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Let freedom reign
By Brad Jewitt
"Let Freedom Reign."
President George W. Bush wrote these words on a letter sent to him by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice. He and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were attending a meeting with NATO leaders when they received the news: Iraq was now in the hands of new leadership.
On June 28, 2004, the Coalition Provisional Authority transferred power to a sovereign Iraqi government, two days before the announced deadline. The interim government is now in charge. But this remarkable achievement in U.S. foreign policy was virtually ignored by some Democrats and criticized by others.
For example, Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL) said, "I wish this was a true handover of power. But without Iraqi control of the military, without control of their oil resources, I see this as nothing more than a political sham." Besides the usual negative criticism, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry didn't have much to say about the handover.
Remarkable. Saddam Hussein -- a man who tortured, raped, and murdered thousands of his own citizens and others -- was overthrown, arrested, and detained. His ties to al-Qaida made him a danger to the world. Yet, Democrats can find nothing positive to say about his capture and Iraq's newfound freedom.
For the most part, the media are intent on highlighting our setbacks in Iraq. Abu Ghraib. Fallujah. Insurgent uprisings. To hear Democrats and the media elite tell it, you would think our efforts in Iraq and the war on terror as a whole have been unqualified disasters.
But here's what else has been happening in Iraq while narrow-minded naysayers apparently refuse to gaze beyond their own blinders:
What do Iraqis themselves think of the handover? Half believe Iraq is headed in the right direction and 73 per cent believe the handover will improve the current situation. Of course, there are many obstacles to peace and security in the region. Violence is a daily occurrence, and our troops will remain in Iraq to secure and stabilize the new government. In the words of President Bush, "The Iraqi people have their country back. We have kept our word."
And we will continue to keep it.
It is ironic that Iraq, once oppressed under a cruel dictatorship, celebrated its independence a week before we celebrated our own this year. On Independence Day, President Bush said, "We still believe, on America's 228th birthday, that freedom has the power to change the world."
But freedom is not free. God bless America for its willingness to remain true to its founding vision -- and to sacrifice for the liberty of strangers, who will continue to thrive long after our detractors become a sad footnote in history.
Brad Jewitt is the Republican nominee for U.S. Congress in Maryland's Fifth Congressional District. He is a 15-year Marine who was activated in support of both Operation Desert Storm/Shield and Operation Enduring Freedom. Visit his website at www.jewitt2004.com.
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