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Conservative Political Commentary

Quote of the Day

Lady Liberty

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Great Job!
posted by Bathus

A commenter to an earlier post writes that my congratulations to the voters of Iraq were "misplaced," and that it is the American people who deserve congratulations because they "stayed the course":
[T]he outpouring of support for Iraq and the swelling of the American breast are both warranted and inspiring. However, I believe that it is misplaced to commend the Iraqis for merely voting. (I do realize that there were SEVERE inducements not to vote.)The U.S. has been in Iraq for over two years. We have stayed the course and proven that we will not leave the Iraqi people helpless in the hands of a new tyrant. At some point, the child must grow up, regardless the pain.

I am cheered that they voted in such numbers and believe that we, the U.S. and Iraq, have taken a momentous step toward stability in the Middle East. MY breast swells with pride when I realize that it is the American people that have made this remarkable event possible.
As to my commenter's suggestion that the Iraqis were "merely voting," I couldn't disagree more strongly. Before the election, terrorists specifically targeted voters, trying to intimidate them with brutal threats, "Min Al-Sanduq il Al-sanduq!" ("From the ballot box into the coffin!") As the number of Iraqis who have died at the hands of terrorists attests, that was no idle threat. Thank God (and some others mentioned here later), the terrorist could not make good on their threat, though we can be sure it wasn't for lack of trying.

And so that purple finger is an indelible mark of eight million individual acts of courage and an enduring symbol of the courage of an entire people. The mere thought of it humbles me, and I say that as one very, very proud American.

One could wonder how many of us Americans would have summoned the courage to vote under similar circumstances. But on such a joyous occasion, it would be ungracious to skimp on congratulations. So, yes, the American people (minus about 59,000,000 who voted the wrong way in our last election) do deserve to give themselves a pat on the back.

And while we are busy passing out kudos, let's not forget to thank God for the ones who really "made this remarkable event possible." Speaking of whom, here's a report that was forwarded to me today. It was penned by one of those who most deserve the thanks and congratulations of both the Iraqi people and the American people . . . and every other free people on God's green earth:
The following is a note from a Louisiana National Guard member [256th Infanty Brigade] who provided security on election day. A friend here in Baton Rouge forwarded it to me. (The writer is a Baton Rouge native, and a business professional in his day job.) His comments about the Iraqi police and their national guard--and the Iraqi public's perception of them--is encouraging.


P.S. I cracked up when I read his Geraldo comment.

I was exhausted when the elections finally happened. We worked really hard to put all the pieces together to ensure security of the polling places. We were securing the police stations while the Iraqi Police and the Iraqi National Guard were providing direct polling center security. We also secured the elections operations centers in each district and provided Quick Reaction Force for the police (which was not needed). The turnout was huge. We had a couple of rockets hit our base on election day, but for the most part it has been peaceful. The rockets did not hit anything or hurt anyone. Mid-morning there were 8 rockets launched at the green zone but to no effect. Some suicide bombers but the Iraqi Police stopped them before they could kill voters (one of the biggest successes). Some Iraqi police died. The greatest thing that happened is the confidence gained by the Iraqi Police and National Guard. It also boosted confidence that the people have in the Iraqi Police and National Guard. Other notable notes: No VBIEDs (car bombs) and no suicide bombers outside of Baghdad. It was really a historic moment.

Geraldo Rivera was imbedded with us for the election. I kept my distance. The Election Rules of Engagement (ROE) were intensely negotiated with the interim government. The JAGs gave input but for the most part the emergency measures and the ROE were dictated by the government. Everything came together at the last minute, then we had to get the troops trained on the emergency measures and the ROE. Well worth it. I'll have to tell everyone about it one day. The 256th did a great job.

Great job, John!

Great job, 256th!

Great job, all you guys and gals serving in Iraq!

¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤ ¤

The 256th has a long and glorious history.

In the month before the elections in Iraq, eight of its members gave their lives for freedom in Iraq:

Spc. Warren A. Murphy, 29, of Marrero, LA; 256th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), Army National Guard, Lafayette, LA.

Spc. Armand L. Frickey, 20, of Houma, LA; 256th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), Army National Guard, Lafayette, LA.

Spc. Huey P. L. Fassbender, 24, of LaPlace, LA; 256th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), Army National Guard, Lafayette, LA.

Spc. Bradley J. Bergeron, 25, of Houma, LA; 256th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), Army National Guard, Lafayette, LA.

Sgt. Christopher J. Babin, 27, of Houma, LA; 256th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), Army National Guard, Lafayette, LA.

Sgt. 1st Class Kurt J. Comeaux, 34, of Raceland, LA; 256th Infantry Brigade (Mechanized), Army National Guard, Lafayette, LA.

Sgt. Robert W. Sweeney III, 22, of Pineville, LA; 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade, Army National Guard, Lake Charles, LA.

Staff Sgt. William F. Manuel, 34, of Kinder, LA; 3rd Battalion, 156th Infantry Regiment, 256th Infantry Brigade, Army National Guard, Lake Charles, LA.

posted by Bathus | 2/02/2005 07:38:00 PM
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Blogger bohica said...

My point was that, although the Iraqi people had had ample opportunity over the last 40 years to vote for someone other than Saddam, they chose not to. It is obvious why. The very same threats that were made during this election. It was the U.S. military's, and by extension all Americans', mitigation of these threats that allowed Iraqis to vote. I didn't say, nor do I believe, that they are idiots. They looked at the situation, as they did in the past, and made a reasoned decision that it was safe to vote.
I do take exception to your implication that Americans would act less than courageously under similar situations. Just a subjective opinion though.
Lastly, in the joyousness of the occasion, I will concede your point that the Iraqis are a courageous people acting in uncertain times, also that our military personnel are truly heroic and, finally, that I stand humbly corrected.

10:43 PM, February 02, 2005  
Blogger Bathus said...

Your points are well taken, bohica. And I can't quibble about who among the deserving should receive a smaller share of praise when there's plenty to go around.

The American people collectively stayed the course (although things looked damned shaky the 1st of November last year).

The American military gave the Iraqis a chance for freedom.

Eight million Iraqis seized the moment.

And the entire world will enjoy the fruits of this victory.

(Jimmy Carter, George Soros, and Michael Moore had no comment.)

11:28 PM, February 02, 2005  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At the risk of trivializing a profound moment, I'll draw a parallel to pop culture:

Until almost the end, "Saving Private Ryan" is a pretty standard GI-gripe movie about brave but cynical soldiers whose lives are wasted by a detached and unfeeling Army on an absurd mission. In the last few minutes, though, one realizes that the object of their mission, Private Ryan, is worth saving. His worthiness somehow elevates their already noble sacrifice--a fact that Tom Hanks' character explicitly recognizes when, dying, he implores Ryan to "earn this."

Until the elections, I think most of us harbored doubts as to whether the Iraqis for whom America collectively and our troops personally are giving so much were worth our trouble. By risking their lives to place their country on the path to decency, 8 million Iraqis have made a very good start at earning this.

9:10 AM, February 03, 2005  
Blogger Ass. de Pais - Esc. EB 2,3 Viana do Castelo said...


7:01 PM, February 25, 2005  

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