Embedding With the Enemy
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VFF Guest Authors- Young Governments

Young Governments

Ben Hayden
Vets for Freedom

When we are teaching a young child to walk, we don’t let the child run before they have the concepts of walking. In the same manner, when developing a democracy, we can’t let a new, young democracy take the reins and try to stand alone without the basics.

In light of new comments from Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki, it is time that we as Americans evaluate our stance on the situation in Iraq. On Monday, July 7th, Prime Minister Al-Maliki said that the Iraqi government was “looking at the necessity of terminating the foreign presence on Iraqi lands and restoring full sovereignty”. America needs understand that this does not mean an immediate withdraw of troops. This means that Iraq is becoming more and more stable every day, and that Iraq wants to start looking at being able to stand by themselves. As we bring the last of the surge troops home, we need to understand that this is already happening. Iraq continues to grow economically as they outspend us ten to one on major reconstruction projects. Their Armed Service numbers are increasing. Violence is at an all time low since 2004. This country, just five years ago, was under a fierce dictatorship that ruled by killing those that stood in its way, a régime that had killed millions of its own people. Today, Iraqi people are celebrating freedoms that they have never experienced. They can vote without fear of being tortured or killed. They can practice religions of their own choice, rather than that of their dictator.

So it should come as no surprise that Iraq wants to stand by themselves. Prime Minister Al-Maliki has used the idea of a time table when talking about the withdraw of troops from their country. America needs to understand that the Prime Minister is under intense political pressure. We expect Iraq to be able to run a government similar to ours. We need to understand that this will take time. Governments aren’t formed over night. As we use the term “time table” we need to understand that the withdraw of troops, the ability of Iraq to stand on it’s own two feet, will be based on the current situation on the ground. Should we leave too early, the new Iraqi government, the Iraqi military, and the Iraqi people stand no chance of being able to survive on their own against the regimes in the Middle East that want nothing more than to see them fail. Iraq has faced an uphill battle, not only in convincing the American people and American politics that the Iraqi people are worth the fight, but also in standing up against dictators in the area that want to take them out.

As we celebrated the Fourth of July this past weekend and were able to taste the sweet taste of freedom. We must continue to help the Iraqi people, so that they may one day be able to celebrate their own independence day.