Sunday, April 09, 2006

Happy Iraq Liberation Day!

Three years ago today the famous statue of Saddam Hussein fell. I lived in Everett, WA at the time, which apparently has the largest Iraqi population in this state. When it happened, I remember people rushed into the streets, spontaneously cheering and celebrating, waving American and Iraqi flags. I felt very proud to be even peripherally involved, and to have supported it. Remember, at the time, the media was already throwing the "Q" word around because a sand storm delayed operations for a few days.

Three years later, the Iraqi people have voted in ever increasing numbers, under threat of death. (Too many of us wouldn't vote if it meant we'd have to fight too much traffic, or if we couldn't have the ballots mailed to our front door.) Political opponents are no longer tossed into wood chippers. The people have regained their sovereignty, and are forming a government. We've learned the Saddam indeed was a threat to us, if not as soon as we thought, then surely in the future. Hundreds of free Iraqi newspaper presses are running all over the country. There is a long, hard road ahead, but there is hope for a better future in Iraq.

And what's more, the soldiers fighting in Iraq are reenlisting and reporting success. And when given the chance to vote for the President people like Cindy Sheehan think they need to be protected against, they rejected the defeatists and voted for him overwhelmingly.

We are all students of the mechanisms and structure of government. It's been fascinating and inspiring to see a people create the foundations of a new and free government in real time, and to see how they solve problems and overcome deadly obstacles. Too often, when an unjust government is overthrown, what takes its place is no better, or indeed worse - as the Cubans know all too well. But the Iraqis have rejected that fate with their continued willingness to vote, and through their continued willingness to put their lives on the line by running for office, publishing newspapers, and enlisting in the national police force. They've embraced due process Saddam denied them, and are conducting a remarkable trial despite the best efforts of the defense "attorneys" for whom winning is more important than maintaining the integrity of a fair trial system.

The critics now predict civil war and failure. But those predictions have far more to do with their hatred of President Bush and their unflinching willingness to ignore any evidence which doesn't conform with a view they cemented 4 years ago than their deductive reasoning skills. They are the same people that solemnly predicted we would fare worse than the Soviets in Afghanistan, that it would take years to take Baghdad, that refugees would cripple the region, that sandstorm = quagmire, that the Iraqis could not successfully vote, that they could not agree on a constitution, and that the Kurds would instantly break away. Every prediction they make has been wrong. Why anyone still listens to them, I'll never know.

This effort can still fail. We have prominent American politicians give seditious and false speeches in enemy territory - giving the enemy hope. We have an enemy determined to scare us away so they can once again oppress their enemies and slaughter political enemies without thinking twice. It's no wonder they ensure their bombs go off in front of TV cameras.

But the only way it can fail is if we choose to let them fail by abandoning the effort. It is completely up to us. Only the leftist defeatists who care more about saying "I told you so" than making the world a safer place would honestly suggest we leave now, leaving millions of Iraqis to their doom. (I suppose I understand it - when you sneer at the military so reflexively and surround yourself with people who love to denigrate America, you can't understand the profound power of American strength and optimism.)

So congratulations, Iraq. And thank you for fighting for freedom. I'm proud to stand with you, and promise that I will do my part by continuing to vote for American politicians who understand that peace in not just the absence of war, but the presence of freedom and justice - things which require brave men and women to fight for. I won't forget you voted in the face of those who would kill you for your purple finger, and because you reject returning to the bad old days of tyranny.


Waldo said...

Extremely well said Orrin, I echo your sentiments. I often tell people that it is scarier watching the news than actually being in Iraq. The media refuses to show us any signs of success and optimism, yet they can't wait for our own military to make a mistake. Obviously, Iraq isn't a place you want to go on vacation yet, but there have been tremendous gains made in a short amount of time. The State Department has a list of some of the accomplishments on its web site and it is quite impressive.

Orrin Johnson said...

Thanks, Waldo. And thank you for what you did for those people and for us.

Do you have that State Department link?