View Full Version : The Truth About Iraq

01-01-06, 10:13 AM
New York Post

IRAQ made impressive progress in 2005. You wouldn't have known it from the daily news coverage or the surrender-now demands of left-wing extremists, but the long-suffering nation marched forward.

Here and abroad, the enemies of freedom insisted that failure was inevitable. Terrorists, insurgents, journalists with agendas, global America-haters and the Democratic Party's national leadership all tried to force our troops out of Iraq, no matter the consequences for the 26 million human beings who'd be left behind.

But the Iraqis refused to fail. Our troops refused to fail. And the Bush administration refused to fail.

Thank God.

Over the last 12 months, the pessimists called every major development wrong. But that won't stop them from doing everything they can again this year to devalue freedom, discredit democracy, drive Iraq toward civil war, encourage the terrorists and, above all, embarrass the Bush administration.

Our critics, foreign and domestic, will continue to ignore the human rights of millions while shrieking over the "mistreatment" of imprisoned terrorists and demanding a "fair" trial for Saddam (in Europe, with no death penalty). But the left's self-righteous bluster sounds more like sour-grape nagging every day.

CONSIDER just a dozen of the many reasons for optimism about Iraq:

1) Despite left-wing arguments that the peoples of the Middle East aren't ready to rule themselves through the ballot box, Iraq just held its third nationwide vote — with higher levels of participation than an American presidential election.

2) Iraq's Sunni Arabs, who were supposed to doom democracy, came out in masses to vote this time. They were disappointed that their minority numbers didn't magically give them a majority (sound familiar?), but their largest parties are maneuvering for places in the new government.

3) The terrorists lost a lot of ground last year, figuratively and literally. Their savagery backfired with the population, and more Iraqi security forces stood up for their country. Meanwhile, our troops killed terrorists in satisfying and lopsided numbers. The result? The terrorists still can create nasty local problems — but they can't destroy Iraq's future.

4) The Sunni Arab insurgents lost steam. Attacks still make headlines, but Iraq's major cities are far more secure than they were a year ago. Major combat operations moved from big cities to smaller cities — and then down to dusty border towns.

5) Every terrorist and insurgent tactic failed. Bombs may kill individuals, but they haven't been able to kill the new Iraq — or dishearten our troops. Extremist atrocities alienated Iraqis, and attacks on the country's infrastructure haven't won the bad guys any new friends. At present, they've shifted their efforts to concentrate on Iraq's oil industry. They'll fail this time, too.

6) Our military leaders are so confident about the situation that they believe we can reduce our troop levels significantly in 2006. So much for being defeated.

7) The international community became much more supportive of the new Iraq, forgiving Saddam-era debts while increasing aid and loans to the government. Foreign investment soared in peaceful Kurdistan (even the Turks invested).

The Middle East is changing, thanks to our removal of Saddam and our military presence. The process may seem glacially slow to our impatient tempers, but until our tanks reached Baghdad there was no hope of change at all. Now, Syrian troops are out of Lebanon, the Damascus regime is shaking, the whacky-for-Allah president of Iran is panicstricken, and even the Saudis have decided that supporting evil in Iraq is bound to come back at them. Egypt's Hosni Mubarak is next.

9) Far from being discouraged, our Army and Marine veterans of Iraq have been re-enlisting in startlingly high numbers — knowing they'll be sent back to Iraq. The let's-just-surrender trio of Dean, Reid and Pelosi may believe we're bound to fail, but our troops are voluntarily betting their lives on a win.

10) President Bush found his voice again. After allowing the give-it-all-to-the-terrorists crowd to shape our domestic debate for far too long, Bush came out swinging — and raised his popularity ratings significantly. Deeds weren't enough. The president had to sound like a wartime leader. These days, he does.

11) The American people displayed their inborn common sense again. As antiwar activists betrayed our troops with lies that we were losing, their fellow citizens shifted back behind the administration late last year. Abandoned by nervous Democrats, Cindy Sheehan had to go to Spain to attract an audience (even in Madrid, she didn't get much of one).

12) After failing to convince America's citizens or our troops that Iraq was doomed, our get-Bush-at-all-costs media shifted to exaggerating the domestic threat from intelligence surveillance. To hear the pundits howl, you'd think the National Security Agency had microphones in our showers and the CIA kept agents under our beds. But the dictatorship-of-the-intellectuals bunch failed again — instead of being outraged, a large majority of Americans support using any intelligence means necessary to get the terrorists before they get us. Made-in-Missouri common sense wins again.

WE should be encouraged by the progress in Iraq and heartened by the American people's distrust of elitist propaganda. From Hollywood's latest anti-American rant to the decaying New York Times, the stars of the America's Most Arrogant Show have had to learn yet again that we don't take orders from trust-fund snots, campus cowards or actors (when Alfred Hitchcock said, "Actors are cattle," he was being far too kind).

We, the people, support our troops. And we don't like it when cynical activists and political hacks try to exploit those in uniform. Americans will always trust G.I. Joe (and Jane) over the latte lizards at moveon.org.

As we enter this new year, much could still go wrong in Iraq. The remarkable Arab genius for failure still might thwart the progress made to date. Minority and women's rights are threatened. The old grudges haven't vanished. Corruption, the developing world's favorite contact sport, could undo Iraq's new government. Many Iraqis may have to learn for themselves that theology and government don't mix.

Even as they falter, insurgents and terrorists will continue to generate headlines — their last, best hope. More of our troops will bleed in the cause of universal freedom. And as our own midterm elections approach, we'll hear no end of defeatist rhetoric from the Democratic Party and its partisans in the media.

But most Iraqis chose to vote, rather than shoot. Iraqis bear more and more of their own security burden. The world has begun to realize how high the stakes are in Baghdad. And global terror lost ground in 2005.

Every American reading these words should be proud of our troops, our country and our cause.

Ralph Peters' latest book is "New Glory: Expanding America's Global Supremacy."