Letters - Democracy, not regime change

I wish I shared Nick Cohen's optimism ("Primitive, illiterate and untutored?", 23 September) that the US will establish democracy in Iraq. But if so, why does Bush talk of "regime change" rather than "democratisation", which would win him much more support? If the UN authorises a US invasion, it should also mandate the US to hold a free election in 12 months. But such an election might be won by the Ba'ath party, an Islamic party or a socialist party. How long would the winners last before the US supported some army coup against them?

Peter Bond

There was a time when I couldn't decide whether Nick Cohen was a genuinely confused liberal or a great controversialist. However, it is now becoming clear that he is a masterful exponent of the Stalinist amalgam technique. Cohen complains that the left is arguing that if the Iraqi regime falls, chaos will ensue and that, therefore, the left doesn't care about the Kurds. Unfortunately, these two points are not actually connected. First, it is a fair bet that any Iraqi regime which the Bush administration thinks it can live with will not be one that has popular support. Second, as the threat of war with Iraq is primarily about oil supplies, it is difficult to see how it can help the Kurds.

Keith Flett
London N17

This article first appeared in the 30 September 2002 issue of the New Statesman, The Reckoning