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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Senator Joe Lieberman on Iraq

I may not always agree with Senator Joe Lieberman, but I can certainly respect him. He is a voice of reason and sanity in the Democratic Party.

Case in point: Lieberman's views expressed in yesterday's Wall Street Journal:

I have just returned from my fourth trip to Iraq in the past 17 months and can report real progress there.
...
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.

This is progress that, unfortunately, most of the leaders of Senator Lieberman's own party don't want the American people to know about. When was the last time you have heard any of this from Howard Dean, Ted Kennedy, Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry... I could go on with the list of names, but you get the idea.

Senator Lieberman continued by defining the war in Iraq:

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... 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.

Does anyone on the left hear that? "The outcome of this war is critically important to the security and freedom of America." Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore, Hollywood, CNN... Wake Up!

Lieberman describes the developing Iraqi democracy:

In my meeting with the thoughtful prime minister of Iraq, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, he declared with justifiable pride that his country now has the most open, democratic political system in the Arab world. He is right.

In the face of terrorist threats and escalating violence, eight million Iraqis voted for their interim national government in January, almost 10 million participated in the referendum on their new constitution in October, and even more than that are expected to vote in the elections for a full-term government on Dec. 15. Every time the 27 million Iraqis have been given the chance since Saddam was overthrown, they have voted for self-government and hope over the violence and hatred the 10,000 terrorists offer them.

Senator Lieberman points out that the United States deserves the credit (not the blame that liberals want to lay on our doorstep) for what is happening in Iraq. He also has a message for Rep. John Murtha of Pennsylvania and all others who want the U.S. to either withdraw immediately or to at least publicize a withdrawal timeline:

None of these remarkable changes would have happened without the coalition forces led by the U.S. And, I am convinced, almost all of the progress in Iraq and throughout the Middle East will be lost if those forces are withdrawn faster than the Iraqi military is capable of securing the country.

The leaders of Iraq's duly elected government understand this, and they asked me for reassurance about America's commitment. The question is whether the American people and enough of their representatives in Congress from both parties understand this.

What do the Iraqi people think about the future of their country?

Here is an ironic finding I brought back from Iraq. While U.S. public opinion polls show serious declines in support for the war and increasing pessimism about how it will end, polls conducted by Iraqis for Iraqi universities show increasing optimism. Two-thirds say they are better off than they were under Saddam, and a resounding 82% are confident their lives in Iraq will be better a year from now than they are today. What a colossal mistake it would be for America's bipartisan political leadership to choose this moment in history to lose its will and, in the famous phrase, to seize defeat from the jaws of the coming victory.

Somehow, the message of Senator Lieberman needs to be widely spread across America. Don't count on network TV to do it. Thank goodness for bloggers and talk radio. Let's get busy spreading the truth about Iraq, and let's hope that what we collectively can do is enough.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

lieberman does not have a clue what is going on. On Imus he said that Northern Iraq is as peaceful as Northern California!

8:43 PM  
Blogger Malott said...

Anonymous, Lieberman has been there. He is an eye witness. He has talked to people whose driving force is something other than hatred for George Bush.

Your information comes from the mainstream media... who think they are still reporting on Vietnam.

I think I'll go with Lieberman.

5:15 AM  
Blogger Bryan Alexander said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for visiting my blog and for sharing your comments. I think, though, that Lieberman has more than a clue; he has a pretty clear grasp of what's going on.

You seem to think that his comment about a peaceful Northern Iraq is inaccurate. However, judging from comments of others who are actually there, his comment seems to be right on the mark.

A group representing Kurdistan, called Kurdistan Development Corporation, recently ran print and broadcast ads in The Wall Street Journal and on Fox News Channel, thanking America for what it has done in Iraq. As I'm sure you know, Kurdistan is basically Northern Iraq.

A spokesman for this group, Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, in commenting on the situation in Kurdistan, said, "The truth is that while there is violence, there are big strides being taken towards democracy in Iraq, particularly in Kurdistan. There are vast sections of Iraq, and again particularly Kurdistan, where the region is safe, stable, and people are getting on with their lives, doing business, trying to build a future. Indeed, not a single coalition soldier has died in Kurdistan since March 2003."

So I think that if I have a choice of listening to people like Lieberman, who has been to Iraq four times in the past year and a half, and people like Rahman, who lives in Northern Iraq; or listening to the American mainstream media, I think Lieberman and Rahman have a much better grasp of what is really going on.

11:33 AM  

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