Thursday, April 22, 2004

1 in 10 of coalition-trained officers have become insurgents. That's still a minority, but this is where I've been thinking about democracy vs power mechanisms.

The Coalition has been citing democracy (or at least the apparent wishes of a democracy) as a case for continuation a lot recently. But doesn't that assume that the situation in Iraq is already subject to democratic values? Surely in lieu of democracy, and indeed any other system, majorities and minorities have little currency. I guess what I mean is without a defined power structure, force is the basic power, and so to make the transition to a system of designed power balance, this needs to be taken into account. In other words, is it possible/appropriate to cite democratic reasoning in a power vacuum?

I think this ties in with the question of "what is power in a democratic state?" - for instance, almost everyone has the ability to vote in the UK, but that doesn't mean that we all have the same ability to control the country, naturally. We don't even get control over our own lives. So democracy is really an agreement to determine the power structure, rather than particular empowerment - some kind of meta-influence, perhaps. And if that's the case, is it sustainable? Can democracy sustain itself, or is it rather that there must be an alternative mechanism (or mechanisms) to maintain this democracy? i.e. without law, would democracy be meaningles?

Furthermore, how feasible is it, therefore, to use other means and methods to exert influence over a group? Do those that stick to such meta-influences really lose out?

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