democracy spin

There is supposedly a new internet audio recording from “wanted terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,” with some extra spin about the recording on From the article:

The speaker attacked the Iraqi interim government as a tool used by the “Americans to promote this lie that is called democracy … You have to be careful of the enemy’s plots that involve applying democracy in your country and confront these plots, because they only want to do so to … give the rejectionists the rule of Iraq. And after fighting the Baathists … and the Sunnis, they will spread their insidious beliefs, and Baghdad and all the Sunni areas will become Shiite. Even now, the signs of infidelity and polytheism are on the rise.”

So of course I am suspicious of the spin here. First of all, I wonder about the translation. But this is just normal hermeneutical suspicion. But look how it is being spun: one is either for American Democracy(tm), or one is a radical muslim terrorist.

But al-Zarqawi raises an interesting point: one must be careful of the American government’s spin on terms like “democracy” and “freedom.” As is obvious, the US is not a democracy; in theory it is a republic, which is not the same thing. The American govt rhetoric of “spreading freedom” and “bringing democracy to the world” is just a code word for globalization and forced imposition of neoliberal economic policies.

So from where I stand, al-Zarqawi is right to be suspicious of American endeavors in Iraq. Obviously I disagree with at least some of his theological convictions, but that’s to be expected. One cannot embrace the dualism of “you’re with us or you’re with The Terrorists(tm).” It’s more complicated than that.

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