:imbar great mind? No, just one that is always curious and inquisitive.
Let me start this out with three quotes from Winstron Churchill.
Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.
Sir Winston Churchill
Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
Sir Winston Churchill
Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.
Sir Winston Churchill, Hansard, November 11, 1947
So while we have no way of knowing whether democracy will take or not, it is well worth the endeavor. There is no example in the history of the middle that is one of anything even close to democracy. I believe it would be a mistake to think that what will take hold will resemble the US democracy in it's present form. We have after all had a couple hundred years to experiment with it. I would think more in terms of our early democracy. I have always believed that one of the things that made this country so successful was the system of states, instead of one lump govn't. Different groups and their cultures settled by and large into specific areas of the country, keeping much of their own culture and religious tendencies. This gave a bumber zone to many who otherwise in other times and places would have been inplacable enemies. Then with a system that matured and grew into one that encouraged tolerance, think William Penn here and some of the early constitutions of states that wrote in religious tolerance early on such as Virginia, these disparate people were able to find things that made common culture and social norms. It was those commonalities that allowed this country to find a specific "American culture". Continuing this line of thinking I would believe the best way to bring Iraq to democracy would be to follow much of the same. The various areas of Iraq could be "states" with the ability of each state having their own constitution, their own culture and social norms etc.. with a federal govn't as an overseer and such. I hope what I am saying here is making sense.
America is a very divergent country, we have common social norms and common culture but we also have regional differences that most any of us can cite. I don't think any of us would feel that the norms of say California are the same norms you would find in West Virginia. Not religiously, not politically and not even food wise. Yet West Virginians can go to California and co-exist peacefully because of the overlying social and cultural norms that prevade this country. Namely tolerance and freedom. Californians may say things about those in West Virginia and vice versa, but let anyone from the outside attack either state and the other will rush to the defense because our common interests have been attacked. It is my hope that someday we will see the same in the Middle East.
I do not believe it will be easy, nor without peril. But I do beleive that there is the possiblity of it. I would wager that a hundred years ago there were few in the world that believed that Germany would ever become a peaceful country that would be able to take divergent Germanic tribes with a long history of warrior society would be able to mold those forces together, and become what Germany is today. The loss of life and morals in WWII set the stage, but without the Marshell plan and the setting up of Germany under a democratic govn't it may still not have happened. It is my belief that in order for various people's of the world to see the benefits of democracy, they have to first taste what freedom is and the benefits it can bring to society, and not only society but to each individual who loves their children, their wife, their husband. Once people see a personal benefit of healthy, well fed children and husbands who are not sent off to die and wives that are not used and abused, then the ability to live with divergent cultural and religious norms become something very desirable. What the people's of the Middle East have not seen going back centuries is something that can supply this. Once they do they may embrace it with a fervor. As the saying goes, all politics are local.
We seek not to replace the religion or even the cultures that make up Iraq. What we seek to replace is the old way of politics and autocratic govn't. This country is a testament that this can be done, our own history shows that at times it is painful as we find our way and seek to implement our own ideals. It is bound to be the same in Iraq. But possible? Most definately.