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
Appeared in March
Many have worried that as military action in Iraq becomes more and more inevitable, that our troops will find themselves mired in another quagmire similar to what happened in Vietnam. Despite that alarmist view about the American troops and what they may encounter in the Iraqi desert, it is our national leaders who have gotten caught in a quagmire of political posturing on a global scale as a result of the ineffectiveness of the UN Security Council.
Why did some in the administration feel we needed the support of the UN? There are several reasons for this which range from using the diplomatic bravado of UN resolutions to cull allies, to ending the malicious labeling of the President by the Left in America as being a cowboy. The reality of the situation is that we really dont need the UN, especially when it comes to matters of national security or our war on terror.
Before some of you start the Iraq hasnt done anything to us or Iraq isnt a threat to our national security mantras, answer this question. Was former president Clinton concerned about national security, in the same manner as it weighs on the heart of President Bush, when he unilaterally sent our troops into Kosovo or Bosnia? Did those countries do something to us of which Im not aware?
Trying to separate the war on terror and our national security in a post 9-11 America would do little more than ask to be attacked again which is exactly what happened during the Nineties after the World Trade Center was attacked the first time and little was done about it or the attacks on our US Embassies or the USS Cole. All perpetrated by the same group, headed by the same figure who was offered to president Clinton by the Sudanese, but he turned them down instead.
Attorney General Ashcroft said that aiding and abetting or harboring a terrorist without turning them in to the authorities also makes those people terrorists, thereby making them a part of the war on terror. When Saddam Hussein allowed a top member of al quaeda to receive medical treatment in Iraq and then let him go, he instantly put himself in the spotlight of Americas war on terror. That is all the link thats needed to connect Iraq with al quaeda.
Yet some still feel we have not set enough of a precedent for the removal of Saddam and the subsequent liberation of the Iraqi people. They feel we will lose global stature if every member of the UN doesnt stand with us when the decision is made to start military action. These people never consider if that was true, wed already have lost stature in the global community when we unilaterally attacked Iraq in 1998 with a bombing raid ordered by president Clinton without notice to or support from the UN!
Hans Blix, France, Jimmy Carter and the Hollywood Left postulate that containment is the best policy for the Iraqi situation. Thats exactly why President Bush doesnt need to listen to these people. North Korea is viewed as being the greatest threat to the planet now that they have nuclear weapons. Even more horrific than the reality that, with the help of Jimmy Carter, we gave them the money, plans, and materials to become nuclear capable is the fact that they did so under the watchful eyes of inspectors using the misguided ruse of containment!
The same people who endlessly expropriate billions of our tax dollars to countries who hate America, waste billions on corporate welfare, and failing socialist programs admonish the Bush administration over the cost of a war with Iraq. Does anybody really believe we can put a price tag on freedom, after everything weve been through?
Lee P. Butler
Tom Daschle speciously lamented that President Bush's attempt at solving the Iraqi situation diplomatically was a "failure" and "saddened" him. The hypocrisy in the Senator's statement became apparent when it was reported that years earlier he had supported an attack on Iraq without any attempt at diplomacy. The fact is there have been very few times in world history where diplomacy has ever freed a suppressed people from a despotic, dictatorial regime.
Both the President and UK Prime Minster Tony Blair fully understand the undeniable reality of this situation: disarmament could not have taken place without a regime change in Iraq. Military action was an eventual inevitability as long as Saddam was intent on using diplomatic manipulation to maintain his control of the Iraqi people and the fear of terrorism in the region and abroad.
Because of their unwillingness to allow another year to pass where thousands of Iraqi children would die of starvation or another family would be senselessly tortured and slaughtered, President Bush and Tony Blair have been attacked by people from their own countries hiding behind the guise of their "freedom of speech". Their consequential attitudes' showing no concern for the Iraqis lack of freedom.
It was this mentality that prompted photographer and potential human shield for Saddam, Daniel Pepper, to admit that he was, "less interested in standing up for Iraqis' rights than protesting against the US and UK governments". But he, along with Reverend Kenneth Johnson; another human shield, had major changes of heart after spending time in Baghdad.
