The terrorist attacks against coalition forces, aid workers, and Iraqi civilians make it clear that Iraq remains a dangerous place. But, says U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, “Such attacks can’t obscure the remarkable achievements of coalition forces and Iraqis themselves”:
“Plenty of good news and hope for the future among one of the most intelligent and able populations in the Middle East. Reports from the World Bank meetings in Doha a few weeks ago with the members of the new Iraqi cabinet said this may be one of the most talented and capable cabinets in any Arab country. Seeing the joy in the faces of people who have been freed from Saddam’s republic of fear underscores the courage and wisdom of President [George W.] Bush and [British] Prime Minister [Tony] Blair in acting to free those people from the ghastly prison in which they have lived for thirty-five years.”
But it is still dangerous in Iraq because there are people there who can’t stand the thought of living in a free and peaceful country ruled by the people. The Baathists try to create chaos and fear because they realize that a democratic Iraq will deny them the privileges they had under Saddam Hussein. The foreign terrorists are trying to create conditions of fear because they know that a rebuilt Iraq, with freely elected leaders, will serve as a model for the Middle East.
“It’s no surprise,” says Deputy Secretary of Defense Wolfowitz,” that the progress that is being made is itself the principal target”:
“In this [Ramadan], the holiest month of the Muslim year, they target progress in Iraq. They refuse to accept the reality of a free future. They take aim at the prospect of a country freed from their control, and moving to become an Iraq of, by, and for the Iraqi people.”
As Samir el-Amili, a Baghdad jeweler, told The New York Times newspaper, “We really feel good for the improvements in our lives. We got something very real from Saddam’s going.”