Defending the virtues of liberty, free markets, and civilization... plus some commentary on the passing scene.
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Liberal Media/Iraqi Reactions to Sovereignty
They'll spin it as phony and meaningless they'll say "but we still have troops there" (yes and we still have them in Germany too, 60 years later, by itself that means nothing) but the turn over of sovereignty is a necessary step towards democracy. The left shudders at the thought of someone like Bush putting Iraq on the path of democratization. It is a sad commentary that they would prefer Iraq as a quagmire as long as it hurts Bush's re-election chances. But, don't take my word for it, read it from the 'progressives' themselves, as Toby Harnden recounts a conversation with a prominenet American journalist:
She had been disturbed by my argument that Iraqis were better off than they had been under Saddam and I was now - there was no choice about this - going to have to justify my bizarre and dangerous views. I'll spare you most of the details because you know the script - no WMD, no 'imminent threat' (though the point was to deal with Saddam before such a threat could emerge), a diversion from the hunt for bin Laden, enraging the Arab world. Etcetera.
And then (via InstaPundit) there is this:
But then she came to the point. Not only had she 'known' the Iraq war would fail but she considered it essential that it did so because this would ensure that the 'evil' George W. Bush would no longer be running her country. Her editors back on the East Coast were giggling, she said, over what a disaster Iraq had turned out to be. 'Lots of us talk about how awful it would be if this worked out.' Startled by her candour, I asked whether thousands more dead Iraqis would be a good thing.
She nodded and mumbled something about Bush needing to go. By this logic, I ventured, another September 11 on, say, September 11 would be perfect for pushing up John Kerry's poll numbers. 'Well, that's different - that would be Americans,' she said, haltingly. 'I guess I'm a bit of an isolationist.' That's one way of putting it.
A dogged campaigner against the blighted war in Iraq, I am now wrestling with the demons of callous triumphalism. The anti-war protestors have been proved horribly right. The allies who marched with the US into this ugly adventure should feel mortified. It is a fearful and turbulent country the new Western Imperialists hand over to the Iraqis. The past months have been challenging for us in the anti-war camp. I am ashamed to admit that there have been times when I wanted more chaos, more shocks, more disorder to teach our side a lesson. On Monday I found myself again hoping that this handover proves a failure because it has been orchestrated by the Americans. The decent people of Iraq need optimism now, not my distasteful ill-wishes for the only hope they have for a future. Moral compasses for sale anyone? At least this one is doing some soul searching. But fuck them. Let the Iraqi's celebrate another step towards democracy. A round-up of Iraqi blog reactions can be found at Winds of Change and Michele Catalano has a nice one too.
Check them out, and here is my favorite, you won't see this in the Chicago Tribune, New York Times or any of the major papers, but here is Ali on the handover of sovereignty:
Some of us were celebrating regaining sovereignty, some were celebrating the end of occupation, others were happy because they think the new government will bring safety and order. I was celebrating a new and a great step towards democracy, but we were all joined by true hope for a better future and by the love we have for Iraq.
After wards we sat for a while discussing different matters. The hall was busy and everyone was chatting and laughing loud. They had Al-Jazeera on (something I never managed to convince them to stop doing). Then suddenly Mr. Bremer appeared on TV reading his last speech before he left Iraq. I approached the TV to listen carefully to the speech, as I expected it to be difficult in the midst of all that noise. To my surprise everyone stopped what they were doing and started watching as attentively as I was.
The speech was impressive and you could hear the sound of a needle if one had dropped it at that time. The most sensational moment was the end of the speech when Mr. Bremer used a famous Arab emotional poem. The poem was for a famous Arab poet who said it while leaving Baghdad. Al-Jazeera had put an interpreter who tried to translate even the Arabic poem which Mr. Bremer was telling in a fair Arabic! "Let this damned interpreter shut up. We want to hear what the man is saying" One of my colloquies shouted. The scene was very touching that the guy sitting next to me (who used to sympathize with Muqtada) said "He's going to make me cry!"
Then he finished his speech by saying in Arabic, "A'ash Al-Iraq, A'ash Al-Iraq, A'ash Al-Iraq!" (Long live Iraq, Long live Iraq, long live Iraq).
I was deeply moved by this great manÂs words but I couldn't prevent myself from watching the effect of his words on my friends who some of them were anti-Americans and some were skeptic, although some of them have always shared my optimism. I found that they were touched even more deeply than I was. I turned to one friend who was a committed SheÂat and who distrusted America all the way. He looked as if he was bewitched, and I asked him, "So, what do you think of this man? Do you still consider him an invader?" My friend smiled, still touched and said, "Absolutely not! He brought tears to my eyes. God bless him."
Another friend approached me. This one was not religious but he was one of the conspiracy theory believers. He put his hands on my shoulders and said smiling, "I must admit that I'm beginning to believe in what you've been telling us for months and I'm beginning to have faith in America. I never thought that they will hand us sovereignty in time. These people have shown that they keep their promises."
Tim Blair, a prominent Australian journalist and blogger, has turned his column over to the brothers at Iraq the Model for the week. Here's the first one.
As Jeff Jarvis observes
And big-time American journos should be ashamed of themselves they didn't think of this first. It has been there, on the web, right under their noses, all along. Amen.