Lee P Butler

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4-18-2003

As one of the most memorable and historic moments in history unfolded before the eyes of the world, the prodigious words of President Ronald Reagan came to mind, "He counted on America to be passiveHe counted wrong!"

For most of us, our patriotism erupted with American pride as we watched the sights and listened to the sounds of the Iraqi people celebrating their first taste of freedom in decades. We cheered with them as they fought desperately with a sledge hammer to destroy the concrete hardened base protecting the metallic statue of Saddam that symbolically represented him and his despotic regime.

During the years of Saddams reign over Iraq, he and his henchmen; most of whom were members of his family, used varying abhorrent methods of torture, murder, and psychological abuse to maintain a deaths grip of control on his people. In the process, he was slowly draining the human spirit from the Iraqi people.

In one momentous event on the worlds stage all that changed. Life was again breathed into the lungs of the Iraqi people and they rejoiced in their newfound happiness as they stomped and burned Saddams visage everywhere and rode his decapitated, metallic head in the street.

Iraqi communities in the United States filled with people who had escaped Saddams regime or had been exiled, paraded and rallied in the streets, waving American and Iraqi flags and professing their gratitude for the liberation to the troops and President Bush. One man even announced that his name would forever be Bush from that day forward.

Then reality as reported by most of the main stream media came swooping in like the Grim Reapers sickle. Foreign news outlets cut away from the cheering crowds; a foreign reporter for NBC reported that the amassed crowd around the statue was really just a small minority of Iraqis; CNN talked to a protester who speculated that maybe the Iraqis liked freedom, but didnt like the troops; Katie Couric opined that she hoped Saddam had made it out of Iraq; and FOXnews coverage was attacked as being just too patriotic!

Jubilation turned into chaos and the media went on a feeding frenzy. Gone were the images of children carrying handmade American flags, Iraqis hugging and kissing soldiers and especially those who danced and thanked the President. Suddenly we were inundated with reports of looters ransacking offices, hospitals, and museums. Death was befalling the Iraqi citizens at the hands of coalition forces. There was little water and food, no electricity, no WMD, and no Saddam Hussein. But slowly things are nearing a level of normalcy and only the future knows what is yet to come on this roller coaster ride.

Amid the pages that constitute the chapters of this still developing saga, are the stories and pictures of a magnanimous event so overwhelming it has changed all of us in one way or another despite our differing ideologies and pre-war views. As time erodes the pages of this tome, the ink will remain unblemished and the thoughts those images and words should always invoke are of those men and women who gave their lives with honor and dignity to save the lives of a repressed people by giving them freedom.

Lee P. Butler


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