Project 21 New Visions

 

Resolve an Indicator of the Future of World Freedom


by Ak'Bar Shabazz

People around the world are anxiously watching America for indications about their own future.

It is up to the American people to determine how far freedom will spread across the planet. It is America's resolve in the war on terror will determine the outcome.

Despite a seemingly constant stream of negative reports on the condition and direction of the transition in Iraq, tremendous positive changes are happening every day. Obviously, the battle isn't over, but there are several reasons to be optimistic. Iraq now has an interim government and elections are planned in a country that had previously been run by a dictator and his henchmen for over 20 years. Saddam's torture chambers and rape rooms are out of business. The Iraqi people are no longer afraid to speak out against perceived injustices or exercise freedoms denied for decades. Political liberty, along with economic opportunity, now reigns in a region where freedom is still scarce.

Life in Iraq has improved. Media reports, however, rarely stress the positive. As a result, American public opinion is now mixed. A poll of Minnesota residents conducted by the Pioneer Press and Minnesota Public Radio in September found those surveyed almost evenly divided between those who supported the liberation of Iraq, those who opposed it and those who thought it was the right thing to do but lacked adequate preparation.

American Jews and Arabs are finding common ground on the issue. An American Jewish Council poll found a majority of Jews against current Iraq policy. A similar poll by the Arab American Institute found President Bush's approval ratings very low in part because "many Arabs are unhappy with [Bush's] conduct in the war on terror."

Our enemies are undoubtedly using these polls as a measure of our diligence in opposing them. If polls should consistently turn against our current policy in Iraq and the war on terror, they'll expect our nation to be more willing to engage in negotiations rather than in battle. They can quietly build their strength and potentially continue any nuclear programs they are suspected to possess. After opposing new weapons and even funding for the troops on the ground in Iraq, liberals who comprise the majority of anti-war sentiment don't seem ready for a sudden change of heart. They may talk tough at times, but they seem to lack the fortitude to actually go to war when the threat presents itself.

If liberals had been in charge of late, Saddam Hussein would likely still be in power. His sons might still be raiding the local schools and his henchmen dismembering and throwing those who oppose them from buildings. Iraq might still be a dictatorship without any visible signs of democracy or freedom. Libya would not have begun negotiating themselves out of the terrorism business and international bullies such as North Korea, Syria and Iran would not be feeling the heat.

Those who condemn the removal of Saddam empower other regimes with similar strangleholds on their citizens while weakening their indigenous resistance movements.

It's human nature to desire self-determination. It's an innate desire within us all. The oppressed in Iran and North Korea are no different than those in the old Iraq, but they remain muted by their brutal governments. Their voice can only be heard if others are willing to come to their aid.

Liberals publicly claim to be supporters of the oppressed, but they conveniently forget about the people worldwide who are yearning to be free from dictatorships. To lose our resolve at this time could be a death sentence for many of those who simply want to enjoy the freedoms we take for granted.

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Ak'Bar Shabazz, an Atlanta native, is president of Shabazz Enterprises and member of African-American leadership network, Project 21. Comments can be sent to [email protected].

Published by The National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21.


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