December 30, 2005
Fighting the Good Fight
We've always known winning the war on terror would be difficult.
But hearing critics such as Rep. John Murtha, Pennsylvania Democrat,
claim "we're making no progress at all" in Iraq, you'd
think it was impossible. Fortunately, the pessimists are wrong.
been some bad news, to be sure. It is war, after all. More than
2,000 U.S. troops have died, and some areas remain far from secure.
But we're making some serious progress. And the Iraqis know it,
judging by the two-thirds who have been telling pollsters they're
better off now than under Saddam Hussein's dictatorship.
example, how Iraqi army and security forces have grown from just
one operational battalion in July 2004 to more than 120 today.
More than 200,000 trained Iraqis now play an active role in rooting
being effective? The Iraqi people apparently think so, considering
the growing number of intelligence tips they've passed along.
In March 2005, Iraqi and coalition forces received 483 intelligence
tips from Iraqi citizens, according to Heritage Foundation Middle
East expert James Phillips. This figure rose to 3,300 in August
and more than 4,700 in September.
reason for optimism, even given the inevitable setbacks, in Iraq
and elsewhere before we win this war.
of State Condoleezza Rice made this point during a Dec. 13 address
at the Heritage Foundation.
back at the world of the late 1940s, when the tide of history
seemed to be running against the United States. "Whether
it was the communists winning large minorities in France and Italy
in 1946, or in 1947 the Greek civil war and the tensions and the
strife in Turkey, or in 1948 Germany permanently divided in the
Berlin events, or in 1948 the Czechoslovak coup, or in 1949 the
Soviet Union exploding a nuclear weapon five years ahead of schedule
and the Chinese communists winning their civil war, those weren't
minor setbacks," Miss Rice said, "Those were huge strategic
noted, the West pulled together behind U.S. leadership and built
a lasting peace: "It was not inevitable that Japan was going
to emerge as a free, democratic state and an ally of the United
States after what we had suffered in Pearl Harbor and in the Pacific.
Nothing was inevitable about any of this, and yet now it seems
is true in Iraq today. It wasn't inevitable 8.5 million Iraqis
would vote last January. It wasn't inevitable Iraqis could write
their own democratic constitution, or almost 10 million would
vote in the October referendum on that constitution. And it wasn't
inevitable the minority Sunnis would set aside violence and join
the political process for the Dec. 15 nationwide vote.
American leadership, all these happened.
out Saddam and the Taliban in Afghanistan, we've sent a message
to our enemies: Our military is ready and able to remove any government
that sponsors terrorism or refuses to abide by international demands.
It's no surprise
Libya decided to surrender its weapons program. In addition, Syria
was forced out of Lebanon, giving the democracy movement in both
countries a boost.
If we stay
the course, Miss Rice says, the Middle East can become "a
place of peace and democracy," and "it will be unimaginable
that it could be a region that produces an ideology of hatred
so great that people fly airplanes into buildings on a fine September
day." Those are big goals -- worth reaching for, no matter
J. Feulner, Ph.D., is President of The
1995 - 2005 The Heritage Foundation
Visit the Heritage Foundation at http://www.heritage.org