Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Exporting Democracy


Remember when that was Wolfie's idea of the war in Iraq? We could transform the whole Middle East, starting with Iraq, and export our values to the peoples over there? In fact, so impressed were the neocons about the success of this project that they were positively incensed when anyone had the temerity to suggest it might not work out quite that well. What were we, racists to suggest that those swarthy Middle Easterners couldn't appreciate democracy?

Well, maybe it isn't working out that way. This is a story out of Afghanistan, not Iraq, but it shows what happens. In this case, Blackwater, the company that is so patriotic that it makes its employees ("don't call us mercenaries!") swear to preserve, protect, and defend the U.S. Constitution, is being sued for what might be called collateral damage--people who were killed when Blackwater's pilot crashed the plane they were on, purely through their negligence. They're being sued in a United States District Court.

Only it turns out that American law isn't good enough for Blackwater. No, in this case they're asking the federal court to apply Shari'a law. You know, stone adulterers and rape victims to death, behead criminals, cut the hands off thieves--that Shari'a law.

The company argued that the lawsuit must be dismissed; legal doctrine holds that soldiers cannot sue the government, and Blackwater’s aviation wing was acting as an agent of the government.

Last year, a series of federal judges dismissed that argument.

In April, Blackwater asked a federal judge in Florida to apply Islamic law, commonly known as Shari’a, to the case. If the judge agreed, the lawsuit would be dismissed. Shari’a law does not hold a company responsible for the actions of employees performed within the course of their work.

Now I suppose there is a certain sense by which you could call Shari'a the rule of law, but it doesn't embody the legal principles that we in the United States adhere to.

So when we set out to "export democracy", what exactly were we exporting?


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home