I oppose America bombing people into democracy. Saddam was a genocidal dictator reputed to have killed over 200,000 of his own citizens. But with casualties of the Iraqi war exceeding 100,000 we can hardly make a case that we, in the “West”, don’t have blood on our hands. I have no doubt that continuing to contain Saddam would have been a better policy than bombing the Iraqi people to the polls. Iraq is still in chaos and the almighty US Army is now one more armed band operating in the Middle East, unable to achieve concrete results.
But while I oppose the tactics of George W. Bush and Tony Blair, I do share with them their stated objective, namely the establishment of democracy in the Middle East and elsewhere.

So when I hear that the Chinese government has developed software to censor blogs, I think it’s only fair that we help Chinese bloggers to fight back with anti-censorship software. Technology can be used to promote freedom. In a not so different way, when I invented call back in 1990 I used technology to fight the global oligopoly on long distance calling…and we won. What we did was simple: we reverted dial tone, we delivered American dial tone to all countries around the world, and with it came liberalized American rates. When users would call a pre assigned number in the States and hang up, we would then know who they were and we would call them back and deliver dial tone to them. And it worked! First governments around the world fought us, but eventually they had to give in. Sometimes technology is unstoppable. The Net is mostly technology for democracy. We should use the net and its tools to fight censorship.

Follow Martin Varsavsky on Twitter: twitter.com/martinvars

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