Was Iraq worth it?
If the Captain who wrote Omar is to be believed, yes, it was. (Emphasis mine.)
Last Sunday, the Iraqi people had an opportunity to express their own voices, their own opinions. In the months preceding the elections, skeptics would have led you to believe that a successful election in Iraq could not possibly take place given the current security situation. When you turned on the news, all you saw being reported on Iraq was the latest suicide bombing, the latest kidnapping, the latest body count. Is there anyone who can actually recall seeing a positive story that came out of Iraq? In the year that I have been here, the only positive story I can recall was the Iraqi National Soccer team's gutsy performance in the Olympics. Can anyone remember a major news network that covered one of the hundreds of schools that have been built? How about the roads, hospitals, oil pipelines, or power plants? I for one can't recall another single story that portrayed a remotely positive picture of what was happening in Iraq. Until last Sunday that is.What's wrong with the media? Two things. Liberal bias which they refuse to admit or even believe that they have, and a "if it bleeds, it leads" mentality that pushes good news out to the edges and often completely off the radar.
For the first time in a year the media seemed to focus their cameras on average Iraqis who for so long had remained silent. These were the millions of Iraqis that came out of their homes and defied the dangers and intimidation and went to the polls to cast their ballots for a new Iraqi future. Due to an apparent lack of burning vehicles and broken bodies, the media apparently had nothing left to report but the long lines of Iraqis as they peacefully cast their ballots. We saw men dancing in the streets and proud smiling faces that held up ink-stained fingers showing the sign for peace. Were the elections perfect? Certainly not. There were many Iraqis, especially among the Sunni minority, that exercised their right to withhold their vote; a newly given right by the way. Regardless, all Iraqis were given the opportunity to vote, and that is what is important. When America's fledgling government first held elections, the only citizens eligible to vote were white male landowners. The United States has come a long way since our beginning. It is now Iraq's turn for a new beginning. It isn't going to be an easy road, but the Iraqi people are accustomed to greater hardships. The insurgency in Iraq won't disappear over night, and will likely never disappear completely, but as an Iraqi government emerges we can only hope that the new government will be able to contend with the challenges posed by a determined minority.