Monday, March 15, 2004

Iraq a year later

Iraq, one year later, is summarized by Bruce Chapman in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

During World War II, when the 1944 presidential election came around, Republican candidates targeted Franklin D. Roosevelt's competency and motives. They unearthed government procurement scandals and corporate "war profiteering." Some even hinted that FDR was complicit in the war's outbreak.

But they could not oppose the war they had voted for and the public approved. They whooped up political excitement, but Roosevelt won re-election on a motto of "Don't Change Horses in the Middle of a Stream."

Unlike what Kerry is doing today. Lest we forget:

Recall, in contrast, what critics predicted. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. and Iraqi deaths. The "Arab street" was going to rise up. Hordes of new terrorists would be recruited and descend on us. Friendly Moslem governments in the Middle East would fall and unfriendly ones become bellicose.

Instead, what he have is:

The Arab street, for the first time, is learning that democracy is possible in their region. Press freedom in Iraq is the envy of other Arab countries. Women's civil rights have increased. Friendly governments were not destabilized; rather, unfriendly ones, including Syria and Iran, have come under new pressure. With Saddam gone, Iraq no longer finances suicide bombers in Palestine.

The United States, meanwhile, showed its lack of imperial ambitions by removing its troops from Saudi Arabia and the Saudis finally are cooperating in eliminating al-Qaida-affiliated cells in their country. Destroying such cells is crucial to preventing the funding and training of terrorists who could mount new attacks on the American.

While the war has not yet uncovered stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, it did help reveal them in Libya, Iran and Pakistan.

Finally, in light of the recent Madrid bombings, especially:

Election-year spin and shrill name-calling won't change the reality that global terrorism still threatens America. Bush realizes that the threat cannot, as Sen. John Kerry suggests, chiefly be handled by "intelligence and law enforcement." Sometimes, it has to be confronted militarily. In non-political moments, both parties and three administrations have grasped this truth. So, I believe, do most Americans.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

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