Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Last Laugh

What a special weekend we just experienced!

To be watching the news events of the election in Iraq absolutely lifted my spirits, bringing me nearly to tears as I took in the jubilation of these long-oppressed people. Can you ever forget the ink-stained finger being lifted in victory, and in defiance of the terrorists’ threats and intimidation? Or the dancing at the polling centers, whether in Baghdad or Detroit? If these scenes did not warm your heart, check your pulse!

I have recently been thinking about one Iraqi man I met in Babylon nearly two years ago. He was probably in his seventies, so he would remember the last time elections were held in his country. How I would like to sit with him over a cup of their strong Arabic coffee and have him share his thoughts about this historic event. He had asked me then, in 2003, that our forces not leave Iraq before his people had the opportunity to establish themselves as a democracy. I’m so glad our nation has stayed the course, despite the criticism and rancor from certain quarters.

Many of our military personnel have been asked to express their views on the election. These American patriots have expressed in glowing terms, the pride in being a part of this historic moment in the history of Iraq. Even news people openly opposed to the war in Iraq were stunned that the injured military personnel they interviewed at military hospitals, to a man, said it was worth losing a limb, an eye, or physical mobility if it meant the Iraqi people could be free.

It’s important to take notice what has been happening around the world in the last few years. First, after the Afghanis were liberated from the oppressive regime of the Taliban and gained their independence, they held free elections. Second, since the fall of the Soviet Union, we have seen a significant number of the former satellite countries embrace the democratic process, not the least of which is the Ukraine. They only recently held popular elections to choose their own president. Third, there was the death of Palestinian leader Yassar Arafat a few months ago. Now we see free elections taking place there. And now, Iraq.

People long to be free. Free to engage in the expression of ideas and free debate; free to enjoy an opportunity to engage in free enterprise; free to live free from tyranny and oppression; and free to pursue the vocation of their own choosing.

Freedom is contagious. What is happening in these countries may well take on a life of its own, spreading across borders to places like Syria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the beyond.

Remember when we first entered Vietnam? Our country believed, as did the rest of the world, that Communism was spreading around the globe, particularly in Asia. It was referred to as the “Domino Theory.” It may be a bit premature, but I am very hopeful that we may be seeing a reverse Domino Theory, only this time it is democracy that is running around the globe.

Regardless of your political views, yesterday should have put a smile on all freedom-loving people’s faces. In fact, did you see the story of the little girl in the mid-West who has started a campaign of solidarity with the Iraqi people by dipping her finger in indelible ink? She’s encouraging all her friends and the adults in her life, to join in. Even kids know the importance of freedom.

I’m loving this! In fact, I’m going to dip one of my fingers in ink. It’s a way to rejoice with the free people of Iraq. It may seem silly, I suppose. After all, who would have thought two years ago that Iraq would be holding legal, democratic elections?

I find it all delightfully amusing. The free Iraqis have the last laugh.

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