MaxedOutMama started with an excellent summary of global and Iraqi opinion. I'd like to help. So, here's my round-up of Iraqi bloggers as they approached the invasion's second birthday:
- Iraqi blogger Husayn Uthman:
So you ask me, Husayn, was it worth it. What have you gotten? What has Iraq acheived? These are questions I get a lot.
To many outsiders, like those who protested last year, who will protest today. This was a fools errand, it brought nothing but death and destruction. I am sheltered in Iraq, but I know how the world feels, how people have come to either love or hate Bush, as though he is the emobdiement of this war. As though this war is part of Bush, they forget the over twenty million Iraqis, they forget the Middle Easterners, they forget the average person on the street, the average man with the average dream.
Ask him if it was worth it. Ask him what is different. Ask him if he would go through it again, go ahead ask him, ask me, many of you have.
Now I answer you, I answer you on behalf of myself, and my countrymen. I dont care what your news tells you, what your television and newspapers say, this is how we feel. Despite all that has happened. Despite all the hurt, the pain, blood, sweat and tears. These two years have given us hope we never had.
Before March 20, 2003, we were in a dungeon. We did not see the light. Saddam Hussain was crushing Iraq's spirit slowly, we longed for his end, but knew we could not challenge him, or his diabolical seed who would no doubt follow him and continue his generation of hell on Earth.
Since then, we now have hope.
- Saleem at Free Iraq:
These days Iraq witness many violence attacks against policemens and members of the new army but all this attacks will not give any success for the terrorists in Iraq because Iraq pass the most difficult stage which was the election and succeed in this exam with high degree of courageous and patience.
I am very happy because it passes peacefully but also sad on the people that died in the battle from the invasion till nowaday, may God bless every one died for this country.
- Aunt Najma at A Star from Mosul
Saddam Hussein was the president of Iraq, made several wars and killed a lot of people. Made some good stuff as well.
First thing we used to hear in the news, was who he met, who he talked to and who he received a letter from, then some stuff he wanted us to hear. You can guess that the Iraqi media wasn't to be depended on . .
He made children watch what was called "So that we won't forget", some scenes of wars and the damage that was done. That was just before the cartoons, everyday. . .
I think this man had a strong effect on most Iraqis, some were weak enough to force themselves to believe him, and some just did.
- Ali at Free Iraqi:
Some western experts argue that since there is no democratic society in Iraq, the American liberation of Iraq did not and will not lead to democracy . The first part of this statement is true but the conclusion is flawed.
Iraqi society, like most Arab/Muslim societies, is cursed with many problems that chain it and prevent the progress of democracy among its components. The worst of these chains and the hardest to break is dictatorship. By toppling Saddam, America offered Iraqis freedom from dictatorship but it couldn't and would never be able to liberate Iraqi from all other chains. Once Iraqis tasted this freedom the majority of them used it to back up their religious figures that were similarly oppressed at Saddam's hands and thus the religious parties won easily. This chain was not forced but was created by ignorance and the emotional bond between Iraqis and their religious symbols.
However, once those religious parties started to use their power that is given to them by God (as they believe) and by the people (through the vote) Iraqis got shocked! This is not what they jeopardized their lives to vote for! They were not freed from Saddam only to face another tyranny, and therefore the same people who voted for the Coalition List have revolted against its fanatic religious components and they will continue their revolt until they win. This will be a peaceful struggle that takes its nature from the fact that American troops are on the ground to prevent any large scale oppression although it can't prevent smaller scattered violations of Iraqi citizens' rights.
The anti-democracy forces are facing their worst enemies, a foe that is more formidable than American or Iraqi official troops. They're facing their own people from whom they got their legitimacy in the first place. They'll be fighting a lost battle without any weapon other than their viciousness while moderate Iraqis fight knowing they're the majority that even if it lost the government support it would still have some of it plus what's more important, the support of America, the power that provided the free environment and that will be there to maintain it if needed. Without America's support such struggle would be bloody and most likely fanatics would win in the end but with that support fanatics get trapped between two mighty powers that leave them with a very small chance if ever.
- Friends of Democracy:
I stand with the government in its use of force to provide security and stability. If I were in Allawi’s place I would have used force, as well. It is just and correct. . . I stand behind the use of force, but I cannot stand behind injustice – one of the former regime’s basic adjectives. . .
If we remain silent in the face of faults and bad acts we will see the return Saddam Hussein under another name. We will find ourselves under a new dictatorship, and we will find ourselves once again in a place where the Americans had reason to get rid of our government.
- Dr. Saif, the Iraqi Doctor:
On Tuesday 8/2/2005 as I was carrying some of tests results to a patient who is one of the Iraqi Notional Guard had a gunshot in his left arm & had a successful removal operation, I walked by a window in the hospital & saw scene, which really attached my heart. The scene was as An American truck filled with medical equipments like: boxes of feeding bottles, boxes of syringes & boxes of medical drugs. Not only this that made me attached only, but the scene of US soldiers teeming the truck with happiness & enthusiasm. Some of the Iraqi workers in the hospital tried to help the US soldiers & others were happy to took pictures with those soldiers as they were photographing that scene which I really wanted to take a picture of it. But as I lack the digital camera I stand there helpless but I finally called all the patients, nurses & sub-staff who were near me to see this scene. . .
