Sat, Dec 20, 2003 - Page 8 News List


US will not abandon Iraq

I wish to counter some of the anti-US bias in Sami Ranadani's otherwise excellent article ("From an old tyrant to a new one," Dec. 17, page 9). Yes, the US did make egregious mistakes in the past supporting former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein as well as many other cruel dictators, all in the madness of fighting our real and imagined enemies during the Cold War. Americans understand that era and the mistakes made in winning the Cold War.

What frustrates many Americans is the blind resistance, some of it very violent, to the US' sacrifice in Iraq, resistance that is accomplishing nothing but delaying the departure of the Americans and the arrival of prosperity for Iraqis.

We understand the resistance of the deposed Baathist rulers who would like to be in power and enjoy suppressing the Iraqi people again, and that of al-Qaeda fanatics, our only real enemies.

But we do not understand the anger of the significant numbers of others.

The US' purpose is not to take over Iraq, steal their oil or to suppress Islam. There is no sinister conspiracy. The war was vaguely about weapons of mass destruction (an issue misused by the administration of US President George W. Bush), but mostly to rid a cancerous element from the world's spider web of terrorism that is trying to destroy secular, free civilization.

We believe that the best way to stop the cancer of terrorism is to push more Arabs into a state of freedom, democracy and more prosperity. Iraq can be the beginning and the model of that movement.

Bush can't trumpet that too loudly because of the delicacy of relations with Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, but that is the reason he enjoys the backing of most Americans in this new era and new "war." We understand and believe in this greater goal.

The US troops would not be shooting at anyone if there were no fanatical crazed misguided resistance. Are all Arabs ignorant of US history except for the previous US support of Saddam and the previous British occupation?

Are none taught in school that the US sacrificed lives and immense amounts of money, while skillfully managing the complete recovery of a ravaged Europe and Japan back to prosperous and free societies -- then left.

Left, went home (except for some apolitical troops facing overwhelming Soviet troop strength on the other side of the Iron Curtain).

The US has never desired to occupy any other country -- there is no reason to -- we like ours too much.

And let me remind Ranadani what a real occupier looks like: it rounds up 20 or so citizens and shoots them for every soldier killed; it presses the occupied natives into sex camps and slave labor; and it does not repair schools, send in its citizens at great risk to teach self-government nor set up governing councils to write a constitution and organize free elections.

The overriding desire of all Americans and their government is to get out of Iraq. Trust me on this. This goal is being needlessly and bloodily delayed by the blind anti-Western Arab fanaticism. Iraq will have its elections and its self-destiny free of murderous dictators but it can't happen instantly.

The US must in its own long-term international interest assure that the ship is righted. And if somehow this administration, which is doing badly in public relations, were to lose sight of that objective, the next administration would quickly fix that because in the US the will of the people, later if not sooner, prevails.

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