Democracy means rule by the people. Right? George bush says he pays no attention to polls, but he wants to spread democracy. Let's get this straight. A poll is the closest thing we have to an economically practical, scientific measure of the opinions of the people, but the president, who says he believes in spreading democracy, ignores polls. Well duh! Is that an oxymoron, a flip-flop, or just trying to have it both ways? If the president wants to be a true servant of the people he should be paying close attention to their opinions as expressed in polls.
I believe most people think of democracy as protecting themselves from the depredations of government. The struggle between the people and their government will be with us as long as we have governments. The government takes liberties here, and the people get them back there. Sometimes the struggle becomes open warfare when we have revolutions, but usually it is at a lower level. In different societies, this struggle happens in different ways, but it is found in all societies that have governments.
So, democracy may not mean the same thing in Iran as it does in the USA. The government in Iran only seems to need to imprison 224 of their citizens out of every 100,000 while the USA incarcerates around 700 per 100,000. Of course, there may be other forms of punishment in Iran that make their society as repressive as ours. I don't know the details, but I am sure the Iranians have methods for keeping their government in line as best they can.
So if I wanted to promote democracy in Iran, and I had a lot of money to spend on the project, I would put that money in the Iranian private sector. I wouldn't give any aid of any sort to any government. What I also wouldn't do is impose sanctions that hurt the private sector and strengthen the government. The equation is simple. Helping governments weakens citizens, and helping citizens weakens governments. I know where my sympathies lie.
It is also possible to infer the true aims of our government from its actions. Everywhere they help other governments and harm the people. They have a lot of money for military hardware, police, etc, for other governments, but not very much for directly aiding the people of other nations. Even the so-called humanitarian aid goes mostly to corrupt government officials. This administration cut birth control funding worldwide. Women who are pregnant continuously haven't got much time for politics.
If the US government truly wanted to spread democracy in Iraq, they wouldn't have provided Saddam Hussein with weapons, then imposed sanctions, which hurt the Iraqi people. They would have provided the Iraqi people with investment capital for their civilian economy and ignored Saddam Hussein. That would have either gotten rid of Saddam altogether or limited his power so that he could not have been such a menace to his own people.
The US government actions only appear somewhat rational if one assumes the whole Iraq operation was designed for military conquest from the start. The wars and years of sanctions weakened the country until it was ripe for invasion.
Personally, I like the theory that the main reason for the war was that Saddam was threatening to sell his oil in euros. That was an immediate threat to the US Government's economic house of cards. The dollar could crash and the USA would be reduced to the status of the third world nation like Brazil.
The euro theory may or may not be the real explanation, but if it is, then the whole Iraq thing is like a bank robbery. Now the Bush gang has grabbed the loot, and is holed up in its fortress. But the Bush gang is surrounded by an alliance of other criminal gangs, (governments) plus a lot of extremely irritated civilians. The Bushistas are on the defensive, and will sooner or later realize they can't hold on to their ill-gotten gains. They will not only have to fork over the stolen loot, but they will also face a lot of penalties.