About the election results, I was very happy not for the results exactly but for the truth in this elections as for the first time we know an election percentage less than 99.99999% as usual :). But I was always wondering who is the traitor 0.00001 who said NO :), but now I ask who did these results & the answer is a very simple one, The Iraqi People. & Finally let's Democracy take it's way.
- Alaa at The Messopotamian:
Regarding the situation here, and despite the horrible news you hear about the massive casualties caused by cowardly and criminal attacks against soft targets like funeral receptions and medical clinics; the terrorists are being rounded up and are really under pressure now. Things are moving in the right direction; albeit painfully and at a high price. We have said it since long time ago; and now they are forced to follow that course; because it is the only wise solution that there is. The Iraqis are the ones who can really clear this matter up. The presence of the American friends and their allies, remains important, but they should keep more and more in the background and provide the technical and material support required to the growing Iraqi forces.
Nobody can deny the considerable successes of the new Iraqi security formations lately, with quite modest equipment and resources. . . I hope to find more time to analyze the situation more fully later. Meanwhile, our friends should be reassured that there is a general feeling around here that things are moving in the right direction.
- Shaggy at Baghdad Beacon is the exception that proves the rule; he complains post-Saddam Iraq is too quiet:
Before the war, we used to stay out very late at night. There were prostitutes on the streets that could give you a blowjob for a few bucks. There was booze in the stores. There was locally made beer that everybody had a suspicion that it was spiked. When I was in school in the mid 90s we used to make house parties, boys and girls would come over and we'd go home around midnight.
Now, we're all home by 9pm and the prostitutes all left to other countries to make more money or aren't able to work on the streets anymore because of punk zealots. All the booze shops got closed down because of the same psycho zealots that threatened to blown them up and in many cases they did.
Of course, the newly-free Iraqi press confirmed that Iraqis support the war on terror even though most terrorists are fellow Arabs, according to Kirk Sowell at Window on the Arab World, "Today’s edition of the Iraqi newspaper Al-Bawaba had this to say, reporting comments from Abd al-Aziz Hakim, chairman of the Supreme Islamic Revolutionary Council of Iraq, which is aligned with the Shia party which now forms the dominant faction in the Iraqi parliament":
[Hakim] demanded a frank apology from the Jordanian monarch, King Abdullah II… He also called for the formation of an investigative committee regarding what happened with regard to the praise of terrorists and the raising of barriers to the infiltration of terrorists [from across the Iraqi-Jordanian border] because that was something which would affect relations between Jordan and Iraq.To its credit, the NY Times may be emerging from its long-standing leftist smoke screen. Beneath the headline "Insurgency Is Fading Fast," Saturday's Times reported:
The top Marine officer in Iraq said Friday that the number of attacks against American troops in Sunni-dominated western Iraq and death tolls had dropped sharply over the last four months, a development that he called evidence that the insurgency was weakening in one of the most violent areas of the country.When the Times says "uncle", it's obvious the terrorists are losing. Blogger Austin Bay explains the shift:
The officer, Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler, head of the First Marine Expeditionary Force, said that insurgents were averaging about 10 attacks a day, and that fewer than two of those attacks killed or wounded American forces or damaged equipment. That compared with 25 attacks a day, five of them with casualties or damage, in the weeks leading up to the pivotal battle of Falluja in November. . .
He said that several hundred hard-core jihadists and former members of Saddam Hussein's government and security services were still operating in Anbar Province, but that the declining frequency of the attacks indicated that the rebels' influence was waning.
"They're way down on their attempts, and even more on their effectiveness," General Sattler said.
Iraqis are sick and tired of Zarqawi’s and Al Qaeda’s murder and destruction and they want other Arab Muslim countries to take strong action. This hatred for Zarqawi isn’t a new phenomenon – I heard similar comments last summer in Baghdad. Now –after the Iraqi elections– the Iraqi people feel confident enough to demonstrate in the streets. That means they attract cameras–even Al Jazeerah’s.Writing in NRO, David Rivkin Jr. and Glenn Sulmasy agree:
The demonstrations are another huge political defeat for Al Qaeda. The demonstrations make the point that Al Qaeda kills Arabs, Al Qaeda kills Muslims. Washington fretted -and quite correctly– that the coalition was losing the “information war.” Since January 30th, the Iraqis have been winning that war.
[T]he brutal behavior of our enemies, designed to intimidate and frighten their opponents, has instead helped to invigorate the democratic forces. For example, in the process of trying to block the ongoing democratic transformation in Iraq, the Islamist forces have resorted to such illegal combat tactics as wholesale attacks on the civilian population and, in the infamous words of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, “have declared a bitter war against the principle of democracy and all those who seek to enact it.” These developments have helped to delegitimize the jihadis in the eyes of ordinary people throughout the region and expose them for what they are — brutal murderers and thugs, who violate the most fundamental and obligatory precepts of Islam. Meanwhile, the fact that the jihadis have manifestly failed to shake the resolve of the majority of the Iraqi people or to dislodge the U.S. forces has robbed them of much of their mystique as the allegedly invincible Islamic warriors.To sum up, pampered lefties in America, Canada and Europe insist Coalition forces in Iraq are both unwanted and beaten. Equally anti-American and anti-military, they're unreliable analysts of the tactical picture. Similarly, their assertion that America's an unwanted occupying power -- and thus the legitimate target of Iraqi patriots -- has no basis. Some lefties remain capable debaters, albeit blissfully unencumbered by facts.
