Thursday, July 27, 2006
MALIKI SPEAKS, MEDEA SCREAMS
ast night I happened to catch the AP satellite feed just as the joint session of Congress was preparing for the address of Nouri al-Maliki, the first popularly elected Prime Minister of a constitutional democracy named Iraq, to have ever done so. As I was interested to see what some Democrats might have planned, what with previous hinting that some of them would boycott the speech or otherwise register their displeasure, I thought I'd just watch the opening ceremonial part (knowing that the speech itself would be replayed today on the Embassy network - which it has been).
Mr. Maliki was ushered into the chamber by a bi-partisan delegation from both Houses, where he was met with a warm welcome. Ok, great -- no evident walk-outs that I could see. Well, maybe I'll just watch the first little bit of the speech to see if any of the members would turn their backs on him or make some other such display. Nothing like that, thank goodness. It seemed like a good atmosphere and he was getting warm appreciation for the first few points in his speech. Fine, I can see the full speech tomorrow.
I couldn't tear myself away. He's not a greatly animated speaker, but the simultaneous translation (likely a reading of the translated text) was smooth and clear. The ideas and ideals he expressed were powerful and true, and I very much hope that all the defeatists and quagmire-mongers could have heard the whole thing. If you haven't, you might consider reading the whole thing right here. Some selected quotes:
Thousands of lives were tragically lost on September 11th when these impostors of Islam reared their ugly head. Thousands more continue to die in Iraq today at the hands of the same terrorists who show complete disregard for human life.Maliki understands the historic pivot point which rests on his country, and that defeat is not an option. I sure hope Murtha was in the room.
Your loss on that day was the loss of all mankind, and our loss today is lost for all free people.
And wherever humankind suffers a loss at the hands of terrorists, it is a loss of all of humanity.
It is your duty and our duty to defeat this terror. Iraq is the front line in this struggle, and history will prove that the sacrifices of Iraqis for freedom will not be in vain. Iraqis are your allies in the war on terror.
History will record their bravery and humanity.
The fate of our country and yours is tied. Should democracy be allowed to fail in Iraq and terror permitted to triumph, then the war on terror will never be won elsewhere.
Ladies and gentlemen, in a short space of time, Iraq has gone from a dictatorship to a transitional administration, and now to a fully fledged democratic government.At this point he was interupted by a protester, one Medea Benjamin, longtime pro-communist radical of the "A.N.S.W.E.R." variety, founder of Code Pink (famous for harrassing wounded veterans at Walter Reed Hospital, and other "pranks"), and one of Mother Sheehan's favourite side-kicks. How, um... nuanced, to be screaming at the constitutionally elected government leader of Iraq -- immediately after he reminded us of his people's repeated and courageous committment to democracy -- that "Iraqis want the troops to leave!"
This has happened despite the best efforts of the terrorists who are bent on either destroying democracy or Iraq, but by the courage of our people who defied the terrorists every time they were called upon to make a choice, by risking their lives for the ballot box. They have stated over and over again, with their ink-stained fingers waving in pride, that they will always make the same choice.
Silly dope. Mr. Maliki is in a far better position to be telling you what Iraqis want, and the last polling of their opinions showed something like 13% that favour what you screamed about. "Bring them home now!" You might have had a majority of the Sunni minority, at this time last year, to support you with that. Now even most Sunnis are worried about what would happen with an immediate pull-out, and don't support it. Check out that Gateway link above. Medea Benjamin was one of Saddams pre-war human shields, and she was given a pass for entrance into this event by a Democrat named Major Owens. That's going to look great on the political advertising this fall!
Order was restored pretty fast, and Maliki continued as though nothing had happened.
Hope over fear; liberty over oppression; dignity over submission; democracy over dictatorship; federalism over a centralist state.This is too often missed, as all those who harp on the remaining problems manage to paint over and obscure that fact. "Today Iraq is a democracy..." It's a democracy with a serious terrorist problem, and it needs all the help it can get. But it is a functioning democratic state, and all indicators are moving in the right direction (Maliki expands on this, so read it in full). Most parts of the country are peaceful, with the terrorists concentrating on Baghdad and surrounding area.
Let there be no doubt: Today Iraq is a democracy which stands firm because of the sacrifices of its people and the sacrifices of all those who stood with us in this crisis from nations and countries.
And that's why -- thank you -- I would like to thank them very much for all their sacrifices.
Iraq is free, and the terrorists cannot stand this.He reaffirmed his determination to disarm all sectarian militias without exception, which are the latest threat to Iraq's security. Despite the best efforts of a few, and thanks to the best efforts of the many, civil war is not taking place -- but it's still a real danger. I believe the majority of Iraqis will prevent that at all costs.
They hope to undermine our democratically elected government through the random killing of civilians. They want to destroy Iraq's future by assassinating our leading scientific, political and community leaders. Above all, they wish to spread fear.
Do not think that this is an Iraqi problem. This terrorist front is a threat to every free country in the world and their citizens. What is at stake is nothing less than our freedom and liberty.
Confronting and dealing with this challenge is the responsibility of every liberal democracy that values its freedom. Iraq is the battle that will determine the war. If, in continued partnership, we have the strength of mind and commitment to defeat the terrorists and their ideology in Iraq, they will never be able to recover.
But let our enemies not mistake our outstretched hand for forgiveness as a sign of weakness. Whoever chooses violence against the people of Iraq, then the fate that awaits them will be the same that of the terrorist Zarqawi.
We are rebuilding Iraq on a new, solid foundation: that of liberty, hope and equality. Iraq's democracy is young, but the will of its people is strong. It is because of this spirit and desire to be free that Iraq has taken the opportunity you gave us and we chose democracy.And let it be so. Thank you Mr. al-Maliki. I humbly wai to you and your nation for showing the world what true national courage is all about.
We faced tyranny and oppression under the former regime. And we now face a different kind of terror. We did not bow then and we will not bow now.
I will not allow Iraq to become a launch pad for Al Qaida and other terrorist organizations.
I will not allow terror to rob Iraqis of their hopes and dreams. I will not allow terrorists to dictate to us our future.
In partnership, we will be triumphant because we will never be slaves to terror, for God has made us free.
Trust that Iraq will be a grave for terrorism and terrorists.
Trust that Iraq will be the graveyard for terrorism and terrorists for the good of all humanity.