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Who Will Govern Iraq and Does It Matter?
Publication date: 2003-04-17

Who Will Govern Iraq - US, UN, an Iraqi, Sunni, Shia, Kurd - and Does it Matter?

With the arguments on who should govern Iraq, there is little hope that peace and prosperity will reign in Iraq in years to come. This is because “who will govern a country” is not the real issue. The real issue is “what the next ruler of Iraq is going to do, regardless of who he happens to be”.

If the new ruler of Iraq will ensure that each and every Iraqi will live in freedom and security, then does it matter who that ruler is?

People argue about who should rule them, because they are afraid that their freedom and security is dependent on who will govern the country. If it is the Americans, then they will govern Iraq for the benefit of the Americans, and the Iraqis will be neither free nor secure. If the ruler will be a Sunni, he will favour the Sunnies at the expense of the Shias and the Kurds, and if it will be a Shia he will favour the Shias, etc. This is what the history of Mankind has taught people, whoever is in power, he will favour some group of people at the expense of others, and his own person at the expense of everyone else. And because government powers are abused to favour those in power, having government power is seen as a privilege, and people fight each other for that privilege. This is what politics all about.

But what should a government be doing? What is it for? To “lead the people to the Glorious Future”? Or, may be just to do a set of dull, boring jobs that are necessary for people to live in freedom and safety?

We have seen what happens when a government is removed — people become free but very insecure. So insecure, that their freedom looses its value — their life, freedom and property are under constant threat from other people who are free to kill them, rob them, or interfere with their freedom in any way they please.

We have also seen what happens when rulers are free to do what they please — people become not free but more secure than without government. But their security depends of the whims and fancies of the ruler — he can drag them into a war, or subject them to persecutions, or interfere with their person, freedom and property in any way he pleases.

But, if the government is not free, but is strictly controlled, to ensure that it does only that which is necessary to protect freedom and security of the people and nothing else, then people, that is, each and every citizen of the country, will be free and secure.

So, how can one make sure that government does only that which is necessary and nothing else?

By defining the duties of government, and by providing procedures for controlling all the government activities.

The duties of government are as follows:

  1. To protect person and property.
  2. To enforce law and order.
  3. To provide essential services, like, water supply, sanitation, basic health services, roads and transport infrastructure, etc.

And these duties should be of equal benefit to all the citizens of the country.

This is all that needs to be done. The problem is that most governments do more than that — they indulge in politics. They use their powers to favor some people at the expense of others, and interfere with person, freedom and property of their citizens in ways which are beyond those required for the performance of the duties of government.

To prevent the governments from abusing their powers (indulging in politics) it is necessary to define the above duties of government to such level of detail that it will be possible to control each and every operation performed by the government at every level.

Thus, to protect person and property, it is necessary to lay down criminal laws, which will define punishments for unjustified interference with person, freedom and property. The punishments should be such as to deter people from committing such criminal acts.

To enforce these laws it is necessary to establish a police force. And to make sure that the punishments are applied, as laid down by the law, a judicial system will be needed.

Should the police and the criminal justice system be “political”? Should their operations depend on who happens to be the ruler, or on the personalities of the policemen and the judges?

The answer is obvious “No”, because if the police or the judiciary are “political”, then they will be using their powers to favour some people at the expense of others, and the system will be unjust and corrupt.

While this is obvious in theory, in practice most people are “political”, that is they favour some people, and certainly themselves, at the expense of others. This is so even in countries which pride themselves on the independence of their police and judiciary, and where the theoretical principle of such independence has been accepted for a few centuries, as, for example, in Britain. Just now, in Britain, has been published a report on complicity of the British police and armed forces in terrorist operations in Ireland by Protestant terrorists. And “miscarriages of justice” in the British courts are not uncommon. But Britain is the model of independent police and judiciary — in many countries of the world the police and the courts are notorious for their “politics” and corruption.

This difficulty of keeping the police and the judiciary truly independent and free from corruption means that mechanisms are required to control all policing activities and the justice system.

The general guidelines for prevention of abuses of powers (politics) and corruption in government are as follows:

  1. The purpose of each government institution must be clearly defined.
  2. The definition of the purpose of each government institution must be publicly advertised and easily accessible to the general public.
  3. Detailed standard procedures must be established for each and every operation necessary for the achievement of the purpose of each government institution. These procedures must be publicly advertised and easily accessible to the general public.
  4. A record of each operation of each government employee should be kept and a copy should be provided to each person dealing with a government institution. Such record should enable any person dealing with the government institution to verify that the standard procedures have been performed correctly and that the action of the government employees did not constitute any abuses of government powers. If an operation of a government institution is not specific to a member of the public, but affects the general public, then the records of such operation should be publicly advertised and made easily accessible to the general public.
  5. An effective system of dealing with complaints against any action of government employees at every level of government should be established and should be operated with the same openness and auditability as the government itself.
  6. Abuse of government powers should be made a crime punishable in such way as to prevent any person in his sound mind from risking such punishment by abusing his powers.
  7. No government employee at any level of government, including the head of state, should be exempt from strict compliance with the above rules, or have any immunities which would allow him to abuse his powers.

As one can see, the purpose of the above guidelines is to make government open, predictable, and limited to the purpose for which it is established.

Once the structure of the government institutions is defined, it will be possible to assess the manpower requirements (the skills and the number of employees) to make such system operational. Then, it will be possible to assess the material requirements: buildings, equipment, etc. And from there one can establish the costs of government.

So, if the police, the criminal and civil justice systems, the water authority, and the other institutions of government are established in accordance with the above guidelines, then what for would one need “politics”? If the duties of government are performed correctly, then does it matter who is the head of state, or who is the local policeman?

And, if the structure of government is correctly designed, does it matter who designed it?

So, instead of arguing about who will have the “power”, and how that “power” will be “shared” between different contending groups, the Americans should get down to the task of “designing” the structure of government in accordance with the above guidelines.

And, as they proceed to establish the government requirements, they can start setting up the system, initially operating it themselves and introducing the local Iraqis as they go along. The employment should be based solely on the skills required for performance of the duties. No questions about any ethnic or religious affiliations should be asked or taken into account.

And once such non‐political, administrative government is established, who will need politics?

And who should pay for the costs of this operation?

Of course, the Americans! They have made the mess, they are responsible for cleaning it up.

And, if the Iraqi experiment proves successful, then it could serve as example for such backward barbaric “left‐right” politicized “ego‐trip” regimes like those in Britain and the USA.

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