Sunday, August 8, 2004

America did the right thing in freeing Iraq


Click here to e-mail Peter Bronson
The Crying Frenchman was on the History Channel again the other night. He's the weeping man who shows up in nearly every documentary about the liberation of France in World War II. He's also the face of America's noble sacrifice to liberate Europe from the grip of evil, reflected back to us in tears of grief and gratitude.

The Crying Frenchman's face told us that only a nut-job would ever doubt that what America did was noble and right.

Saroob Ahmed's face told me the same thing when she visited Cincinnati the other day. She and Taghreed Al-Qaragholi are the new faces of Iraq, reflecting back to us the most selfless and beautiful profile of America.

Ahmed struggled to contain her tears when she described how her mother and sister were killed, she was shot twice and her father was shot three times in an ambush by Saddam's thugs in Kirkuk, during an uprising in 1991. "Three hundred people were killed in a few moments because they were wearing Kurdish clothing,'' she said.

The two women told me about mass graves, 300,000 buried corpses, rapes, torture and villages massacred with chemical weapons. "A woman was tied up with her children and burned alive,'' said Al-Qaragholi, shuddering.

When I asked her about media reports that Iraqis feel "oppressed'' by American troops, she rolled her eyes and got angry.

"The American people should be proud," she said. "Only the United States helped us remove Saddam."

Ahmed added: "I say thank you to the American soldiers and their families, especially the mothers. I am honored to meet them."

They urged our troops to stay in Iraq. "Ninety-five percent of the people in Iraq feel like us," Al Qaragholi said. "Only 5 percent are from Saddam's group."

She should know. She was invited by the World Affairs Council of Greater Cincinnati to speak Monday night because she worked on Iraq's constitution as administrative director of the Iraqi Independent Democrats. She also works for women's rights. For Iraq, that makes her part James Madison and part Susan B. Anthony - and all fed up by anti-war Americans who think we should feel guilty.

"Guilty about what? We are free now. Now I'm not afraid," she said. "I assure you, they will find the weapons of mass destruction. They already have. Saddam was a weapon of mass destruction."

These strong and successful Iraqi women are also WMDs to neighboring regimes such as Saudi Arabia and Iran, which use Islam to keep women veiled and powerless. "Ninety percent of Iraq is Islamic, but we refuse to have an Islamic state," Al-Qaragholi said. "That threatens their leaders and their regimes, and that's why they have made Iraq a battleground," she said of the terrorists and their Islamic-fundamentalist sponsors.

Here's something I have not seen anywhere in the media: A thank-you note from Iraq.

A letter to the American people, signed by more than a dozen Iraqi organizations, says what the Crying Frenchman's face said 60 years ago: "The sacrifices of your sons and daughters for our liberation will never be forgotten. Without those brave young men and women, this day might never have come."

Iraq is no longer hiding in the shadows of fear. Its new face is hopeful. "Soon we will be a world leader," Al-Qaragholi said. "Everyone has a right to live in peace if they respect the rules."

Anyone who can't feel proud of America after hearing that is a crying shame.

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E-mail pbronson@enquirer.com or call 768-8301.




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