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« Air strike and air assault are 2 different things | Main | ‘The Quiet Man’ soundtrack: Victor Young’s music for a happy St. Patrick’s Day »

March 17, 2006

Comments

collissimon

But is the prospect of a fully free and peaceful Iraq really on the horizon?

Nicholas

Well, which country IS fully free?

I can't think of any...

Iraq is certainly a lot more free than it used to be.

As for peaceful that's up to the people themselves. They seem to be heading in that direction. They're pretty sick of the Al Qaeda thugs and that's an important part of the equation. Once they all agree they've had enough and the terrorists have to go that will be a major step on the way to peace and it seems most of them have already decided.

Frank Warner

I'm not looking for arguments on the definition of fully free. I mean an Iraq generally with freedom of speech, free opposition parties, freedom of the press, independent courts, and free and regular elections.

One could argue we're already there in Iraq. But let's wait first for a little less violence, and a few more signs the democratic government (will they ever pick a prime minister?) is in charge.

In 1943 Italy, France and Germany, how bright were the prospects they'd be free within 10 years?

jj mollo

No one should get into the nation-building business without the recognition that it might be difficult. But when you decide to do it, you need to persist. There are very good reasons for establishing a liberal democracy in Iraq. There are even better reasons for the US to demonstrate that it will pursue its policy goals until they succeed.

Is a free and peaceful Iraq on the horizon? Only if we decide that it is. This battle is ours to lose.

collissimon

It's not exactly peaceful though is it? Also, in terms of freedom, how can you say that Iraqis have more freedom than before, when the Government can't maintain internal security?

Also, making links with WWII, Churchill set out a cabinet committee concerned with reconstructing post-war Germany in 1941: there was no such organisation even days before the Iraq invasion this time around. How exactly is Iraq better off? (I'm not supporting the previous regime, I'm saying the current one has been mismanaged)

Coalition forces have been very successful in turning Iraq from a Rogue State into a Failed State.

jj mollo

Imagine an Iraqi trying to understand what life is like in the US by reading US newspapers. This person may have better luck by talking with returning Iraqi visitors.

Do I think that Bush has made mistakes? Yes, I do. I personally don't think much of his leadership. But I do think his overall judgment has been correct. I think the Iraq invasion was a necessity. Are Iraqis better off? Well. The Germans were better off in 1939 than they were in 1946. Which country would you rather live in?

Frank Warner

The other big difference from World War II is that we had to flatten whole cities to bring the Germans and Japanese to surrender. Then we could rebuild. That's some plan.

Even then, two and three years after the surrenders of Berlin and Tokyo, many commentators thought our attempts to start democracy in Germany and Japan were doomed. In each case, it took about seven years to schedule the first free election.

With Iraq, you can't yet measure post-war reconstruction because the war isn't over. This battle of liberation is much less violent than most previous attempts to defeat totalitarian forces precisely because we're trying to avoid destroying whole cities. The benefit: Fewer lives are lost. The cost: It takes more time to break the will of the enemy.

Arrival of freedom. But already, political freedom has filled Iraq. The country has more free newspapers and more free TV outlets than it ever had. People can say almost anything without fear the dictator will cut out their tongues or send them instantly to a remote grave. Of course, Iraq's freedom is impinged by the fact the war isn't over.

Meanwhile, Iraq is building a court system based on the rule of law, and based on the idea the judiciary must be relatively independent of the executive and legislative branches of government. The new judge for Saddam's trial is setting a good tone here.

And let's not forget Iraq already has a democratic Constitution, and the people on Dec. 15 actually elected a parliament, during a war, less than three years after their tyrant of more than 30 years was removed. The U.S. defeated the British in 1781. George Washington became our first president in 1789. (I just hope it won't take that much time for this Iraqi parliament to pick a prime minister!)

Hope for peace. Freedom in Iraq already is a huge improvement. Certainly freedom works much better in peacetime, and it shows already in Iraqi Kurdistan.

If the Iraqis can build their army for democracy within the next year or so, they'll be well on their way to defeating the insurgency and opening their whole nation, for the first time ever, to the creative and productive pursuits of liberty.

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