Filed under: Foreign Policy, Iraq, Middle East | Tags: Democracy, The War in Iraq, U.S. Military
Charles Krauthammer said something important last night, as he often does. He spoke about Obama’s remarks as U.S. troops withdrew from Iraqi cities yesterday:
He referred to what we have achieved as a “sovereign, stable, self-reliant” Iraq. He left out one word, and he left it out because it was a George Bush word —democracy. That was a Bush idea — to implant a democracy in Iraq.
If we had wanted to have merely a sovereign, stable self-reliant Iraq, we could have chosen a Saddamist general to succeed Saddam after the war and gotten out.
It’s true that the democracy established here is a fragile one. It’s still struggling, and we will argue for decades over whether it was worth the 4,000 American lives, as we still argue half a century later whether or not it was worth 36,000 lives to salvage a democracy in half of the Korean Peninsula.
Nonetheless, it [Iraq] is a democracy, and that’s what makes it unique and distinctive, and an amazing achievement in a sea of autocracies and dictatorships — having an effect, by example, on Lebanon, on the Gulf states, and even on Iran, where Iranians look to their west and see a country which is also Shiite, Arab, (which the Persians consider culturally inferior), and yet it has a democracy, it has elections, it has an Ayatollah Sistani who says the clerics ought to stay out of politics, and the Iranians are living under a sixth-century dictatorship run by mullahs.
So it’s a remarkable achievement, and we ought to emphasize what we have achieved in terms of democracy.
And it’s a pity that the president ignores that because the democratic nature of Iraq will establish the basis for a strategic alliance between America and Iraq in the future.
So well done, President Bush, and well done, U.S. troops. You have accomplished wonders that seemed, for a time, impossible. And well done, Mr. Krauthammer, for pointing it out so gracefully.
Filed under: Freedom, Heartwarming, Iraq, Military, News | Tags: Democracy, Iraq, President Bush, Support the Troops!, War on Terror
U.S. combat deaths in Iraq are at a 6 year low. Three Marines have been killed in combat since last August. The Navy has not lost a member to combat since February of 2008. The Air Force hasn’t had a combat death since last April. In some weeks the number of non-combat deaths for U.S. troops has topped those killed in fighting.
Iraqis’ faith in government institutions has vastly improved. 84 percent of Iraqis feel good about their security, 78% feel positive about crime protection, and 74 percent are positive about their freedom of movement. These figures come from an ABC News/BBC poll that documents the improvements in Iraq.
64 percent of Iraqis prefer Democracy as the political system for Iraq. Only 14 percent prefer a strong leader and only slightly more, 16 percent would prefer an Islamic state. George Bush was right.
A poll finding that was particularly interesting was that 53 percent of Iraqis say they “never” attend mosque, while another 11 percent attend “several times a year”. This is certainly not what we have been led to believe
The people have confidence in the Iraqi Police and the Iraqi Army at 74 percent and 73 percent respectively. 61 percent have confidence in the National Government. And Iraqis are optimistic about their future. That is very, very nice to hear, and we wish them well.
Filed under: Foreign Policy, News, Uncategorized | Tags: Democracy, John McCain, Refugees, Russia, Tbilisi, War in Georgia
Michael Totten, independent journalist extraordinaire, reports from Tbilisi in Georgia, and describes the situation there. He describes a refugee crisis all over the country and especially in the capital. Schools have been transformed into refugee housing. Michael visited one of the schools and spoke to four women — Lia, Nana, Diana, and Maya — who had fled with their children from small villages near Gori.
“We left the cattle,” Lia said. “We left the house. We left everything and came on foot because to stay there was impossible”. Diana’s account: “They are burning the houses. From most of the houses they are taking everything. They are stealing everything, even such things as toothbrushes and toilets. They are taking the toilets. Imagine. They are taking broken refrigerators.” And Nana: “We are so heartbroken. I don’t know what to say or even think. Our whole lives we were working to save something , and one day we lost everything. Now I have to start everything from the very beginning.”
As always in his reporting, Michael gives a sense of immediacy to today’s events. Read the whole thing.