IF YOU CAN'T SAY ANYTHING NICE? The priest-in-residence at the Chicago Sun-Times, Rev. Andrew Greeley, offers a backhanded compliment to the election in Iraq.

Those of us who bitterly oppose the war in Iraq must hope and pray that the Iraq election is a success and that a strong and credible government will emerge from it. Even if we believe that the president's goal of establishing democracy in Iraq is madcap fantasy, we must still hope and pray that it can be done. Only if there is a semblance of an effective government will American troops begin to withdraw. The president must be able to spin the illusion of victory before he can announce the end of American occupation ...
One wonders what the good father would have written had he been observing the American War of Independence.

Though it is unlikely, it is still legitimate to hope that democracy can be imposed on Iraq. Of 20 Arab countries, none are democratic according to the standards established by Freedom House. There seems to be a contradiction between Arab culture and democratic governance -- any kind of democracy, much less American- style democracy. In Iraq the problem is compounded by the conflicts among the various tribal and religious groups in the country. Especially unpromising is the majority Shiite determination to wrestle power away from the Sunnis who have dominated Iraq for most of its existence.
Let's rephrase that. Try "there seems to be a contradiction between commoner behavior and self governance. Especially unpromising is the freeholder determination to wrestle power away from the planters who have dominated the colonies for much of their existence." Yes, that wrestling match was deferred for a few years, and costly when it came.

The constitutional convention to assemble in Iraq over the summer will have the opportunity to avoid some of our mistakes. The Shia parties seem to have some notion of an Establishment Clause, and the lunacy on the other shore of the Shatt-al-arab is something Iraqis of all faiths can observe and avoid. But perhaps the good father has never preached a sermon on Matthew 9.

God Helps Thofe Who Help Themfelves.

It might serve him well to review Matthew 6:1 as well.
A democratic Iraq is the last remaining justification for war, now that the administration has been deprived of weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi complicity in the World Trade Center attack. Democracy in Iraq would not justify the war but it would at least mean that all the deaths were not completely in vain.
What difference is there between a priest who gives the talking points of the ancien regime and a priest who reads the San Francisco Democrats' talking points? This commentator has long deplored the grim calculus by which some of our young people die overseas in order that we may be safer in our own homes. This commentator has long maintained that he would prefer not explain to his nephew why he must pray with his butt in the air and his nose pointed in the general direction of Cudahy, Wisconsin because a few purists insisted on beyond-courtroom-grade evidence. (If he converts of his own that gives no cause for objection. Pay attention to the compulsion.) Mike at Cold Fury (via InstaPundit) does a better job of identifying the multiple causes of war than I can. Do go there, and then do consider Rev. Greeley's cravenness.

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