I really want to be careful with this post, because I do not in any way want a political debate to begin. There's a whole lot of negatives out there, about everyone - every candidate that's running for office, and pretty much every action taken by the current administration, I don't want to stir the pot over any it.....
With that in mind, it was a very pleasant surprise for me to pick up the Register Guard - Eugene's daily paper, and read the Commentary section and discover that the story had a positive spin. I believe the Register Guard does a good job representing the probable majority of Eugene citizens' sentiments, which aren't necessarily mine - so seeing this article was a bit of a jolt for me.
The article was written by a journalist who traveled to Iraq on his own dime, under his own plans all with the purpose to determine if there really is any good coming out of all the bad that we are constantly hearing is taking place over there. His journey took him to Kurdistan, the northern region and what he found there was astonishing to him.
The Iraqi Kurds have created freedom and liberty in their region. They have opened their territory to anyone who wishes to enter - of any nationality or religion, but our fiercely protective of security - requiring background checks prior to entry. They consider America - and even our current president (gasp!) a hero (this is the sentiment expressed by the paper - not my words) - for giving them their freedom. Here's a quote from "Fawsi" a Saddam-era police officer when asked "What do you think of American and coalition efforts in Iraq?"
His response: "Tell you what I think? Allow me to put it this way. Now I can go where I want to, see who I want to, speak openly about who or what I want to. I can even speak in a public place about the distaste I have for the government, and I no longer have to worry about whether I, or any members of my family, will be murdered by my president. We are freed from the weight of Saddam Hussein and his ghoulish henchmen, yes! I am free; free from Saddam telling me how to live.... and free from him telling me how I can die"
Wow - that's pretty profound. The whole article was, in fact. The reporter's name is Marc Knutson - I'm sure you can find the entirety of the article online if you are interested.
It impacted me in a number of ways. I think the biggest I wish to express right now is just how great it is that we even have the opportunity to argue our views and have the debates we do here in America. I recently read a forwarded email that had a different kind of monologue written by Jay Leno. I think it is a little harsh to want to share here, but needless to say, I respect the man a thousand times more after reading it. He pretty much talked about how grateful we should be for having the place to live in that we do.
Long live freedom - what a blessed thing it is.