You were right. I didn't understand."

He looked sad. "They're not ready."

Today, Iraq is on the brink of civil war. Maybe they'll recover their balance and maybe they won't, but we can't help. They need to find their own footing, and we're just getting in the way. We toppled Saddam — and while his might have been a brutal gang rule, it was structure and it was all they had. In the short term, we've done more harm than good. For sake of the long term, we need to take a step back.

Democracy occurs as the direct result of violent revolution. We can't install democracy. We can't impose it. It's like a baby learning to walk. They have to learn it for themselves.


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