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July 1, 2004

Iraq is now a sovereign nation. The official transfer of power from the Coalition Provisional Authority to the new Iraqi interim government took place during the morning hours in Baghdad two days earlier than the reported transfer date with a well crafted strategic security maneuver.

Authority was conveyed to the Iraqis in a blue-bound letter that was handed to Chief Justice Midhat al-Mahmoudi by Paul Bremer, who said before the exchange, "I will leave Iraq confident in the future, confident that the Iraqi government is ready now to meet the challenges that lie before it." He then left Iraq shortly after the emotional event.

Independence has finally come to the people of Iraq. As the news spread throughout their country, Iraqis took to the streets and cheered, yet the news reports only focused on the Arab world as they watched with 'wary eyes', 'fretted' about Iraqs ability to 'cool tempers' throughout the region and gave 'tepid congratulations'.

We rejoice about this, naturally, said French President Jacques Chirac. "The return of Iraqs sovereignty is in our eyes a necessary conditionfor the re-establishment of peace, democracy and development in that country." Maybe Mr. Chirac should lay off the wine for a while, because you cant re-establish something that didnt previously exist!

But then you dont have to look to foreign nations to get back-handed suggestions about our imperialistic American occupational transference that in their minds is little more than ceremonial.

Just as President Bush was solidifying support from NATO at the summit in Istanbul, Senator John Kerry said it was, "critical that the president get real support - not resolutions, not words, but real support of sufficient personnel, troops and money - to assist in the training of security forces in order to be able to guarantee a rapid, real transition." It may seem to many that Senator Kerry is simply experiencing jet lag from his campaign excursions, but the truth is in his words.

Many from the left in this country won't accept a real transition until our troops are removed from Iraq, even though history shows us that America still has troops in Germany after all these years. This same group of people cried like baying sheep that President GHW Bush pull our troops out of the region and let the U.N. handle Iraq through resolutions after Saddams militia was removed from Kuwait during the Gulf War.

Then while President Bush was running for re-election, the wolves who had donned sheeps clothing bared their fangs and attacked him for not finishing the job in Iraq! That ultimately led Iraqis to be wary of future American intervention and though history does at times have a way of repeating itself, there is a cowboy in the White House this time who is herding sheep with a vision that has seen prosperity and freedom in Iraq and he intends to finish the job.

That far-sightedness is what led our forefathers to the first and second Continental Congresses in Philadelphia in 1774 and 1776. At the second meeting the delegates knew that the people of the 13 colonies had grown weary of Englands taxation without representation, so the committee headed by Thomas Jefferson drafted a formal declaration.

On July 4, 1776 a nine vote in favor of the document ratified what we now know as our Declaration of Independence from Englands rule. It was an act that emancipated the colonists and gave them their first taste of sovereignty.

One passage from that document exemplifies what democracy for a free society truly means: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

The distribution of the Declaration throughout the colonies emboldened the Americans, but it also brought with it an understanding- they would have to fight for that freedom by defeating King George III's militia. Eventually, the will of the people prevailed and America celebrates its birth every July 4th.

And so it is in Iraq.

A small country that has finally found sovereignty with the help of America and a declaration of independence that says their peoples freedom is justified, yet follows a logical line of progression that they will have to work for their complete emancipation. Ultimate sovereignty will only exist once the insurgents have been defeated.

But just as happened in America in 1776, the expectation of freedom can simply start with the passage of a document.

At the end of the NATO summit it was announced that 16 of its members; excluding France and Germany (big surprise), will send troops into Iraq at the behest of Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi as they understand the need for a line of progression towards democracy in the Middle East.

A note given to President Bush during the NATO summit from Condolezza Rice read: Mr. President, Iraq is sovereign. Letter was passed from Bremer at 10:26 AM Iraq time- Condi and the president wrote on the note in response, Let freedom reign!

While we celebrate our independence in America, many countries will celebrate with us as the shot heard round the world echoes its cry to let freedom reign, even in Iraq.

Lee P Butler

 

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