Do the Democracy Wave

Anti-government demonstrations sweeping through much of the Middle East are having “no effect” on events in Afghanistan and Iraq, Army Gen. David Petraeus said last week. Speaking March 18 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Petraeus said the “people power” revolts in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Yemen are focused on people’s dissatisfaction with their form of government. In Afghanistan and Iraq, the complaints are about national housekeeping functions, like “jobs and keeping the electricity turned on” and “basic services,” Petraeus said. It’s a hopeful sign seeing the free exercise of complaints in those two nations about how a government is doing its job, rather than a desire to abolish the government, he asserted. Iraqis, in particular, see the government “as ‘their’ government,” he said.