Today, a U.S.-led coalition is fighting to defend the world from the potentially catastrophic combination of an outlaw state, weapons of mass destruction, and terrorism. “In the process,” said U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, the U.S. is “liberating the Iraqi people from a ruthless tyranny that has showed utter contempt for human life”:
“We are resolved to help the Iraqi people achieve a united and stable country and move toward democracy and prosperity under a representative government that respects the rights of all of its citizens. Saddam Hussein’s regime is a classic illustration of the fact that such regimes which ruthlessly violate the rights of their citizens tend to pose the greatest threats to international peace and stability.”
In contrast, states that demonstrate a high degree of respect for human rights are most likely to contribute to the security and well-being of their citizens and to international stability. As Mr. Powell put it, “Where human rights and freedoms flourish, terrorists and tyrants do not thrive, and conflict and chaos do not reign”:
“America’s democratic values, our national interest and our obligations to the international community demand that the defense and promotion of human rights are an integral and active part of our foreign policy.”
The best way to protect human rights is to establish a democratic political system. As President George W. Bush said, success in Iraq could have positive effects on the region as a whole:
“The current Iraqi regime has shown the power of tyranny to spread discord and violence in the Middle East. A liberated Iraq can show the power of freedom to transform that vital region, by bringing hope and progress into the lives of millions.”
The first to benefit from a free Iraq will be the Iraqi people. And the future the Iraqi people choose for themselves will be far better than the nightmare world of Saddam Hussein.