A piece by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal is must reading for anyone who feels strongly, pro or con, about the U.S.’s continued presence in Iraq. As I noted elsewhere one columnist was so impressed that he compared Maliki’s article to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address (he dubbed it the Baghdadysburg Address.)
That is hyperbole; nevertheless Maliki’s article, which does, indeed, invoke the American Civil War in talking about how fraught with peril is the creation of a nation, is an antidote to the often appallingly frivolous debate on Iraq in the U.S. Congress. The prime minister traces the story of Iraq from its status as a province of “an Ottoman empire steeped in backwardness and ignorance” to the present struggle. Please click on the link and read this important op-ed.
For those of us who see Iraq as part of a larger, existential struggle known as the war on terror (one English news outlet has taken to placing war on terror between quotes, as if it’s some silly construct of Bush & Co.), Maliki’s article triggers both hope and dread, hope that Iraq is making the slow progress Maliki reports, not that you’d know it from the evening news, and dread that we will abandon Iraq and those there who have worked with us and allow this nascent nation to sink into a jihadist abyss.
Oddly enough, there is one group that doesn’t seem that troubled by the possible defeat in our existential war with jihadists in the Middle East: women “obsessed with draping themselves in pink and protesting the US government rather than protesting the terrorists who murder, rape, and oppress women” in the Middle East in the name of religion.
Strangely, one of the best assessments of the need to support women around the globe, and particularly in the Middle East, came from a living, white (perhaps we could even say white bread?) male named Newt Gingrich, who made his remarks at an IWF event last March in a talk entitled “American Solutions for Winning the Future.”
For starters, Gingrich said:
Some crises are clarifying because they force people and nations to choose sides. The Third World War similarly forces us to make a decision. We must have a national debate, indeed a worldwide debate, between those of us who believe we’re in a war between civilization and terrorism and those who believe the forces that threaten us can be appeased.
Central to this debate are the rights of women. Our enemies in the emerging Third World War are enemies of women. The great tragedy for America is that none of the leftwing groups that claim to speak for women are prepared to stand up for the rights of women in this war. For them, the enemy is George W. Bush, not the men whose goal it is to eliminate western civilization and all the advances for women that it has produced.
Gingrich went on to ask, “Where are the marches for justice for Saudi women?” and to praise Ayaan Hirsi Ali, remarkable whose book “Infidel” tells the story of her life in Somalia and Saudi Arabia and subsequently in the Dutch parliament before she was forced to flee the country for safety. She has committed the unforgivable sin in the eyes of the left: she has praised European values, especially those that grew out of the Enlightenment period of our shared history.
“For her full-throated embrace of western values,” Gingrich said, “Ayaan Hirsi Ali has been called a ‘fundamentalist’ by critics on the left and compared to the Islamic fundamentalists that call for her death. Unbelievably, Newsweek recently referred to her as a ‘bomb thrower.'”
While the U.S.-led removal of the Taliban from Afghanistan allowed four million women, who had never before cast a ballot, to vote, Kim Gandy, president of NOW, was loudly braying that Bush and “the right wing leadership in Congress” had “undermined and eroded” the advancement of women. “We are declaring a state of emergency for women’s rights,” said Gandy.
Would that they might declare a state of emergency for women’s rights in the Middle East! But I have a hunch it’s not as easy to bully the guys in power in terrorist organizations as it is to scare American lawmakers.