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During the Cold War the U.S. ringed the Soviet Union with bases in countries all over the Northern Hemisphere. That encirclement drove the Soviet leadership to fits of apoplexy and, occasionally, to very foolish foreign ventures.
During this war we won’t be on the fringes of Islam. We will be in Iraq. We will be right in the heart of Islam. Right in the midst of the enemy who would kill us all. And, when the realization of that sinks in, the American people will finally know why we went to war in Iraq.
IF THE RESULTS OF THE IRAQI elections lead to the establishment of a secular government, then Bush and the U.S. will have been the clear winners. Everyone’s choice for prime minister is Ayad Alawi. If he is whom we get, we and George Bush will have hit the jackpot.
The selection of Alawi as the eventual winner is primarily based on the conclusion that he has played his hand masterfully. He has put many miles between himself and the violence of the past 6 months. In fact, Alawi could campaign on the motto: “Let the good times roll!” and win handily.
Alawi is tough, secular, and a savage infighter. It may well turn out that his poor showing last January was a blessing in disguise for him. For Iraq to be ready for a stable government, there is agreement that the country will be required to go through a massive bloodletting. This process will ultimately exorcise all the demons left over from Saddam. If Alawi had won in January, he would have lost his turn because he mistimed his arrival. Fortunately for Alawi, it is not always good to be the early bird.
As the world’s only superpower we have an obligation to ourselves and to the rest of the world to impose discipline on all the trouble-makers and terrorists, with or without the help of our allies. The obvious reason for this is that our safety and security demand it. To those who would ask, “Why is that our job?” my reply would be to suggest they read the speech Tony Blair delivered to Congress on July 17, 2003. On that occasion the Prime Minister was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal for his loyal support of the United States during the events leading up to the Iraq war.
Toward the end of his acceptance speech, Blair took careful note of what must cross the mind of every American by saying to us:
“And I know it’s hard on America, and in some small corner of this vast country, out in Nevada or Idaho or these places I’ve never been to, but always wanted to go… I know out there there’s a guy getting on with his life, perfectly happily, minding his own business, saying to you, the political leaders of this country, ‘Why me? Why us? And why America?’”
The Prime Minister answered his own question:
“Because destiny put you in this place in history, in this moment in time, and the task is yours to do.”
John Connly Walsh works for an American company in Baghdad.
Copyright 2005 John Connly Walsh
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