I've been following the upcoming Iraqi elections with great anticipation. Finally, the Iraqis got to vote yesterday. Friends of Democracy has complete coverage of the Iraqi elections. I also suggest reading some of the personal Iraqi blogs such as Iraq the Model and Healing Iraq (my two favorites). I wish my Iraqi brothers and sisters the best for their country. I’m pleased that they got out and voted despite the dangers posed by Zarqawi and his gang of Islamofascist thugs. The Iraqis have suffered so much as a people, and now they finally have a chance for self-determination.
The pessimists of the left and of the international community seem not to want democracy to succeed in Iraq. I don’t understand that mentality. The Iraqis may not have a perfect government free of corruption and cronyism, but what country does? Does Canada, France, or Russia? Don’t make me laugh. The U.S. government has many problems too that I could write pages and pages on. But I’d much rather focus on the possibilities of a democratic Iraq.
One of the reasons why I support the War in Iraq is because of the horrible abuses that took place under Saddam's regime. All segments of the Iraqi people were brutalized--Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Christian, Jew--in one way or another. I was pretty young when Saddam persecuted and gassed the Kurds so I didn't know about it until I was in college, and I was shocked that the U.N. didn't even try to haul him into the Hague after the first Gulf War. Some anti-war people that I've talked to say that Halabja was a long time ago (1988), and that doesn't justify Saddam's removal by the Coalition forces without the U.N.'s ok today. Well, in most countries, there is no statute of limitations on murder, and it should certainly apply to genocide as well. There are no higher crimes than the ones Saddam committed against his own people and his neighbors in Iran and Kuwait.
According to several human rights groups, Saddam murdered hundreds of thousands of his own people. If the international community doesn't feel Saddam's crimes warrant his forced removal, then what is the standard? If not hundreds of thousands of dead, then must we wait until millions are murdered? Of course, the typical anti-war person always comes back with, "Well, there are many evil regimes in the world. Why don't we do something about them too?"
What they fail to see is that in Iraq, we had the perfect opportunity to liberate that country for several reasons. First, the U.S. and her allies were technically still at war with Saddam. The cease-fire depended on Saddam's compliance and he violated the U.N. Security Council resolutions repeatedly by firing on our aircraft and playing games with the U.N. inspectors (Clouseaus). Whether or not he had stockpiles of WMDs at the time of the Coalition invasion is not the point. He never lost the ambition to possess WMDs, and with the help of corrupt nations like Russia and China that helped him violate the U.N. sanctions he would have obtained them eventually and used them on his enemies (including the U.S).
Second, Saddam was constantly "rattling his saber" against Israel, the U.S., Kuwait, and the West in general. He may have been full of hot air, but he had attacked Israel and Kuwait before. Plus, he tried to assassinate a former U.S. president in an act of revenge which could be construed as an act of war. I don’t care if you’re Republican or Democrat, other governments cannot be allowed to assassinate our citizens, private or public.
Third, he also gave material support to various terrorist groups including Hamas and al-Qaeda. After 9-11 President Bush believed, based on intelligence that seems to have been faulty, that Saddam was a threat to the U.S. and his neighbors because of his terrorist connections and his development of WMD. Some think that groups like Hamas only want to “free Palestine” (hah!) and harm only Israel, but many of the Islamic terrorist groups are interconnected. I just finished reading Steve Emerson’s “American Jihad,” in which he elucidates the links between all of the Middle-Eastern terrorist groups and their operations within the U.S. that have been going on since the late 80’s. Scary stuff. I wouldn’t trust that these groups won’t attack the U.S. when they get the chance, if they haven’t already. The U.S. is the “Great Satan” while Israel is only the “Little Satan” after all.
Fourth, Saddam was using the oil wealth of his country to enrich himself (and bribe U.N. members) rather than aid his people in violation of U.N. resolutions. So removing Saddam and liberating the Iraqi people is a win-win situation. Saddam is no longer in control of Iraq's oil wealth, the Iraqi people are. He and his monstrous sons can no longer torture and kill his people. In fact, they can choose their own leaders now. Saddam can't support terrorist organizations that threaten us and our allies. And Saddam won’t ever have the opportunity to re-expand his WMD weapons programs and possibly use them against the U.S. or its allies. So why aren’t Democrats like Ted Kennedy and John Kerry happier about the Iraqi elections?