Note from Dan: Mark Jurkevich has been traveling a lot lately so he’s taking a break. Here’s one of his columns from last March, with a new headline and art. With foreign-sponsored chaos in Syria, Europeans evacuating Benghazi and Islamists streaming over the Libyan border into Mali and Algeria, it’s no less apropos today.
Here we go again – the ritualistic drumbeat is reaching a frenzied finale preparing Americans for a U.S.-supported bloody overthrow of a sovereign state’s government in the name of spreading democracy; this time, Assad in Syria.
The Left and the Right are in a testosterone-driven race to lead the charge; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the “Friends of Syria” conference in Tunisia declared the Assad government illegitimate, while Republican leadership demands “safe passage corridors” for rebels. Since Assad is not using jets, they can’t call it a no-fly zone.
Over the last fifteen years Americans have been conditioned by this ritual – a long standing sovereign government starts being referred to as a “regime,” we are told it’s undemocratic, the “freedom loving” opposition is suddenly armed to the teeth, then, after much bloodshed and expenditure of U.S. treasure, the sovereign government is toppled. Inevitably, the fruits of this ritual are – well, like most big government programs – a costly mess with myriad undesirable consequences.
Democracy Building is indeed a big government program. The total estimated costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan projects are $4 trillion, according to a Brown University study. Add in the other half dozen “democracy project” costs during this time, and it’s enough to solve the U.S. debt crisis. The usual big program waste and fraud are well documented for these projects. They also have a 100% failure rate for replacing a tyrant with a peace-loving democratic government.
Given the enthusiastic support for the Democracy Building program by the GOP’s conservative wing, the Tea Party and evangelical Christians, one can only conclude that they believe their core unifying value of shrinking big government programs stops at the U.S. border. Yet, these democracy projects, wars of choice, are more wasteful and ineffective than the big domestic programs conservatives want to cut. There’s also a side effect of these projects that should be of particular concern to the evangelicals: they have consistently caused the destruction of ancient Christian communities.
To date, the track record includes:
Kosovo. U.S. involvement to remove the bad guy, Slobodan Milosevic, began in 1999 with bombing of Serbia, including Kosovo. Kosovo, the historic cradle of western Slav Christianity, continues to be a ward of NATO and its installed KLA run government. KLA was designated an Islamic terrorist organization by U.S., France and UK until 1998. The Christian population has been largely removed, now only 10% of total population. Hundreds of ancient churches and monasteries have been systematically destroyed on KLA’s watch.
Palestine. From 2001 the U.S. and Israel implemented a regime change strategy, including systematic physical destruction of governmental infrastructure, to replace bad guy Yasser Arafat with a democratically elected government. In 2006, the U.S. got its wish. Elections were held. The Islamist Hamas was elected, with a platform promising the destruction of Israel and allegiance to Iran. Clearly, no friend to Christians. By contrast the secular Arafat traditionally attended Christmas Mass in Bethlehem, until Israel prohibited him. Since the regime change, there has been one war with Israel and the peace talks are moribund.
Iraq. This costly 2003 doozy promised democracy, replacing bad guy Saddam Hussein, a secular leader, whose right hand man, Tariq Aziz, was a Christian. Today, Iraq is in an unstable simmering civil war. Oh, and the new local powers are decimating the Christian population, cutting it in half since 2003, when it was over 5%.
Egypt. The 2010 regime change was to bring democracy, replacing bad guy Hosni Mubarak, a secular leader. The Muslim Brotherhood, accused last year by the FBI Director of supporting terrorism in the U.S. and abroad, is now in control. Ever since, the ancient Christian community making up 11% of the population has been under assault, its members murdered and churches burned.
Libya. The 2011 regime change was to bring democracy, replacing bad guy Muammar Gaddafi, who notably was a great champion of women’s rights and known for leaving the Christian community in peace. Since his removal, Libya has devolved into tribal anarchy with atrocities reported daily.
Syria. And now the drum beats for regime change to bring democracy, replacing bad guy Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian Christian Community, 10% of total population, supports the secular Assad, and is predicting it will be decimated if the U.S. supported Islamic “freedom fighters” seize power.
The stated objective of these projects is to replace tyrannical governments in sovereign states with peaceful democratic ones. Clearly this big government program, Democracy Building, is a costly abject failure. It’s time for conservatives to begin fighting big government waste outside the U.S. borders with the same zeal that they display on the domestic front.