Wednesday, May 05, 2004

How long will we be in Iraq building democracy?

Democratization is a noble goal. I was involved in democratization efforts for most of my diplomatic career. It is a long and hard road that requires institution-building and a significant investment on the part of the local population in a new and different system of governance that is often at odds with tradition. The best description I have heard for the process is that it is like a fine English lawn: you must seed it, you must water it, and if you want it to look really good, you must roll it -- for six hundred years. It is not a task that comes naturally to our military, however excellent that institution is.

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