Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The Future Iraq Deserves

I find I am constantly irritated by loud mouthed, arrogant and mentally deficient individuals who scream for instant pullout of the troops from Iraq. Where these people were educated is suspect as well as their IQ. It appears few, study, (I'll even downgrade that to read,) history anymore except believing an Oliver Stone movie as "History." Anyone with a modicum of analytical capability has to realize that it's us or they and peaceniks and platitudes will only get you killed in the long run. I believe in peace through superior firepower. Do it to them before they do it to you. Look at Israel and the 67 war. Wako leftists insisted Israel should have waited until Egypt attacked before responding. That sort of vacuous thinking indicates that we should all leave our doors open and only install locks after we have been robbed. Idiotarians disgust me. But have a nice day!
That's the lead in to Chabali's piece in the WSJ online today which I decided to post in its entirety because it is pithy and accurate. Only a Yahoo (no! not the internet version*) would disagree with the points made and the obvious conclusions, to wit we must stay the course.

The Future Iraq Deserves
A democratic, pluralistic Iraq is the only acceptable outcome.

December 22, 2004

BAGHDAD--The Iraq Liberation Act, voted in Congress in November 1998 and hence set as part of U.S. law, clearly stated that the pursuit of democracy was a primary motive for regime change in Iraq. The war of liberation in the spring of 2003 was understood by the majority of Iraqis, yearning to be rid of the yoke of Saddam's tyranny, as liberation. Doubt and distrust set in when liberation became occupation.

Nevertheless, an important trajectory has been set in motion with the removal of the Baathist dictatorship. Political freedom is moving forward despite the obstacles, delays and great losses, primarily to the Iraqi people but also to U.S. and coalition forces. (Witness the attack on the U.S. Army mess tent in Mosul yesterday.) This momentum cannot be reversed.

The Iraqi political landscape is now dominated by three concerns that must be addressed: first, elections in January and their outcome; second, a status-of-forces agreement with the Coalition forces; and third, the writing of a permanent constitution

Despite the lack of security in Iraq today, a democratic, pluralistic Iraq is the only acceptable outcome. Iraq's unity can be best secured through the involvement of all groups in the political process. The concerns being voiced by many in the international community, of the fear of Sunni marginalization and Shiite domination, were the same concerns that allowed Saddam to last as long as he did. Those arguments are reappearing today, to close the door of hope and opportunity for the Iraqi people. But Saddamism without Saddam is simply not an option.

Iraq's people are already realizing their objective of free elections by mobilizing themselves electorally for the first time in 45 years. There are 80 blocs of lists or individuals that have already registered to take part. The number of registered voters is increasing by the day. This is a clear expression by the Iraqi people of their wish to participate in a legitimate political process, and to ensure that their voices will not be silenced as they were under Saddam.

The United Iraqi Alliance list, consisting of most of the Shiite groups, is an important achievement for this new Iraq. It is a long way from the Shiite rejectionist position back in the early days of the Iraqi state, a position that Shiites have paid for ever since. Today, they are learning that their participation can only be ensured through a legitimate political process. This list is about active participation in a democratic process, not a subversion of elections for the sake of a theocratic Islamic state. It is wrong to assume that this process will be subverted by a pro-Iranian Islamic government. Iraq's Shiites are well aware that it was the U.S. and its allies that rid them of Saddam. This will remain the basis for a pragmatic relationship that dictates their interaction with Washington. They risk losing, rather than gaining, by doing otherwise.

Iraqi Shiites are proud Arabs. They have deep roots in, and are committed to, Iraq. They are also members of a diverse community with differing political, social and cultural orientations. Their Shiism has been the first call for persecution. That is the very identity that has cost them so much. To rally along that identity as a first expression of their political voice is but natural. It is the first building block for a reasonably balanced state, as well as the first impediment to be overcome toward a non-sectarian future.

The first task of the newly elected provisional parliament must be to reach agreement with the U.S. to determine the status of their forces in Iraq and agree a timetable for a phased withdrawal. This is a very important task in addressing the security situation. By having a clearly defined legal status in Iraq, U.S. and Coalition forces remove any legitimacy of terrorist attacks against them. Nonetheless, there is no desire among the majority of Iraqis, including those on the United Iraqi Alliance list, to call for a sudden and irresponsible withdrawal of American forces from Iraq.

Iraq is not the new frontier in a holy war. The terrorists, hiding under an Islamic banner, are the real perpetrators of sectarianism in Iraq. They are seriously undermining everyone, particularly the Sunni community that they claim to represent. The ideological drive is distinctly Baathist. Saddam's regime excelled at sectarianism and ethnic discrimination, and that is what the insurgents desire today--to push Iraq into a sectarian civil war. They are the ones attacking mosques and churches and hospitals. They do not stand up for the rights of Sunni Iraqis, but merely for their own interests, of absolute totalitarian rule. Using a manipulative language of skewed religious metaphors and nationalist symbols, they lobby Iraq's Sunnis to join them in their violence. Co-existence and consensus-building are abhorrent to Baathists. Their logic is very simple, if they are not in power, then Iraq should not exist. Those still fighting for a return to Saddam's Iraq are in! capable of practicing healthy competitive politics, of participating in a legitimate process of nation-building.

The Sunnis of Iraq were also among Saddam's victims and have as much at stake as other Iraqis. They are part and parcel of Iraq's democratic future. The Sunni community will not be cannon fodder for the restoration of the odious Saddamist state, nor for the continuation of the lucrative corrupt practices benefiting some in neighboring countries and around the world. They stand to gain as much in an egalitarian representational system that respects the welfare and dignity of all its citizens.

Finally, a permanent Iraqi constitution ratified by the people is the pillar that will uphold democracy. The path towards full representational democracy has just started, with the first indispensable step of elections next month. The culmination of this process lies in the writing of a permanent constitution and the holding of elections for a permanent government next December. The permanent Iraqi constitution is the basis of a social contract for the Iraqi people. Through a political consensus of all Iraq's communities, the primacy of individual rights and citizenship must be protected above any other consideration, whether communitarian or geographic.

That is the future that Iraq deserves, and the future that Iraq can have.

Mr. Chalabi, president of the Iraqi National Congress, is a member of the current national assembly and a former member of the Iraqi Governing Council.

* Swift, in Gulliver’s Travels, noted that the Yahoos where the most un-teachable of animals.


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