Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Iraqi President: Please Help Finish the Job

An amazing article in today's Wall Street Journal by Jalal Talabini:
There is no more important international issue today than the need to defeat the curse of terrorism. And as the first democratically elected president of Iraq, I have a responsibility to ensure that the world's youngest democracy survives the inherently difficult transition from totalitarianism to pluralism.

Obviously an extremely difficult task, Talabini spells out clearly what is needed to do so:
A transformation of the Iraqi state and Iraqi society is impossible without a sustained commitment of soldiers from the United States and other democracies.
But Talabini presents his case very smartly. Before someone can question that statement, he gives a short history of the situation. To understand why, let us recall how we reached this juncture in history.
[emphasis mine]
How is it that Iraq today has a democratically elected head of state, government and Parliament? How it is that members of the most repressed ethnic groups now hold the highest offices of state? All these welcome developments are a result of the courage and vision of President Bush and his allies, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard, leaders whose commitment of troops to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions liberated Iraq.
After that pointed praise of Bush, Blair, and Howard, and the excellent reminder to the world about how hapless the UN was (is?), he continues with the history lesson.
Without foreign intervention, the transition in Iraq would have been from Saddam's bloodstained hands to his psychopathic offspring. Instead, thanks to American leadership, Iraqis have been given an opportunity of peaceful, participatory politics. Contrary to the new conventional wisdom, Iraq and the history of 20th-century Europe demonstrate that force of arms can implant democracy in the most arid soil.
What a great statement. Imagine if President Bush would say this. Talabini then touches on the difficulties a new state goes through, and why troops are neccesary.
Inevitably, there have been stresses and strains. In Iraq these have been amplified by the terrorism of the remnants of the fascist Baathist dictatorship and our interfering neighbors. To contain these tensions, and to defend our young democracy, requires the support of American and other troops. Foreign forces are needed to train and equip the new Iraqi armed forces and to give Iraq its own counterterrorism capability.
Creating these Iraqi forces has not been easy, but Iraqis have been undaunted by the difficulties. Every terrorist attack on Iraqi forces leads to a surge in military recruitment--the opposite of the appeasers' myth that resisting terrorism causes more terrorism.
There's much more, but it is worth reading yourself. He speaks about the need to not have a timetable, the projections for the future, the pride of the American soldier, and a number of other ideas. It's an excellent piece, by someone who will be an excellent leader.

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