By Roger Propst|
On Monday of this week a momentous event happened in the Middle East. After 30 years of Saddam Hussein's brutal dictatorship, Iraq became a free country again and joined the international community of nations.
Yes, there are many hard days ahead for this fledgling country whose people have suffered so much; but the dreams they have of a free and prosperous, democratic Iraq in which they and their children can pursue the rewards of freedom will hopefully keep them on track during tough times. It is time for the Iraqis to stand up and fight for their country.
If they do, they will win with the help of freedom loving countries such as the United States and Great Britain. It is significant that many of the countries in the coalition that freed Iraq are recently liberated from the iron rule of the former Soviet Union.
These people know the despair of being dominated, appreciate their liberation, and want to assist others in escaping the suppression of man's innate desire to be free.
Alas, this morning in "Opinions and Comments" on the Herald, we are confronted, not by accolades for this great event liberating 25,000,000 people, but by a rehashing of the talking points of the liberal left Bush bashers about weapons and ties to al Qaeda.
The column concentrated on two issues central to the war in Iraq, weapons of mass destruction, and a connection between Iraq and al Qaeda.
Let's look at the first question; no weapons of mass destruction have been found; not so. It is true that stockpiles of weapons believed by everyone, including Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Robert Byrd, Jay Rockefeller, Joe Biden, and all the intelligence agencies in the world, to be present have not been found as of yet.
I have in previous articles listed quotes by those individuals stating those beliefs. Recently in Iraq, a roadside explosive device consisting of live artillery shells was disarmed by U.S. soldiers. One of the shells contained two liters of the deadly nerve gas, saran.
The new chief of the search group looking for weapons recently disclosed that another dozen of these artillery shells loaded with saran have been found randomly in ammunition stockpiles. These weapons are capable of killing many people when detonated.
Israeli intelligence reported prior to the war Iraqi convoys moving weapons materials to Syria. The question should not be if he had, but rather where are the weapons? No stockpiles yet, but to say none have been found is a stretch.
The second premise of the first question is about Iraq's ties to al Qaeda. The writer states that the bipartisan 9/11 commission says definitively that there were no ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda; that is another misleading statement.
The operative term here is 9/11 commission. The only statement the commission's interim staff report issued was one that stated they could find no credible evidence of collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda in the attacks of 9/11.
The Bush administration has never claimed Saddam was directly involved in 9/11, but rather that contacts and ties existed between Iraq and al Qaeda going back to the mid 1990's.
The Vice Chair of the commission, Democrat Lee Hamilton, stated that the report did not contradict the Bush administration's assertions, but in fact confirmed the ties and connections that had been alleged.
Just in the past week, Russian President Putin disclosed that he had personally alerted President Bush prior to the invasion of Iraq that Russian intelligence had uncovered Iraq's plans to conduct terrorist attacks inside the United States and on U.S. installations abroad.
In 1998 the Clinton Justice Department indicted Osama bin Laden, charging him with murder in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa. The indictment said: "Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iraq and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States.
In addition, al Qaeda reached and understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq."
These are the facts being ignored!
As to ignoring criticism by Republicans, former administration officials, bipartisan groups, etc., we welcome open and honest debate in which issues are discussed.
I might ask how the other side ignores people like Democrat Senator Zell Miller from Georgia, who introduced Bill Clinton at the 1992 Democratic National Convention, and will this year speak in primetime at the Republican National Convention in support of President Bush.
What about former Democrat mayor of New York, Ed Koch, and his support of the Iraq War. Senator Joe Lieberman, Democrat Senator from Connecticut and Vice President candidate in 2000, speaks eloquently of the war and its being essential for the protection of the American people. Democratic Congressman Jim Marshall of Georgia, a former Airborne-Ranger in Vietnam who received two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart, puts it best when he says, "Nothing threatens the liberal agenda more than failure in the war in Iraq. Those who care about civil liberties, peace and humanitarian causes undermine their own goals unless they exercise restraint, foresight, character, and resolve on this one issue.
Hard though it may be to accept, even peace activists should support this war. Whatever your view of the wisdom or justification for invading Iraq, it's done. Perhaps we've stirred up a hornets' nest. So be it. The hornets were coming for us sooner or later anyway."
It is amazing that someone could think that they have such a grasp of truth in this world that they would accuse other patriotic Americans who do not agree with their views of having the blood of American soldiers and Iraqis on their hands.
The blood of these precious souls is on the hands of Saddam Hussein and on him only. What about the blood of the 300,000 Iraqis found in mass graves in Iraq since the liberation? What about the 100,000 Shiites murdered by Saddam after the ceasefire in 1991?
What about the thousands of Kurds killed by chemical weapons in northern Iraq? What about the thousands killed and tortured by Saddam over the thirty-year reign of terror?
On whose hands is the blood of all these Iraqis? The real pretenders are those who ignore all this and think that appeasement of tyrants is an acceptable foreign policy. As Winston Churchill once said, and I paraphrase, "Appeasement is like hoping the crocodile will eat you last."
Here are some real facts! We have two fine Americans running for President of this great country, George Bush and John Kerry. I think both of these men, although they differ in their views of governance, are American patriots whose vision is for a better America.
Surely we can debate the issues of the campaign without personally attacking those whose views differ from ours, and laying claim to exclusive possession of the truth.
Let freedom reign!