Sunday, May 21, 2006

Iraqi Freedom

After three years of blood, sweat, toil, and tears the Iraqi people have the first democratically chosen Arab government in history. They, and we, have achieved that in the face of campaigns of slaughter by deposed Sunni despots, Iranian puppets and what’s left of al Qaeda. George Bush and Toby Blair can be justifiably proud.

Not that you’d know it from the MSM – here’s AP, which has been predicting civil war for months:
Iraq's New Government Meets for First Time; 13 Killed

A homicide bomber killed at least 13 people and injured 17 when he blew himself up Sunday in a downtown Baghdad restaurant frequented by police. The attack came as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pledged to soon fill vacancies in his two key security ministries.
AP won the Snuff Pulitzer for its presence at the murder of two Iraqi election workers, so seeing their sacrifice bear fruit must hurt. Which is why they won’t tell you of these indicators of progress (my ellipsis and emphasis):
The first indicator is...refugee(s). During bad times, Iraqis have fled, or attempted to flee, the country en masse. Since the toppling of Saddam Hussein, however, more than 1.2 million Iraqis have returned.

The second indicator is pilgrimages. From 1991 to 2003, there were virtually no pilgrimages to the religious shrines in Karbala and Najaf. In 2005, these sites received an estimated 12 million pilgrims. Moreover, the return of 3,000 Shiite clerics from exile has helped re-establish Najaf as a center of religious learning. As such, it provides an alterative to Qom in Iran where a radical and highly politicized version of Shiism is taught. By contrast, Najah provides for the study of more traditional quietist forms of the religion.

The next indicator is the value of the Iraqi dinar. It was in free-fall during the last years of Saddam. Today, (the dinar) is rising against the Kuwaiti dinar, the Iranian rial, and for that matter, the U.S. dollar (which is not to express any opinion on whether our readers should invest in this currency).

Fourth,...the level of activity by small and medium size businesses. In the past...whenever things have gone downhill in Iraq, large numbers of such enterprises have simply shut down. Since liberation, however, the private sector is booming. According to Taheri, the IMF and World Bank have found the Iraqi economy to be outperforming all others in the region...

For the first time since the 1950s, Iraq is exporting foodstuffs to its neighbors. And...even the oil industry, a constant target of the terrorists (to the tune of more than 3,000 attacks and attempts at sabotage), is progressing. Iraq has resumed its membership in OPEC, returned to the world markets as a major exporter, and is projected to meet its full OPEC quota of 2.8 million barrels a day by the end of the year.
Iraqi politicians are just as flawed as ours – even worse (if possible) given their low trust society. But, after more suffering, they’ll likely end up governed no worse than Greece or Italy – infinitely better than Saddam’s barbaric dictatorship, or any other Arab government.