This great quote is from PeterSloterdijk, through Tobias, through helmut over at one of the best blogs going, Phronesisaical:
He imagined that the U.S. Air Force should have added to its military paraphernalia an “inflatable Parliament” which could be parachuted at the rear of the front, just after the liberating forces of the Good had defeated the forces of Evil. On hitting the ground, this parliament would unfold and be inflated just like your rescue dingy is supposed to do when you fall in the water. Ready to enter and take your seat, your finger still red from the indelible ink that proves you have exerted your voting duty, Instant Democracy would thus be delivered! The lesson of this simile is easy to draw. To imagine a parliament without its material set of complex instruments, “air-condition” pumps, local ecological requirements, material infrastructure, and long held habits is as ludicrous as to try to parachute such an inflatable parliament into the middle of Iraq.
This was always the problem with the" purple finger" theory of democracy building, promoted by Chalabi and the Iraqi intellectuals (and their naive neo-con supporters), that all one had to do was print some ballots and put out some boxes with a slot in it and a system for solving politial greivances magically appears. Today we still heard Stephan Hadley say six times on Meet The Press, like a Jeffersonian mantra, "they had an election in which twelve million people participated". US democracy may be hollow but Iraqi democracy is a mirage. There is no Iraq.