Our View

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Resisting liberation

It's a strange predicament our soldiers face in Iraq. A handful of Iraqis, mainly members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, vow to continue the fight to liberate Iraq from the very Americans who are there to liberate THEM. Picture a wildlife ranger who frees a lion from the poacher's traps, only to have the lion attack him.

These Iraqis see the Americans as invaders and occupiers. They refuse to believe those soldiers just want to finish the job and come home, the same thing the American people want. All they would have to do is wait and see. But, blinded by their hatred, they only prolong the time Americans will remain in Iraq.

Those in the resistance imagine we actually want to colonize their country, when our sole interest is to end the reign of a notorious terror state that sponsored terrorism outside its borders and harbored terrorists within. That requires regime change. But it's not enough to remove the dictator; we must also establish a democratic government in which all people groups are fairly represented.

Liberals in this country sniff that we are arrogant to try to impose western-style democracy in an eastern nation instead of letting it choose its own government, as if there is any way other than a representative democracy for the people to choose their own government. The alternative would be a hundred gangs shooting at one another until only one, the most brutal, is left standing. That's hardly "choosing."

Most Americans, like most Iraqis, remain cautiously optimistic the operation will succeed in establishing an Iraq in which the people enjoy broad freedoms, notably freedom from the terror of tyranny. Despite the setbacks, the people of Iraq are already enjoying the highest standard of living in a generation. We are rebuilding the infrastructure faster than rebel Iraqis can destroy it. Health care and education are already being delivered at far above pre-war standards.

These are inconvenient facts for the resistance, just as they are for the most vociferous critics of our policy on this side of the Atlantic. Americans opposed to the war angrily protest when it is pointed out that they are in lock step with the Baathists who are busy firing grenade launchers at Red Cross helicopters.

Ironically, American critics of the operation -- clustered mainly in Hollywood and academia -- continue to condemn the war that ousted Saddam Hussein, when the alternative would be his continued reign of terror -- complete with rape rooms, human shredding machines and gassed villages. It is hard for people so enamored with their own importance to admit they are wrong. Here or there.

Liberals are insulted when their views are likened to the remaining vestiges of the terror state, even though their criticism is reflected perfectly in the Baathist resistance, whose soldiers hate everything American, including American liberals themselves whose shrill voices are in perfect harmony with theirs.

We can shoot the lion, but what can we do about the liberal?--DC