Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"The fate of our country and yours is tied."

So said Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister of Iraq, in a speech this morning before a joint session of Congress.

He made it clear that Iraq was transforming into a democracy thanks to the sacrifice of the United States and its coalition partners; that our troops should come home when the Iraqi forces were fully able to defend their country; and that it was critical to defeat the terrorists in Iraq or face the prospect of losing the larger War on Terror.

"The journey has been perilous, and the future is not guaranteed," he said. "Yet many around the world who underestimated the resolve of Iraq's people and were sure that we would never reach this stage. Few believed in us. But you, the American people, did, and we are grateful for this."

He added: "The fate of our country and yours is tied. Should democracy be allowed to fail in Iraq and terror permitted to triumph, then the war on terror will never be won elsewhere.

But the most critical part of his speech came near the end. I've highlighted the critical lines:
The greatest threat Iraq's people face is terror: terror inflicted by extremists who value no life and who depend on the fear their wanton murder and destruction creates.

They have poured acid into Iraq's dictatorial wounds and created many of their own. Iraq is free, and the terrorists cannot stand this. They hope to undermine our democratically elected government through the random killing of civilians. They want to destroy Iraq's future by assassinating our leading scientific, political and community leaders. Above all, they wish to spread fear.

Do not think that this is an Iraqi problem. This terrorist front is a threat to every free country in the world and their citizens. What is at stake is nothing less than our freedom and liberty. Confronting and dealing with this challenge is the responsibility of every liberal democracy that values its freedom. Iraq is the battle that will determine the war. If, in continued partnership, we have the strength of mind and commitment to defeat the terrorists and their ideology in Iraq, they will never be able to recover.
Did you catch that? Every democracy has the responsibility to join in the war on terror, and the front line of that war is Iraq.

Prior to the speech, I was listening to National Public Radio, which tried to paint al-Maliki as stuck in a vise created by the myriad political parties in Iraq, some of whom (maybe even most of whom) want the troops to leave now. But al-Maliki's speech made it clear that NPR's analysis was simply wrong -- al-Maliki and the Iraqi people appreciate our help, and need it to continue until the terrorists are defeated and the Iraqi army is able to defend the country.


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