This year, despite numerous terrorist attacks, more than eight million Iraqis exercised their right to choose their government. Many voted for the first time, and will do so again later this year when they are asked to approve or reject a new constitution.
Terrorists are failing in other places as well. President George W. Bush says, "Many governments have awakened to the dangers":
"Pakistani forces captured more than one-hundred extremists across the country last year, including operatives who were plotting attacks against the United States. . . . .German authorities arrested extremists who were planning attacks against U.S. and coalition targets in Iraq. . . .The Philippines' new Anti-Terrorism Task Force has helped capture more than a dozen terrorist suspects. . . .Poland is leading a fifteen-nation multi-national division in Iraq, and forces from twenty-three countries have given their lives in the struggle against terrorists and insurgents in Afghanistan and Iraq."
The United States, says Mr. Bush, is committed "to help change the conditions that give rise to extremism and terror, especially in the broader Middle East":
"Parts of that region have been caught for generations in a cycle of tyranny and despair and radicalism. When a dictatorship controls the political life of a country, responsible opposition cannot develop, and dissent is driven underground and toward the extreme. And to draw attention away from their social and economic failures, dictators place blame on other countries and other races, and stir the hatred that leads to violence."
"This status quo of despotism and anger cannot be ignored or appeased," says Mr. Bush. "By now it should be clear that authoritarian rule is not the wave of the future. It is the last gasp of a discredited past."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States government.