These gradual, yet definite, shifts in the Islamic public opinion — some attributable to the administration’s pro-democracy ventures and others stemming from the justifiable revulsion against the excesses of the Islamist forces — are a key strategic development.
Yesterday's protestors falsely claim the moral high ground by insisting they speak for the Iraqi people. They don't. Somehow -- despite their oft-professed concern for supposed victims of oppression -- they never bothered to ask.
(via Instapundit and Publius Pundit)
Patrick at Liberating Iraq:
Despite all the bad news, the key strategic marking posts were related to getting political development and security progress, and the media would constantly ignore or misstate such progress while highlighting the negative. The never-objective media was blinded by their bias; they rarely saw through the ugly and crazy elements of wars and near-wars to understand the elemental truth that the U.S. had radically changed the political landscape, and that change was inevitable, powerful and for the better. Throughout this process, the US intervention in Iraq has been like an underappreciated and undervalued investment that many just couldnt bring themselves to believe in. Since January 30th elections, it's been a 'bull market' for perception about the future of Iraq.Still More:
But if you paid attention back in May 2004, when Bush laid out his plans publicly, if you looked at the strategic configuration of what victory would require and what defeat would have to look like, you would have a few simple questions. The only strategic questions would be: Would USA stick to the course and ensure victory for democracy? Would Iraqis accept the opportunity for freedom? What would the price be?
Question 1 was answered in early November 2004, with the re-election of Bush - yes, USA would stay the course to victory. Question 2 was decided in January 2005, with the successful Iraqi elections - yes, they will build the institutions of freedom.
A powerful piece from Omar at Iraq the Model:
These days we're living the 2nd anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom, an occasion that is very dear to my heart and the hearts of all freedom loving people all over the world.
This operation is still controversial to many people some are with and some are against it and many people still question the legal and ethical basis of this operation which continues to be a source for many visions regarding its future positive and negative effects on the region and the rest of the world.
It is ironic that many cities in the world witnessed "Anti-War" demonstrations while in Iraq, the people were demonstrating against Arab countries interfering with the internal affairs of Iraq.
Should we wait for the world to join us? Or maybe we're in a valley and the rest of the world is in another valley, like the old saying we have here.
Our support for this operation wasn't inspired from shallow reasons. It is inspired from the depth of the tragedy we lived in Iraq for 35 years under Saddam's regime and those who didn't live that tragedy will not be able to easily absorb my endorsement for the principle of using force to make the change.
Saddam and his gang knew nothing but force as a way to deal with my people and that's why using greater force was the only way that could get us out of the closed ring of despair, fear and organized violence that harvested the lives of more than two million Iraqis and made four other millions homeless, devastated the infrastructure and the economy and made Iraq among the poorest countries on earth, ruined the planet's most fertile lands and divided the sons of the one nation with his racist and sectarian conflicts-provoking policies.
A comparison is essential to understand what's going on; I don't care about what's being repeated by the media, I talk only about the facts I see everyday and not only today; my eyes are wide opened to the future of Iraq several years from now.
Iraq is definitely better nowadays than it was under Saddam despite all the sacrifices we had to give in the last 24 months and even by considering the body count (that I hate to mention) I see that Operation Iraqi Freedom has preserved too many human lives that could've been lost to the injustice and brutality of Saddam.
Like most Iraqis, I don't want Iraq to go back to the days of Saddam; nothing can match the freedom that we won. And let's not forget that most of the Iraqis who lost their lives in the last two years were victims of terrorism not the military operation itself. . .
The bad side effects of the liberation stand small when compared with what we have suffered from under Saddam's regime or when compared with what the progress that has been achieved since the liberation.
Saying that the post-liberation years have brought the worst to Iraq is a mere joke and carries all the signs of mental disorders or total ignorance.
I believe that those who are looking for a legal justification for the war on Saddam should take a look at the crimes that are being committed by oppressive regimes all over the world; dictators ruling with fire and steel taking legitimacy from the 'Pathetic Nations' and the international laws that bless the bloody hands of tyrants that are rejected by their desperate people. . .
What kind of ethics stands behind this?
Silence and stagnation are the qualities of the helpless who would prefer pain and humiliation over the change for the better.
Humanity will not evolve without daring bravery in judging and rejecting the dark past and looking forward to changing the old ways.
All new ideas and ways were fiercely fought and called the worst names but the greatness of mankind lies in its love for progress.
Survival and development were always the outcome of taking the move not standing still and accepting what already exists.
We need to change the concepts and ways that no longer serve our problems and dreams. The old pillars of legitimacy and law are no longer representative of these values because they let crimes take place under the noses of the protectors of law and justice.