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I have written several times about my belief in the transformative power of democracy, and how giving a long-oppressed people the right to select their own leaders is the best defense against terrorism and the best offense against its origins. The Washington Post files a report that demonstrates exactly what I meant in today's edition. Douglas Struck writes from Baghdad about a new sense of civic pride and a turning point in the insurgency that all springs from the successful elections in Iraq:
With a hero who gave his life for the elections, a revived national anthem blaring from car stereos and a greater willingness to help police, the public mood appears to be moving more clearly against the insurgency in Iraq, political and security officials said.
In the week since national elections, police officers and Iraqi National Guardsmen said they have received more tips from the public, resulting in more arrests and greater effectiveness in their efforts to weaken the violent insurgency rocking the country. ...
But officials in Baghdad said a relative lull in violence in the capital has fueled the sense that something has fundamentally changed since the vote. A change of attitudes in Baghdad could make a crucial difference in the battle against the insurgency, and a buoyed sense of civic pride is already beginning to change the way the public treats the police, authorities say.
"They saw what we did for them in the election by providing safety, and now they understand this is their army and their sons," said Sgt. Haider Abudl Heidi, a National Guardsman wearing a flak jacket at a checkpoint in Baghdad.
No one likes to see foreign troops marching into their homeland, especially when such cultural divisions remain between the West and the Middle East. However, after that came hope for real change, and Bush made clear he would not abandon them until the US and UK had secured it for them. The Iraqis even provided their own security forces for the election, a point of extreme pride for a nation which saw its liberation as an exposure of their inability to get rid of Saddam themselves. And now the nation has a true hero, an Iraqi officer who died to ensure that others could live -- and vote:
Part of that mood change is credited to Abdul Amir, Iraq's newest national hero. On election day, Amir, 30, a policeman in Baghdad, noticed a man walking toward a polling station who appeared to be carrying something heavy under his coat. Amir wrapped his arms around the man and dragged him away from the crowd. A belt of explosives wrapped around the man blew both men to shreds.
Members of Iraq's interim cabinet have touted Amir as a symbol of national pride. Newspapers have been filled with stories about him. A statue is being planned, and the elementary school that served as the polling station where he died may change its name to honor him.
Democracy sets in motion a series of events that allow people to take pride in themselves and responsibility for their actions. It transforms people from powerless, rage-filled potential terrorists to involved citizens who can and will build better futures for themselves. Amir knew this and gave his life to ensure it. The Iraqis recognize Amir's sacrifice to them and revile the terrorists who made it necessary.
And that is how the Middle East will be transformed, over the years, as the tyrannies fall and the democracies arise. People do not choose oppression when given a fair opportunity. People given fair opportunities to govern themselves do not strap on bomb belts and blow up civilians. Democracy transforms, and that is the long-term solution to terrorism.Sphere It View blog reactions
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I have written several times about my belief in the transformative power of democracy, and how giving a long-oppressed people the right to select their own leaders is the best defense against terrorism and the best offense against its origins. The Was... [Read More]
Tracked on February 8, 2005 8:31 PM
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