Iraq is a quagmire, Kosovo is messy?
Sorry one and all for that brief unannounced absence, last minute travel is occasionally part of the gig. Here are a few things that I did not have a chance to post on:
First, I am very disheartened to write about the apparent demise of New Sisyphus
. It appears that the evil insurgents of the internet, spammers, have rendered his site inoperable. I say "apparent demise" because a few tech options have been offered to him, and he is of course always welcome to post with us. Let's hope this works out for the best, I'd hate to see him go.
The "Paper of Record", late last week, ran an editorial entitled "Kosovo, Still Messy After All These Years
" lamenting the failure of the U.N. efforts there to produce a lasting peace with real results. What I love about this piece is that when the U.N. is involved and six years have passed and there is nothing to show for it the results are "messy." When George Bush frees Iraq, successful elections are held and a constitution is overwhelmingly approved (and underwhelmigly reported) in a fraction of that time, the result is a "quagmire." Just for giggles I searched for "quagmire+Iraq" on the times web site and got 271 hits. "Kosovo+quagmire" returned 42 hits, at least seven of which also contained the word Iraq. I stopped counting after that. Why beat a dead horse? It's not all bad news from that region, though- in Macedonia's Journey
Vlado Buckovski, prime minister of that country, one finds words that are few and far apart these days:While Macedonians deserve the credit for the difficult reforms we have undertaken, we would not have come so far or so fast were it not for the support of the United States. In our part of Europe, we know first hand the value of American leadership and the necessity of backing diplomacy with military power. We appreciate American support for our process of reconciliation and reform.
The Prime Minister also says:We are proud to stand side by side with America and its coalition partners in Iraq and with NATO in Afghanistan as part of our commitment to face the new threats of the 21st century with our allies.
To which I say: we are proud to have you stand beside us, sir. May your country and it's brave people continue to prosper.
Speaking of good news, National Review Online opens the month with Progress Reports: Balancing some of the Iraq-news scales.
One rarely hears any good news from Iraq, such is the MSM fetish with all things negative. I had access to the Armed Forces Network
, the military satellite TV system. This group of channels has no paid advertising, and features many "soldiers on the spot" type reports. Our family and friends who visited were always astonished to see footage of soldiers and Marines handing out toys
, aiding women and children
, building schools
or just speaking with Iraqis
who did not cower in fear or try to kill the hated Americans on site. They simply had no idea that for most troops, most of the time, violence was a rare thing. NRO plans to continue reporting the good news all week. I say, why stop then? Why aren't we demanding the truth from our media, or at least some semblance thereof? As Capt. Todd Lindner put it in response to the question "are we getting it right" (the media coverage) when he appeared on CNN
:LINDNER: ..we did watch the news when we were back in Baghdad, and we had AFN, and we were able to watch CNN, but I don't know that they always had it right, and I don't know that it's anybody's fault, but for us, we understood our purpose for being there, and we just wanted to make a difference and have an impact, and we definitely did that. But it is kind of disheartening sometimes to see everything focused on just the, the death and destruction and the IED strikes and not focused on how well the U.S. and coalition forces are doing building up the Iraqi police services and the Iraqi army. It really is a tremendous effort being put into that infrastructure and building a self-sufficient government over there. And they're absolutely making progress.
For more on Captain Lindner see here, and to see why the feminist left ought to love him for this quote "Capt. Todd Lindner, who commands the 617th Military Police Company, which includes Raven 42, said Hester and Pullen "shouldn't be held up as showpieces for why there should be women in combat. They should be held up as examples of why it's irrelevant." see here (some, at least, have noticed).
Captain Lindner, thank you. Fear not, for your efforts have not gone unnoticed, just unreported by the MSM. Even in the heart of the liberal left, people know. As evidence I offer you this quote, from the Colorado State student newspaper:
Other fronts in the war on terror include the ever-controversial Operation Iraqi Freedom. Whether or not they were linked to 9/11, Iraq had been involved with terrorist organizations and the creation of weapons of mass destruction for decades. If you don't believe me, I have some more people you can ask, like the 5,000 or so Kurds and countless Kuwaitis who were killed by Saddam using poison gas in 1988. According to MSNBC.com Saddam showed great remorse when he referred to these Kuwaitis as "dogs" just last week in court. Oh, and if poisonous gas does not count as a weapon of mass destruction, then I don't know what does.
Outside of the removal of an evil dictator from power, Operation Iraqi Freedom has also seen the vast improvement of Iraq's infrastructure including water and electrical systems, roads, and schools. The health care budget has been increased from $16 million in 2002 under Saddam to $950 million today. Another change that has been made in Iraq, that I'm sure is dear to the heart of every employee here at the Collegian, is the establishment of free press, which had been banned for decades.
Just two weeks ago, Iraqis also voted on a new constitution, proving to the world yet again that a peaceful democratic Iraq is not too lofty of a goal. Iraq, along with Afghanistan will set an example for the rest of the tumultuous Middle East in the years to come.
Iraq and Afghanistan will set an example, as Macedonia already has, and in it's own sad way has Kosovo. And it will be thanks to men like Captain Lindner and the men and women he commanded and served with, along with the brave people of Iraq, Afghanistan and Macedonia. I only hope that the efforts of the people who fought and died in Kosovo, and who continue to struggle against the inept efforts of the occupying U.N. meet with equal success.