A few days ago Joe Lieberman, Democratic Senator from Connecticut, wrote a moving editorial for the Opinion Journal, a division of the Wall Street Journal, upon his return from his fourth trip to Iraq in the past seventeen months. A few excerpts follow:
I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there. More work needs to be done, of course, but the Iraqi people are in reach of a watershed transformation from the primitive, killing tyranny of Saddam to modern, self-governing, self-securing nationhood–unless the great American military that has given them and us this unexpected opportunity is prematurely withdrawn.
Progress is visible and practical. In the Kurdish North, there is continuing security and growing prosperity. The primarily Shiite South remains largely free of terrorism, receives much more electric power and other public services than it did under Saddam, and is experiencing greater economic activity. The Sunni triangle, geographically defined by Baghdad to the east, Tikrit to the north and Ramadi to the west, is where most of the terrorist enemy attacks occur. And yet here, too, there is progress.
There are many more cars on the streets, satellite television dishes on the roofs, and literally millions more cell phones in Iraqi hands than before. All of that says the Iraqi economy is growing. And Sunni candidates are actively campaigning for seats in the National Assembly. People are working their way toward a functioning society and economy in the midst of a very brutal, inhumane, sustained terrorist war against the civilian population and the Iraqi and American military there to protect it.
It is a war between 27 million and 10,000; 27 million Iraqis who want to live lives of freedom, opportunity and prosperity and roughly 10,000 terrorists who are either Saddam revanchists, Iraqi Islamic extremists or al Qaeda foreign fighters who know their wretched causes will be set back if Iraq becomes free and modern. The terrorists are intent on stopping this by instigating a civil war to produce the chaos that will allow Iraq to replace Afghanistan as the base for their fanatical war-making. We are fighting on the side of the 27 million because the outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America. If the terrorists win, they will be emboldened to strike us directly again and to further undermine the growing stability and progress in the Middle East, which has long been a major American national and economic security priority.
There is quite a bit more to this piece and if you click on the headline you can read it all.
Also, while surfing around the Opinion Journal site I found another page of interest. Although almost four months old now, it’s a page that sums up the good things that had taken place during the preceding two week period in Iraq. We are so accustomed to hearing of the negative things happening over there that this piece might be a real surprise. It’s a very long page, so be prepared to spend a while learning. You may reach that page here.
After you’ve read that page, you may visit the writer’s blog right here. Arthur Chrenkoff stopped updating the blog as of September 13, 2005 (according to a pre-set plan which he has explained on the blog) but it is rich, worthwhile reading. It is quite a large blog – beautifully written – and has attracted well over 3 million visits during the eighteen months it was updated.
Please take a look at these sites so that you can be more certain that you are viewing the war issue with both eyes. You might also want to read Was Bush right about the war?, a piece I did here on NetGrits.
Though I was personally dead set against this war from the beginning, and even before the beginning when I could see it coming, I also believe strongly that we absolutely can not contemplate leaving Iraq at this time providing, of course, that the government of Iraq wants us to stay.
In many ways our efforts in Iraq are working and we know in our hearts we cannot just abandon 27 million Iraqis to 10,000 or 20,000 in-country war mongers.