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Thursday, September 23, 2004

Ayad Allawi addresses Congress

The Iraqi interim Prime Minister gave a speech today before a joint session of congress. You should read the whole thing. Here are a few excerpts:

We are fighting for freedom and democracy, ours and yours. Every day, we strengthen the institutions that will protect our new democracy, and every day, we grow in strength and determination to defeat the terrorists and their barbarism. ... Well over a million Iraqis were murdered or are missing. We estimate at least 300,000 in mass graves, which stands as monuments to the inhumanity of Saddam's regime. Thousands of my Kurdish brothers and sisters were gassed to death by Saddam's chemical weapons. Millions more like me were driven into exile. Even in exile, as I myself can vouch, we were not safe from Saddam. And as we lived under tyranny at home, so our neighbors lived in fear of Iraq's aggression and brutality. Reckless wars, use of weapons of mass destruction, the needless loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and the financing and exporting of terrorism, these were Saddam's legacy to the world. My friends, today we are better off, you are better off and the world is better off without Saddam Hussein. ... They said we would miss January deadline to pass the interim constitution. We proved them wrong. They warned that there could be no successful handover of sovereignty by the end of June. We proved them wrong. A sovereign Iraqi government took over control two days early. They doubted whether a national conference could be staged this August. We proved them wrong. Despite intimidation and violence, over 1,400 citizens, a quarter of them women, from all regions and from every ethnic, religious and political grouping in Iraq, elected a national council. And I pledge to you today, we'll prove them wrong again over the elections. ... Neither tyranny nor terrorism has a place in our region or our world. And that is why we Iraqis will stand by you, America, in a war larger than either of our nations, the global battle to live in freedom.
This is just a flavor, the entire speech is equally compelling. If I was an Iraqi I would be proud to have Ayad Allawi as my Prime Minister, as an American I am pleased to call him an ally and a friend. Unfortunately, not everyone seems to agree:
"I think the prime minister is, obviously, contradicting his own statement of a few days ago, where he said the terrorists are pouring into the country," Kerry said. "The prime minister and the president are here obviously to put their best face on the policy, but the fact is that the CIA estimates, the reporting, the ground operations and the troops all tell a different story." ... "The United States and the Iraqis have retreated from whole areas of Iraq," Kerry told reporters outside a Columbus firehouse. "There are no-go zones in Iraq today. You can't hold an election in a no-go zone."
Is this the man who is going to use his diplomatic skills to bring us more allies? Allawi gave a strong speech, acknowledging difficulties and laying out his plan to overcome them. Kerry responds (why is he responding anyway, this wasn't a Bush speech) by saying Allawi is just putting his 'best face' on the situation. I understand that Kerry feels he has a better chance the poorer the situation in Iraq is, but this seems to me to be getting close to working against efforts in Iraq.


Blogger Andrew said...

I understand that Kerry feels he has a better chance the poorer the situation in Iraq is, but this seems to me to be getting close to working against efforts in Iraq. Unless you think that Allawi is part of the part of the problem, that the administration's track record on picking leaders for Iraq is sub-par (remember Chalabi?), that Allawi may be trying to get "four more years" of favors by turning Iraq into a partisan spectacle, that this is made more likely by the discrepencies between Allawi's claims and the reports of the media and the intelligence community, and that this all adds up to Allawi being a corrupt figure who may compromise the success of Iraq.

If you happen to think these things, criticizing Allawi isn't not really working against efforts in Iraq--it's working for them.

9/26/2004 05:35:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

I don't think you would think Allawi wasn't on the side of the Iraqi people unless you think that the terrorist and insurgents have the moral highground there.

Some on the left (Micheal Moore) do seem to think that, but I strongly disagree.

9/26/2004 10:22:00 PM  

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