MH60S

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Note to Iraqi People: Freedom's Reward

Today I was driving almost all day. During the morning I listened to the local National Public Radio station. One of the show was "The Connection" with Dick Gordon as the host. Because I was in and out of my car, I didn't catch the whole show and only heard fragments of an interview with Tyler Hicks, a New York Times photographer who has both been embedded with the US forces and also spent time with the "insurgents" (although he had a habit of referring to them as "the Iraqis"). You can listen to the show here.

Toward the end of the show, as I recall it, Mr. Hicks was talking about how the Iraqis would like to see the US troops leave Iraq - sort of like guests that have overstayed their welcome. Then, he said something to the effect that some Iraqis kind of miss the old days under Saddam. "A lot of people would take Saddam Hussein back now.." Mr. Hicks hastened to add that the people he was talking to didn't mean the mean, nasty Saddam who killed "hundreds of thousands" but rather the "clean city" Saddam who had in place so much law enforcement that there was "little crime" in Bahgdad and one could walk the street in safety.

Seems like we've been down this path before. Mussolini made the trains run on time. Hitler brought order out of the chaos of the Weimar republic (a chaos that he helped seed). Caesar, Napoleon...

Dictators are the easy answer to troubled times because they will make all the decisions and then enforce them. Not much work on the part of the citizen is required, however, the cost is very high. The price is total submission. A wrong word, a wrong glance, the wrong family member, the wrong this or that and you end up in a pit somewhere.

Freedom has a high price, too. But for those willing to help pay the price, the rewards include those that the Americans remember from World War II: Freedom from Fear, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion and Freedom from Want.

When your towns and cities are under attack by forces who want to reimpose a dictatorship, freedom from fear seems like an illusion. But if you surrender now, and take the easy path, fear will always be with you. Fight the "insurgents" and you will have paid the price that freedom demands.

And you will never live in fear again.

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