Monday, December 13, 2004

Step up to the plate

It's not everyday that I agree with Thomas Friedman, but his op-ed piece in today's NYTimes is worth your time.

He writes on the failure of NATO, the EU, and the Arab League to make any moves to help Iraq conduct successful elections. Here's a teaser:

Hey, look, I have no idea what sort of government the Iraqis might elect. I believe it's their first step in a thousand-mile journey to make that country something halfway decent and normal. But I do know this: There are a lot of Iraqis who would really like the chance to vote on their future, just once, and there is a virulent minority that is butchering people there just so they can never have that chance. Yes, the Bush team's incompetence in securing Iraq is a travesty. But even with all that said, is it such a hard call for Arabs and Europeans to figure out on whose side they should be? Do these people really feel good about not lifting a finger?

"We in Iraq have a lot of disappointment with many of our neighbors," Ghazi al-Yawar, Iraq's interim president, told me the other day while he was visiting Washington. President Yawar described Iraq's neighbors as sitting on a fence "dangling their legs and munching on pistachios," while "the forces of darkness" try to rip Iraq to shreds. "We do not understand why a vicious suicide bomber who claims the lives of innocent civilians is a terrorist in one country and in Iraq he becomes a freedom fighter," added Yawar, a bright and decent man.

I knew he couldn't get through an entire column without at least a little jab at the president, but otherwise the man makes a good point.