Democracy in Iraq?

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The freeing of Jill Carroll (a joyful moment, need I add) is a reminder that there is no democracy in Iraq. Democracy depends on free speech and a vigorous press—what kind of democracy is it where reporters are afraid to take a step outside their rooms? Not much of a democracy at all. What does it matter if the Iraqis elect a parliament if reporters are scared to talk to people, and indeed have little idea what is going on in the country?

I thought about this because of the continuing argument over the Walt-Mearsheimer paper on the Israel lobby, which appeared in the London Review of Books. Mearsheimer told the Forward, the Jewish weekly, that the paper was commissioned by a leading American magazine and then rejected on the grounds that such an argument could not be published in America. Which raises the question: How democratic is policymaking in the Middle East when you can’t even discuss certain important aspects of it in public?

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