Rev. Johnson reported that Iraqis told him on camera that, "they would commit suicide if American bombing didn't start. They were willing to see their homes demolished to gain their freedom from Saddam's bloody tyranny". Mr. Pepper wrote in The Daily Telegraph of London of a taxi driver who confessed that Iraqis' understood "the American's don't want to bomb civilians. They want to bomb government and Saddam's palaces. We want America to bomb Saddam".
Is this the 'fictitiousness' the incredulous Mr. Moore was alluding to when he was spouting his diatribe at the Oscars? Listening to many of these people one would believe that the tyrannical dictator who needs to be bombed lives in the White House instead of Baghdad. Maybe they should stop their monotonous bombast of the President for just a moment and listen to what some of those from Iraq have to say.
Reporter James Meek wrote in The Guardian that after US Marines took the town of Safwan in Iraq, an Iraqi man cried on the shoulder of the Egyptian translator, "You just arrived," he said. "Youre late. What took you so long? God help you become victorious. I want to say hello to Bush, to shake his hand. We came out of the grave."
Many of the Bush haters have started the ponderous rant of how the world was behind us after the tragedy of 911 and now they arent because of this military action. These people are wrong. The world wasnt behind us, they felt sorry for us. Feelings of sorrow and sympathy wont end terrorism, just as the Iraqi people, the majority of Americans, and President Bush understand: taking action is the only way to defeat terror.
Lee P. Butler
Appeared in February
Something unique and wonderful has taken place in the Middle East lately, yet I've found no stories in the media about it, which leaves me to wonder if it has even been noticed. Where are the incessant terrorist attacks that were peppering the region practically everyday?
I'm not saying that all incidents of terror have ceased to occur, just that most of them seem to have stopped. Recently there was one that involved the attempted homicide bombing of an Israeli bus using an explosive laden donkey. Which brought the ire of PETA down on them because of the destruction of an animal. The Middle Eastern terrorist groups don't stand a chance against our own terrorist organizations!
Many in the anti-Bush crowd claim that our presence in the region alone has not only caused terrorist attacks to happen but will generate even more in the future, especially if we topple Hussein's dictatorial regime. Yet just the opposite seems to be happening. Does anyone honestly believe that the presence of UN inspectors in Iraq has provided the blanket necessary to quell the violence so suddenly?
It's a safe bet to figure that the presence of American and British troops in the region along with the support of almost forty other nations has been the effective tool in easing the activities of terrorist groups. They know they run the risk of exposing themselves in the process of committing their crimes if they maintained their constant assaults.
This alone is enough to give credence for the necessity to end the dictatorship in Iraq. Stabilization of the region is paramount to the security of our allied nations who've had to live with the daily threat of attack and enduring the assaults that have led to the destruction of families who wanted little more than to enjoy the freedom we take for granted everyday. Of course with the new terror alerts and the incident on 9-11, we all should have a better understanding of what they have to live through.
The reality is that the world's largest current terrorist threat is being generated in the Middle East and was allowed to build its stronghold on the region during the Nineties when the UN was playing patty cake with Saddam through useless resolutions and sanctions that only hurt the Iraqi people. Saddam proved to the world when he invaded Kuwait and had to be forced out, that force is the only thing he understands. Enforcement of the cease-fire treaty was left in our hands at the end of the Gulf War and at some point a show of force was going to have to be used if for no other reason than to protect our allies from invasion by Hussein.
That show of force has already slowed terrorist activity in the region and could be argued has lead to Palestinian leader and suspected terrorist Yasser Arafat to announce his appointment of a new leader which had been demanded by the US and European Union. It's hoped that his choice will be someone who is reform-minded and would ease the hostilities there which would be another sign of stabilization generated by American foreign policy.
Those who rail against war seem to care very little for peace in the Middle East among those countries neighboring Iraq, many of which we consider allies and live in fear every day. They may want peace, they just don't want America; especially not President Bush, being the one to bring about the stabilization that has already began to create peace and will eventually lead to the abolishment of terrorism everywhere!
Lee P. Butler