Recently two nations have discovered vast potential resources that could transform their country from poor third world affairs toward second world status; Ghana with oil and Afghanistan and minerals. With great wealth comes power and responsibilities. These governments cannot appropriate this income for their own use, even if well intended to serve its people. A government that does not depend on its citizens will not be accountable to its citizen.
A government comes to depend on its citizens through two primary ways. Firstly through taxation to acquire income for governmental function. But this alone will a recipes for corruption; obligue noblesse cannot be institutionalized or relied upon. Also firstly, side by side with taxation is election. True election can only exists in a open Democracy where there are competitive election and true counting of the votes. Secondary to taxation and election has to be term limits. Once elected the power acquired through taxation will make incumbents the favorites for elections. Term limits for all elected officials is a necessary safeguard against corruption, but not necessarily accountability.
The final and ultimate safeguard against a corrupt and unaccountable government must rest with its citizens. Whereas elections is a political manifestation of this, the potential for more must exists, even if only on the periphery beyond conversation. The population must be armed for the potential event of insurrection against a corrupt, unaccountable and unjust government. On the most base of level, the government must fear those it govern so that boundaries will be respected beyond the written law.
The United States has all the requisites for government accountability. With regard to the new found democracy of Iraq, as well as that of the nations of Ghana and Afghanistan, my advice is to arm their population as a first step toward an accountable government. Yes this will make formation of a new government more difficult, but this difficulty arises from ensuring that the population to be governed is agreeable with the nature of the government. Growing pains ensure appropriate future limits.