So everybody (and by everybody I mean Tim Blair
, Sean Gleason
and Mudville Gazette
) is talking about the For Iraq photo project
. Mostly, they are making fun of it, and rightfully so. In fact, I'll be making fun of it through the magic of Photoshop soon enough. But I do think we need to address this in a serious manner, first.
FOr those who haven't seen it yet, the Iraq Photo project is a group of bleeding heart liberals who scrawl heartfelt sentiments to the Iraqi people on cardboard and take photos of themselves holding the signs. And then:
bq. On October 20 in Washington D.C
., we will be presenting our collected photographs of ordinary Americans expressing their feelings to media organizations for broadcast and publication in Iraq.
Now, at first blush you might think this is a wonderful idea. Showing the Iraqi people that we are rejoicing in their emerging freedom and share their happiness at no longer having to live under Saddam's rule - wow. But it doesn't exactly play out like that. What we have here are apologists. Example:
[click for bigger]
Let me insert something here, written by Zeyad at Healing Iraq.
Remember that you are completely blocked from the outside world, you only read newspapers and books allowed by the government, the rest are censored. You only watch state-sponspored tv channels. Websites that are 'unacceptable' are blocked by state-sponspored Internet providers. The government tells you that 'this is for your own good', they protect you from 'the other' which is trying to poison your thoughts, undermine your faith, and destroy your traditions. Your fellow countrymen who inadvertently step over the lines are strictly 'punished' by the state because they have become 'spies' and 'agents'. Anyone else who dares to ask for more liberties, reforms, who criticises or acts against the ruler/government/state is an enemy acting on behalf of Zionists and imperialists, or is part of a grand plan (that has been planned for centuries) against 'the revolution' or the historical role of the ummah/Caliph/Sultan/ruler/government/state.
The above situation is not out of George Orwell's 1984, it is what all Iraqis for the last 50 years had to endure.
Perhaps the good people of the Iraq photo project could go tell Zeyad that they are sorry he and his family no longer have to live like that.
Here's one of my favorites
. The sign reads: We hold no hatred for the Iraqi people.
Who does? Are they saying that those of us who are pro-war or the administration itself hates Iraqis? You can read a whole lot into one sentence and I'm sure this nice old couple really believes that our soldiers are over there fighting because we hate the citizens of Iraq.
The sign reads: We apologize for the suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people in our name.
Great, we'll pass that message onto Alaa, who says:
bq. Hail our true friends, the Great People of the United States of America
; The Freedom giving Republic, the nation of Liberators. Never has the world known such a nation, willing to spill the blood of her children and spend the treasure of her land even for the sake of the freedom and well being of erstwhile enemies.
I would like to know how the good people of Ohio who express the sentiments know just how the Iraqi people feel? Have they gone their to visit with them? Talked to them? Asked them at all? Or do they just know what their liberal brethren relay to them through the wonders of the internet and oh, so truthful sites like Indymedia and Iraq Body Count.
This one says
: We are all God's children. Forgive us.
Forgive us. For this -
bq. Today we were freed
for ever from the fear that a man and his family might once again control Iraq.
Is that what you are sorry for?
These people are ashamed
. They beg forgiveness.
bq. There are so much potential
for Iraq as a country not to mention the people of Iraq. Now they have tasted some freedom they will never let go of it, I am certain of that. I am extremely optimistic about the new government and the new Iraq.
Is that what they are sorry for? Takes balls to apologize for bringing people out of a brutal regime.
I'm not going to sit here and tell you that the war in Iraq is without its problems. Yes, I am aware of the deaths of the innocent. But the people involved in this photo project make it appear, with their words, as if we just woke up one day and decided to go kill us some Iraqis. For sport. We are not a barbaric nation. Our intentions are good. And someday, hopefully soon, our intentions will be fulfilled.
Look at the picture of the child here.
That child, living under Saddam's regimne, was dying from hunger. Would the folks who made those signs prefer this is the way it was left? Yes, children have died in the war. But there are 80,000 children in Iraq right now who are looking at a better future because we are liberating them. You want to see signs? Look at these signs seen in Iraq. Read the good news from Iraq here
. There are eleven parts of this series so far. Eleven long pieces about the good news from Iraq. That's a lot of good news.
But the people who want to apologize on behalf of the U.S. don't see that. In their complete arrogance, they overlook the amazing steps towards freedom that the citizens of Iraq are taking. It has not been easy and there are hard days ahead of them. But the members of the coalition are there to help them along, to build schools and hospitals, to train new police forces, to weed out the insurgents and terrorists who fear democracy.
And yet there are people ashamed of that progress. There are people ashamed that we have taken it upon ourselves to help an oppressed nation help themselves towards a brighter future not just for Iraq, but for the Middle East.
Perhaps those people are sorry for what the U.S. government has done
, but they do not represent all of us. I certainly am sorry it was not a smooth, death-free process, but war never is. And without this war, the people of Iraq would still be being starved, killed, tortured, raped or just ignored by their own government. And they would be living without hope, which is something they certainly have now. You cannot build a good future without that hope and if that is what we have brought them, then I, for one, am not sorry.
I am just sorry that there are American people who wish Iraq was still the way it was when Saddam was in power. These are the same class of people who want to end the war and pull the troops out now, leaving the Iraqis to fend for themselves against the warlords and terrorists who want to keep democracy at bay. Perhaps they should apologize to the hopeful citzens of Iraq for that