Christopher Allbritton writes from Iraq:
This is hard to write, but I’ve come to the conclusion that after a year of horror and insecurity, the average Iraqi doesn’t want freedom. They want a set of laws that they can live with, do business under and raise their kids. If it takes a benign dictator to do that, then they’re more than happy to have one. Remember, the most beloved recent Iraqi leader, Abdul Karim Qassim, was more or less a benign dictator.
I’m not sure why that’s hard to write or hard to understand. It’s just Maslow’s hierarchy of needs at a societal level. People want food, water, a safe place to live, and security more than they want the privilege of expressing their political will through elections. That’s not really surprising, is it? How many homeless people in the United States vote? Democracy is a totally unproven concept as far as Iraqis go, and they seem to feel that ongoing fear of their government is preferable to chaos in the streets.