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July 25, 2005
'Army People Are Respected'

The London Telegraph published a fascinating look at the Iraqis who defy the suicide bombers to serve their nascent democratic republic in the security services. Despite the targeting of recruiting offices, Iraqis still have enlisted in droves to oppose the Islamofascist lunatics that threaten to start a civil war:

The young men and handful of women in the queues say they are as keen for the private's salary of $400 a month as they are to serve their country to rid it off insurgents.

There are others who have had friends and relatives among the estimated 25,000 civilians killed over the past two years. Some also believe that the only way to get an American withdrawal from Iraq is to build a secure and substantial security force.

But all have an air of defiance, and in some of the fresh recruits there is a hint of gratitude for just making it through the queue at the murderous south gate, on Zawraa Road.

Ali Hamza, a 21-year-old who had always wanted to join the army, said: "It might be chaotic but I'm not afraid because I am willing to join the army and that has many dangers anyway.

"Also, in the new army people are respected."

Just coming to sign up requires a gut-check. Terrorists have targeted the queues for enlistment into the new security forces for months now, attempting to discourage new recruits from bolstering the newly elected representative government. Undoubtedly this has had an effect on recruitment, but perhaps not what Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had in mind. Watching friends and family get blown up by bloodthirsty lunatics has given new incentive to these Iraqis to seize control of the streets back from the terrorists, and the most effective way to do that is to join the government forces.

Some recruits come for the money, some come for an end to American occupation, and some come for a chance to redeem the deaths of loved ones. All, however, understand that Iraq must eventually defend itself against criminals, usurpers, and bombthrowers. Iraq has come to the realization that America cannot solve that problem by itself, nor should it. For their own sake and for their future self-respect and self-assurance, that job belongs to the Iraqis.

The Iraqis watched us depose the hated Saddam regime without assistance from the natives, but now they want to demonstrate their ability to keep their freedom on their own once they have gotten back on their feet. All we need to do is to provide the assistance necessary to allow them the chance to rebuild.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at July 25, 2005 12:00 PM

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