Cars, Wars and Democracy

The motor vehicle … it could be a tank, an armored car or truck, a bus or a couch … in Iraq, to these have been added a brand new incarnation – the car bomb. To all the world, motorized transport is a manifestation of civilization, trade and competitiveness. Some nations are forced to yield to other countries without a shot being fired … competition over price, aesthetics and fuel consumption have resulted in economic invasions. For forty years such a war has raged between Japan and the United States, after Tokyo was forced to abandon the manufacture of arms after World War II.

In Iraq, the car has become a curse because of the scarcity of fuel; their registration plates have become a source of suspicion and a justification for sectarian killings by phantom public officials who are protected by the weapons of government.

The body of Baghdad is chopped up by concrete barriers and the streets that pass near or through the Green Zone and the homes of political leaders have been altered – since every one of them has been transformed into a mini presidential palace. Because of the decision to prevent the flow of normal traffic … in the best of cases, since it became the key to opening up the fires of hell – the car has become a source of hardship and worry.

People of the European Union or Arab countries have been surprised at the way we have transformed the car into such a source of fear and danger to the individual and the family. This fear … of death … also extends to the Americans in Iraq, since car-bombs have become a permanent source of danger in the streets, able to strike passing troops at any moment.

This humiliates the land and people of the country of the two rivers – and has changed the car from a blessing to a curse. Their appealing models and accessories have been impossible to protect since they became targets of attack from every direction in Baghdad, and their use in ambushes and booby-traps required the partitioning of Iraq to prevent their movement, limiting transport to helicopters and aircraft, which remain the most secure means of transportation, even if 20 or 30 of these have crashed.

In the first American war against Iraq in 1991, Iraqis were deprived of the car for a few months because of the bombing of oil refineries. In this war, Americans and Iraqis are almost equal in the way they have been deprived of the joy of driving in a secure environment with readily-available gasoline.

Can you see what all of this has done to democracy?

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