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Tuesday, April 16, 2024
The Eagle

Social justice for Iraqis

Column: On the right

I was walking by Kay Spiritual Center the other day, and saw the "No War in Iraq" poster outside the rear window. It was a remnant from Chaplain Joe Eldridge's politically charged protest of the war with his Community Action and Social Justice organization last fall. But now the war is over, and the progress our troops have made over the past six months is truly unprecedented. In fact, social justice is gradually being achieved in Iraq, an important reminder to those self-described humanitarians who opposed the war in Iraq on moral grounds.

For those not paying attention, here's a recap. Virtually all Iraqi hospitals and universities have reopened. Power generation has now exceeded the pre-war level under Saddam Hussein. Four hundred courts are now operating - all of them independently. Doctors are paid eight times more than under Saddam; teachers receive 26 times their former salary. Twelve thousand tons of drugs have been distributed, and 22 million children have received life-saving vaccines. All of these developments should be front-page news in our papers. This is truly exceptional news in a country that suffered so much under Saddam. But instead the newspapers report on the occasional guerilla attacks and ignore the enormous accomplishments our troops have made in such a short span of time.

Those critics who insist on calling our mission in Iraq a failure and demand our acquiescence to the United Nations are truly misguided. Granted, Saddam loyalists and Al Qaeda fanatics have attacked our troops, and any casualties suffered are too many. However, the casualties are relatively low and while attacks persist, they have decreased with the progression of time. Still, no matter how successful our troops are in rebuilding Iraq, the naysayers will continue to complain. Within a week of fighting the war, these critics deemed our mission a quagmire - without realizing that wars are not won overnight. One month later, our troops declared victory in one of the quickest and least destructive wars fought in history. Now as the rebuilding process begins, some expect Iraq to immediately become a utopian paradise while ignoring the inevitably slow progress that occurs during nation-building.

Rebuilding an entire country's infrastructure - especially one that was ruled under the iron fist of a tyrant - is no simple task. After the end of World War Two, it took over a year to restore the German economy and prevent massive starvation. The United Nations has found it difficult and time-consuming to rebuild war-torn Bosnia and Kosovo. In 1995, United Nations "peacekeepers" watched helplessly as over 7,000 Bosnian Muslims were massacred in the town of Srebrenica. While the United Nations has brought the war-torn province some stability, the economy and other state structures have not yet emerged. But in Iraq, a diverse governing council has been formed, brand-new textbooks have been delivered to the 1,500 schools now operating, and fresh Iraqi dinar notes have just been released. And it only has been six months since Saddam's statue fell, marking the end of his regime.

The Democrats have become the party of the United Nations, of surrendering American national security and national sovereignty to international organizations. During the war, many prominent Democrats were willing to allow France's Security Council veto to alter our national security policy. Now, some prominent party members are suggesting we turn over our troops' major accomplishments to the authority of the United Nations. At the recent debate, many Democrats - with the notable exception of Joe Lieberman - try to backtrack from their votes to authorize the use of force in Iraq. They seem to be wishing Iraq back into the dark days of Saddam. These Democrats want to go back to a time when a maniacal ruler had the ability to manufacture chemical weapons, threaten his neighbors and torture his citizens. The Democratic Party once advocated a humanitarian foreign policy; now it is a mere shadow of itself.

In fact, the Democratic Party more closely resembles their 1864 version - the party of withdraw and retreat. As the Union struggled at times to defeat the Confederacy, many peacenik Democrats demanded President Lincoln end the war immediately. The Democratic platform declared Lincoln's war a failure, and called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Such a surrender would have maintained the institution of slavery and been a disaster for the nation. In 1864, the Democrats nominated a general - General George McClellan - in order to bolster its national security bona fides. However as the 1864 election approached, Union troops scored impressive military victories and the party's criticism rung hollow.

The 2004 election may bear some striking similarities to the campaign 140 years prior. General Wesley Clark - this year's McClellan - recently entered the Democratic field, announcing his after-the-fact opposition to the war in Iraq, and relentlessly criticizing the rebuilding process. Democrats are seeking political capital with every setback in Iraq, and neglecting the big picture of progress.

But as the guerilla attacks subside, the work that our armed services are doing will become readily apparent. Military divisions are rebuilding and renovating schools. Hospitals are treating patients. Iraqis are policing their own neighborhoods. Goods are flowing in, and Iraqis are paid much better than they once were. And, most importantly, Iraqis live without the fear of torture.

To me, that's social justice at its finest.


Section 202 host Gabrielle and friends go over some sports that aren’t in the sports media spotlight often, and review some sports based on their difficulty to play. 



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