One year ago, soldiers
from the United States, Great Britain, Australia, Spain and other coalition
members entered Iraq for the purpose of liberating it from Saddam Hussein,
one of the worst tyrants of this or any other century.
A year later, Saddam has been both deposed and captured. His sons,
Uday and Qusay were killed in a firefight. There are hundreds of newspapers
and satellite television, so Iraq is no longer cut off from the world; its
citizens are exposed to every point of view imaginable. Shiias, Sunnis and
Kurds have united to sign a Provisional Constitution. Soon Iraqis will rule
Of course, it has not been easy. Iraqis and Coalition soldiers have
been subject to suicide attacks for many months now. The death of every
Iraqi and Coalition soldier is lamentable and disconcerting. Secretary
of Defense Donald Rumsfeld warned that the endeavor to establish democracy
in Iraq would be “messy.”
However, the Left would have us believe that Iraq is better off with the
Coalition out of Iraq and Saddam back in power. Or at the very least,
the Left would prefer the United Nations. Well, the UN did not exactly stick
around long after its headquarters were bombed last summer. Iraq does
not need fair weather friends like the UN. After all, UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan did consider Saddam “a man he could work with.”
The Left has done everything in its power to undermine the liberation of
Iraq. Even as Coalition troops were entering Baghdad, the New York Times
was insisting that our endeavor in Iraq was a “quagmire.” Shortly after
Saddam was deposed, the Left was hyperventilating about the Iraqi National
Museum, insisting the Coalition had neglected it as it was looted after liberation.
Within a month, the story proved to be a hoax.
It was only then that the Left focussed on WMDs. Certainly, it is disturbing
that no WMDs were found, but it is curious that the Left did not question
the existence of WMDs prior to and during the war. In fact, Leftists like
Eric Alterman argued that Saddam would use WMDs against Coalition soldiers
if war was undertaken. The idea that Bush lied about WMDs is absurd.
He was acting on the information that was available to him. The Left
simultaneously asserts that Bush is an idiot while having the wherewithal
to devise a scheme to fool every member of the United States Congress and
major world leaders. The Left is angered that Bush made a promise
and delivered plain and simple.
I do want to address the deaths of Coalition soldiers and Iraqi civilians.
The Left is using these tragic deaths in a futile attempt to turn Iraq into
Vietnam in a desert. First, let us remember that the U.S. military is a voluntary
force, unlike in Vietnam where the military was conscripted via the Draft.
There were certainly personnel in Vietnam who were drafted unwillingly.
But today people who volunteer in the military know what they are getting
into and so do their families. It doesn’t mean that the prospect of
combat, injury and possibly death is not a source of concern and heartbreak.
The point is that the soldiers who are in Iraq want to be there and that
their families understand the risks even if it doesn’t necessarily ease the
pain of separation.
The Left bemoans the death of Iraqi civilians since liberation.
Again, these deaths are lamentable and painful. Ironically, because Iraq
now has a free press we know exactly who is living and who is dead.
Let us not forget that people were killed in horrific ways in Iraq every
day under Saddam’s quarter century reign in power. Sure, the
human rights community highlighted these injustices in their annual reports.
But it was the very closed nature of Iraqi society under Saddam that prevented
these deaths from being reported night after night on the evening news. No
one should kid themselves that Iraq was without violence during Saddam’s
reign. It is also important to keep in mind that the Iraqis that have
been killed since liberation have been killed by people either loyal to Saddam
or by other terrorist organizations -- especially al Qaeda -- not by
Iraq has a long way to go but its future is brighter than it has been in
years. There is every reason to believe that its future will shine
a little bit brighter in another year from now. Thank G-d Iraq
Aaron Goldstein, a former member of the socialist New Democratic Party, writes poetry and has a chapbook titled Oysters and the Newborn Child: Melancholy and Dead Musicians. His poetry can be viewed on www.poetsforthewar.org.
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