Iraq is an emerging democracy. Just as recently as one year ago we could not make that statement, but today it is a fact.
It is hard to imagine the changes that have taken place in the world throughout my lifetime. There was a period not that long ago when Communism was on the march and Democracy was stagnant. Today, Communism is a footnote in history and Democracy is emerging around the world.
During a recent trip to the small country of Moldova, where I helped train political parties to compete in a democratic form of government, I was reminded of this phenomenal change in the world. Moldova was part of the Soviet Union and has been conquered and ruled by other nations for decades. Now Moldova is a functioning democracy with eight political parties fighting for the right to govern.
While there, I met a young man working to promote democracy under a program sponsored by the State Department AID program. He has spent four years in Moldova, but announced while I was there that he was leaving to work in Iraq. Frankly, I was amazed and questioned him about his decision and his safety. He asked me if I was fully aware of developments in Iraq and called it the front line in the fight to bring democracy to new areas. He informed me that Eastern Europe was the frontier when he went to Moldova, but today it was Iraq and the Middle East.
Has al-Qaida been defeated in Iraq permitting the country a chance to become a democracy? Contrary to media reporting in the US, the answer is yes.
London’s Sunday Times called the defeat of al-Qaida “the culmination of one of the most spectacular victories of the war on terrorism.” Investor’s Business Daily editorialized, “A terrorist force that once numbered more than 12,000, with strongholds in the west and central regions of Iraq, has in two years been reduced to a mere 1,200 fighters, backed against the wall in the northern city of Mosul. The destruction of al-Qaida in Iraq is one of the most unlikely and unforeseen events in the long history of American warfare.”
Investor’s Business Daily went on to say that we can thank President George Bush’s surge strategy for this amazing development. It was President Bush who envisioned a democratic government in the heart of the Mideast. And it was President Bush who bucked both Democratic and Republican leaders in Washington by implementing his surge strategy instead of withdrawing in defeat.
President Obama came to North Carolina to announce his timetable for withdrawal without a word mentioned of the Bush strategy. The Raleigh News and Observer stated, “The Iraq War has been long and divisive, and was mishandled from the start by the Bush administration, which entered into it precipitously. President Obama has exhibited statesmanship in standing by his promise to end the war…”
Yes, President Obama will claim he ended the war successfully and the media will agree. It will take history to write the real story that was brought home to me by the young man in Moldova who is going to help an emerging democracy in Iraq – a decision he was confident to make even before Barack Obama became President. Investor’s Business Daily asked, “What would happen if the US won a war but the media didn’t tell the American public?”
Jack Hawke is a Civitas senior fellow recently returned from Moldova