Thursday, March 30, 2006

President Bush on "Democracy in Iraq"

To my astonishment I keep reading articles, written by authoritative American journalists, which criticize the US Army or the US Government for their handling of the Iraqi situation.
Last but not least, John Derbyshire, NRO (National Review Online) columnist, who admits: "Yes, I criticize the military" . In his article, titled "Chickenhawks" , he writes:
"In the first place, I very strongly resist the idea that any national policy that puts the military in harm’s way should be above criticism on those grounds alone. If my government sends troops to trouble spot X in furtherance of policy Y, and I disagree with Y, not only am I at liberty to say so, it is my citizenly duty to say so. You may of course argue that by speaking out in public, I am encouraging the enemy, and so indirectly causing more U.S. casualties. The obvious riposte is that by speaking out, I may hasten the end of a mistaken (according to me) policy, saving casualties that would otherwise have occurred. As debating points, these are a wash".

Today, Mr John Derbyshire, your President, Mr Bush, has given a remarkable speech at Freedom House and I'll summarise some of the points he made.

President Discusses Democracy in Iraq with Freedom House

"We meet at a time of war, but also at a moment of great hope. In our world, and due in part to our efforts, freedom is taking root in places where liberty was unimaginable a couple of years ago. Just 25 years ago, at the start of the 1980s, there were only 45 democracies on the face of the Earth. Today, Freedom House reports there are 122 democracies, and more people now live in liberty than ever before.

The people of Afghanistan have elected their first democratic parliament in more than a generation. The people of Lebanon have recovered their independence and chosen their leaders in free elections. The people of Kyrgyzstan have driven a corrupt regime from power and voted for democratic change. The people of Liberia have overcome decades of violence and are now led by the first woman elected as a head of state in any African nation. And the courageous people of Iraq have gone to the polls not once, not twice, but three times, choosing a transitional government, a democratic constitution, and a new government under that constitution."

"In the wake of recent violence in Iraq, many Americans are asking legitimate questions:
Why are Iraqis so divided?
And did America cause the instability by removing Saddam Hussein from power?
They ask, after three elections, why are the Iraqi people having such a hard time coming together?
And can a country with so many divisions ever build a stable democracy?
They ask why we can't bring our troops home now and let the Iraqis sort out their differences on their own

"These are fair questions, and today, I'll do my best to answer them. I'll discuss some of the reasons for the instability we're seeing in Iraq, why democracy is the only force that can overcome these divisions, why I believe the vast majority of Iraqis want to live in freedom and peace, and why the security of our nation depends on the success of a free Iraq"

"Today,some Americans ask whether removing Saddam caused the divisions and instability we're now seeing.
In fact, much of the animosity and violence we now see is the legacy of Saddam Hussein. He is a tyrant who exacerbated sectarian divisions to keep himself in power. Iraq is a nation with many ethnic and religious and sectarian and regional and tribal divisions. Before Saddam Hussein, Iraqis from different communities managed to live together. ...To prevent these different groups from coming to challenge his regime, Saddam Hussein undertook a deliberate strategy of maintaining control by dividing the Iraqi people. He stayed on top by brutally repressing different Iraqi communities and pitting them one against the other."

"The argument that Iraq was stable under Saddam and that stability is now in danger because we removed him is wrong. While liberation has brought its own set of challenges, Saddam Hussein's removal from power was the necessary first step in restoring stability and freedom to the people of Iraq."

"Today some Americans are asking why the Iraqi people are having such a hard time building a democracy.
The reason is that the terrorists and former regime elements are exploiting the wounds inflicted under Saddam's tyranny. The enemies of a free Iraq are employing the same tactics Saddam used -- killing and terrorizing the Iraqi people in an effort to foment sectarian division.

For the Saddamists, provoking sectarian strife is business as usual. And we know from the terrorists' own words that they're using the same tactics with the goal of inciting a civil war."

"...Yet, despite massive provocations, Iraq has not descended into civil war. Most Iraqis have not turned to violence. The Iraqi security forces have not broken up into sectarian groups waging war against each other. Instead, Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish soldiers stood together to protect religious sites, enforce a curfew, and restore civil order."

"... Iraqi leaders are coming to grips with an important truth: The only practical way to overcome the divisions of three decades of tyranny is through democracy. Democracy is the only form of government where every person has a say in the governance of a country. It's the only form of government that will yield to a peaceful Middle East."

"..Finally, some Americans are asking if it's time to pull out our troops and leave the Iraqis to settle their own differences.
I know the work in Iraq is really difficult, but I strongly feel it's vital to the security of our country. The terrorists are killing and maiming and fighting desperately to stop the formation of a unity government because they understand what a free Iraq in the heart of the Middle East means for them and their ideology. They know that when freedom sets root in Iraq, it will be a mortal blow to their aspirations to dominate the region and advance their hateful vision. So they're determined to stop the advance of a free Iraq, and we must be equally determined to stop them."

".. The irony is that the enemy seems to have a much clearer sense of what's at stake than some of the politicians here in Washington, D.C."
"...If we leave Iraq before the job is done, the terrorists will move in and fill the vacuum, and they will use that failed state to bring murder and destruction to freedom-loving nations.

I know some in our country disagree with my decision to liberate Iraq. Whatever one thought about the decision to remove Saddam from power, I hope we should all agree that
pulling our troops out prematurely would be a disaster. If we were to let the terrorists drive us out of Iraq, we would signal to the world that America cannot be trusted to keep its word. We would undermine the morale of our troops by betraying the cause for which they have sacrificed. We would cause the tyrants in the Middle East to laugh at our failed resolve and tighten their repressive grip. The global terrorist movement would be emboldened and more dangerous than ever. For the security of our citizens and the peace of the world, we will not turn the future of Iraq over to the followers of a failed dictator, or to evil men like bin Laden and Zarqawi."



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