Friday, December 24, 2004

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/23/opinion/23friedman.html

I am not a political person, but this here opinion article in the thursday new york times caught my eye. For me, this article sums up the war and really is, for me, the most articulate article that i have seen on this war.
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December 23, 2004
OP-ED COLUMNIST
Worth a Thousand Words
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

here has been so much violence in Iraq that it's become hard to distinguish one senseless act from another. But there was a picture that ran on the front page of this newspaper on Monday that really got to me. It showed several Iraqi gunmen, in broad daylight and without masks, murdering two Iraqi election workers. The murder scene was a busy street in the heart of Baghdad. The two election workers had been dragged from their car into the middle of the street. They looked young, the sort of young people you'd see doing election canvassing in America or Ukraine or El Salvador.

One was kneeling with his arms behind his back, waiting to be shot in the head. Another was lying on his side. The gunman had either just pumped a bullet into him or was about to. I first saw the picture on the Internet, and I did something I've never done before - I blew it up so it covered my whole screen. I wanted to look at it more closely. You don't often get to see the face of pure evil.

There is much to dislike about this war in Iraq, but there is no denying the stakes. And that picture really framed them: this is a war between some people in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world who - for the first time ever in their region - are trying to organize an election to choose their own leaders and write their own constitution versus all the forces arrayed against them.

Do not be fooled into thinking that the Iraqi gunmen in this picture are really defending their country and have no alternative. The Sunni-Baathist minority that ruled Iraq for so many years has been invited, indeed begged, to join in this election and to share in the design and wealth of post-Saddam Iraq.

As the Johns Hopkins foreign policy expert Michael Mandelbaum so rightly pointed out to me, "These so-called insurgents in Iraq are the real fascists, the real colonialists, the real imperialists of our age." They are a tiny minority who want to rule Iraq by force and rip off its oil wealth for themselves. It's time we called them by their real names.

However this war started, however badly it has been managed, however much you wish we were not there, do not kid yourself that this is not what it is about: people who want to hold a free and fair election to determine their own future, opposed by a virulent nihilistic minority that wants to prevent that. That is all that the insurgents stand for.

Indeed, they haven't even bothered to tell us otherwise. They have counted on the fact that the Bush administration is so hated around the world that any opponents will be seen as having justice on their side. Well, they do not. They are murdering Iraqis every day for the sole purpose of preventing them from exercising that thing so many on the political left and so many Europeans have demanded for the Palestinians: "the right of self-determination."

What is terrifying is that the noble sacrifice of our soldiers, while never in vain, may not be enough. We may actually lose in Iraq. The vitally important may turn out to be the effectively impossible.

We may lose because of the defiantly wrong way that Donald Rumsfeld has managed this war and the cynical manner in which Dick Cheney, George Bush and - with some honorable exceptions - the whole Republican right have tolerated it. Many conservatives would rather fail in Iraq than give liberals the satisfaction of seeing Mr. Rumsfeld sacked. We may lose because our Arab allies won't lift a finger to support an election in Iraq - either because they fear they'll be next to face such pressures, or because the thought of democratically elected Shiites holding power in a country once led by Sunnis is anathema to them.

We may lose because most Europeans, having been made stupid by their own weakness, would rather see America fail in Iraq than lift a finger for free and fair elections there.

As is so often the case, the statesman who framed the stakes best is the British prime minister, Tony Blair. Count me a "Blair Democrat." Mr. Blair, who was in Iraq this week, said: "Whatever people's feelings or beliefs about the removal of Saddam Hussein and the wisdom of that, there surely is only one side to be on in what is now very clearly a battle between democracy and terror. On the one side you have people who desperately want to make the democratic process work, and want to have the same type of democratic freedoms other parts of the world enjoy, and on the other side people who are killing and intimidating and trying to destroy a better future for Iraq."
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my own analogy for this article is the INTERNET. do we let the spammers, the hackers, the spyware people, and the virus makers, take over? the internet might last a week, or less, if we all let these hijackers take over!

there was a letter posted on a bullitin board at the veteran's clinic, from a soldier on the front lines of Iraq, i cannot find it on the internet, so from memory....this soldier listed all of the good things that have occurred since the fall of Saddam, democratic things, freedome for many people.
Just what these warlords do not want.
----be a long haul, i fear...be years of war for freedom!