Let's Put Saddam Back in Power
It is no secret that anti-American spirit is strong in France these days. In a recent poll, President Bush received only a 5 percent positive approval rating in a populace that is 20 percent Muslim and growing.
One Parisian, journalist Sidney Belishi, and a foreign legionnaire officer (desiring anonymity) agree on a singular approach to this growing phenomenon.
They suggest to their French friends: “Well, since Saddam is alive and well, and you believe strongly the taking of Iraq was wrong, let’s go to United Nations with the proposition of placing Saddam, his money, and his staff back in power.
So far, they have received no takers. The silent response seems to speak volumes on a realistic evaluation of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Prior to my three trips to OIF as a journalist, I often pondered if we indeed had a valid rationale for the taking of Iraq. That however is history. Just like the 1400-year history of battles between the Islamic powers using force to sell their theocracy to western civilizations.
Now the French -- with the generous assistance of most of the western media -- are aiding the Muslim cause by using often exaggerated and sensationalized stories to turn public opinion against the coalition forces. A media that ignores the scores of steady improvements in Iraq undermines these same forces, which have not lost a single battle.
Ignored is the fact that out of 18 provinces only three are in revolt and with only a fraction of the populous participating. We need to rapidly attack and secure the enemy’s sanctuaries. Imagine if in past conflicts concern for media coverage forced our politicians to protect the enemy strong points.
Ignored is the fact that in the midst of daily attacks, the coalition forces have risked their lives in rebuilding schools, hospitals, banks, and courts. They have engineered telephones, electricity, and televisions to be operational. They are ahead of the rebuilding schedule of Europe post WWII.
Ignored, and even more noteworthy, is the fact that children no longer are imprisoned for the political beliefs of their parents; religious freedom is possible; and rape is no longer a way of life.
Where is that news?
Our military is doing an incredible job. Yet their main challenge seems to be getting the honest and complete news out to the public. This is often more frustrating for our forces than being away from home. Our military is saddled with a one-sided media, which will not allow the truth to stand between them and the story they seek.
Colonel Yff recently stated, “The press are denying Americans the full story; it is a slap in the face to the US military and their incredible accomplishments.”
Regardless of the rationale that started this war, the removal of Saddam’s dastardly regime and freedom for an Arab country is in itself a noble endeavor. After 1400 years, perhaps it is time to draw a line in the sand. This war is not exclusive to Iraq; it is on a global canvas. We have chosen to take our fight to Iraq and Afghanistan. Scores of terrorists are streaming over the borders financed by neighboring countries that are in fear of a free and open society becoming an enviable model for all of Islam.
What is transpiring is not new. Since the beginning of the Islamic religion, their need to subjugate other peoples is legendary. From the Battle of Poitiers /Tours in 732 ad when it took a major Christian military effort to stop the spread of Islam into Spain and France, some of the wars between Christians and Moslems have lasted over a hundred years. Today, we have sophisticated war machines that make modern war more expeditious, but still deadly. And today, the radical Islamic missionaries have replaced the sword with an AK 47, not a prayer book.
The people of these non-industrialized countries are jealous of the wealth, luxuries and freedoms of the west. This animosity was vividly portrayed by the September 11 attack in New York City. This new level of attack threatens every citizen in the west. More people died on 911 than any other attack in U. S. history, including Pearl Harbor. These radicals believe -- and perhaps with some justification -- that our lifestyle and entertainment choices are greedy and vulgar, indicative of a morally depraved society -- albeit one of the negative costs of a “free” society. The West feels that our vulgarities pale by comparison to the inhumane acts committed by the Islamic radicals.
Joe Palmer, historian, declares this to be “The Clash of Civilizations.” Interestingly, has there ever been a case where two democratic countries declared war upon each other?
The West is dramatically different. We separate religion from government and offer freedom and capitalism to our citizens. This is unacceptable to the Moslems. They will fight viciously to spread their culture. In the name of religion, they have undertaken inhumane acts. Persecution is not an acceptable way of life in the West.
While traveling in Iraq, General McAbee stated, “It is better to have the fight over here, than in New York City.” Three anniversaries have transpired since "911" with no additional hits on target rich North America. Why? Obviously, we have the terrorists on the run!
The bottom line is, regardless of what preordained this war; the people of Iraq as well as their western neighbors should have a right to a free and open society.
Marine Lt. Colonel Tim Maxwell writes from Iraq:
“It is a real shame; the public has a right to know everything that is going on, both good and bad. But all they hear about is the bad. For example, did you hear about the 12 schools that we have remodeled and our plans to have a grand opening ceremony? We plan to hand out class photos -- probably the first time these mothers will have ever seen a picture of their kids!"
The Colonel added, “Blood Sells!”
The Iraqi people are, for the most part, very polite and friendly. They are at risk of persecution or death every time they talk to coalition forces. We need to earn their trust. They have to believe we are not going home until the job is accomplished. They live in fear of a few who murder without conscience to feed the western media. Our military worries that we do not have the patience or the resolve to stick it out.
Marine Lt. Colonel Maxwell * makes the point:
“If Americans were given the whole story, I believe they would stay the course. We have no choice but to stay. If we leave, things will look OK at first, but the simple fact is that they will use this place to re-organize and re-fit to attack us at home.”
Television and newspapers with their own agendas can do more harm than any enemy force. They can snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by unbalanced reporting. The press can turn public opinion and our political leaders against our own armed forces. When was the last time you read about the enemies’ atrocities, cruelties, and genocide? These extremists will only win vis-à-vis the western press what they will never win from coalition forces upon the battlefield. Iraq used to be the fairest place in all of Arabia; perhaps after this struggle it will return to the Babylon and Garden of Eden it once was.
Patrick Henry said, “The Tree of Liberty in order to stay alive must be fed with the blood of tyrants and heroes,” echoing the sentiments of Plato, ‘There is no peace, we are always at war’.”
Within days of writing this story Marine Lt. Colonel Tim Maxwell was wounded by mortar fire near Baghdad. Tim is now in Landstuhl Military hospital Germany.
Note: There is a Web site which chronicles the impressive capital improvements in Iraq. An impressive schedule, which is far ahead of WWII’s restorations of Japan and Germany. http://www.usaid.gov/iraq/
P. T. Brent is a Hawaii business man and former U.S. Marine infantry veteran. He has been embedded with the Marines in Iraq and other conflict areas for the past 60 days.