by Ernest O'Neill

Americans are in a nightmare, but we're the only ones that don't know it. The emperor really has no clothes, but we are so mesmerized by the fear of fear itself that we don't know it. Our emperor has made a flower out of clay, and now all the grownups have gathered around to say how like the real thing Iraq is.

  None of us doubt that democracy is a work of time and grace; it requires the consent of the governed and the restraint of the government. By force of arms we have created some of its outward attributes like an election, a prime minister, and an assembly, but the consent and restraint of a free people require time and the work of a higher power.

  Now we will face the usual disillusion that the reality behind the universe brings to all whose hubris tries to create the flower of democracy by instant fiat _ frustration, discord, further loss of lives and money -- and final recidivism into oligarchy. Once more we will learn that freedom of will is the Creator's most costly gift and the most difficult to create and preserve.

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