By William Markiewicz

I hope I'm wrong but the Shiite majority, not being democratic themselves, cannot bring democracy to Iraq. Massive participation in the election was to be expected -- for Kurds because for the first time they had a chance for permanent autonomy; for the Shiites because they are disciplined and know that victory means a religious Shiite Iraq. The dictator Saddam Hussein brought a secular open society. In this he followed another non-democrat, Peter the Great, who modernized his country. So we see a paradox: democracy can pull a country back to the dark ages and dictatorships may lead a country toward enlightenment.There is no simple self-evident formula at our disposal.

Wherever they attack the Americans pull history backwards. In Yugoslavia they were responsible for the expulsion of Serbs, whether majority or minority, from their ancestral territories. In Afghanistan, Kabul was a modern city in the time of the king. America easily defeated the Taliban but left their social oppression intact. They seriously weakened the position of the native Pashtuns and reinforced the power of their enemies, descendants of Genghis Khan's invaders. The cultured Afghan women continue to live under house arrest even if they are doctors and lawyers. They suffer from osteoporosis because they are not permitted to expose their bodies to the sun and they have to hide their beautiful faces in public.

After the fall of Saddam Hussein, women, Christians, secularists, have no chance for a normal life. Under the Shiites, the enlightened Iraqi women, like the Afghan ones, will have to live inside or cover themselves outside. Their access to universities, professions, will be severely limited. Economic development of the country will be drastically reduced. American and British experts will take the place of the brilliant Iraqi experts. Iraq will become an archaic country with free-flowing oil to the Americans. Any resistance will be called 'terrorism.'

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