Friday, March 18, 2005

For those unsure whether a democratic Iraq can take hold, you'd do well to consider the following story and commentary about a young Iraqi Policeman (IP) in Baghdad:
...At this point the IP had to know the vehicle was a VBIED [armed insurgent vehicle], and that its target was the approaching Americans. But this man, who had sworn an oath to uphold the rule of law, interposed himself between the VBIED and the convoy and opened fire with his sidearm. We will never know what happened in those next few moments because a fireball reached out like a hungry animal and emptied its scorching rage on the only target at hand, the lone Iraqi Policeman. If the news covered the issue at all it was likely a small blurb on page seven of the international section. And if you read through that blurb at all you probably just shook your head and wondered just what the hell was happening in Iraq.

So what is happening you ask? What is happening in Iraq is people are learning what it means to be free, and Iraqis are paying for that freedom up front with their blood. Have you noticed that the insurgents keep targeting Iraqi Army recruiting stations and killing dozens at a time? Did you just file away the stories in your mental rolodex or pause to read between the lines? If you took the time to critically view the chain of stories it would become obvious that the reason the attacks kept coming is because young men refuse to be intimidated and keep signing up. Despite the bloody threats of the insurgents and their suicidal attacks. If you want to know why I have hope for Iraq you need look no further then the story behind the stories. And the sacrifices of a lone Iraqi Policeman who gave his life for his country… and ours.

As you probably guessed, the author is an American soldier in Iraq. I included his commentary not just because he's earned the right to have it included (I recommend reading his blog further), but also because I happen to agree with the gist of it.

Despite our many mistakes, I truly do believe that democracy will take hold there -- if only because young Iraqis like the IP above are willing to literally fight to the death for it. And they are willing to fight because they know full well that they have no other choice. As the insurgents have made clear, it's either democracy or a reversion to totalitarian rule.

The shame of the matter -- and the real tragedy of the IP's death -- is that after all the money and energy and blood the U.S. has shed, the Iraqis themselves should still, two years on, have to physically fight for it at all.


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