Thursday, September 23, 2004

Iraq and Fallujah are not interchangable

Or, in the exact words of Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi today in the Rose Garden Press Conferance:
You cannot substitute 'Fallujah' for 'Iraq'.

He went on to explain that the city is a small part of the country as a whole. The President supported this in a previous statement that there are "25 million people" in Iraq, the "vast majority" of whom want to live in peace.

Also, PM Allawi just said there are 18 provinces in Iraq, and of those 18, 14 to 15 are completely safe, and he goes on to list them.

Earlier in the week, Hugh Hewitt posted an email from a Marine office who had just returned form Iraq. That officer commented on just this topic (emphasis added by me):
In the wake of all the unbelievable things that are being said about this war right now in the media, I thought that I might pass along a couple of things that won't make it to the news.

First, I would like to remind you all about the actual size of this country. It is roughly the size of California. Baghdad is the biggest city with a population of about 6 million, so it is a little bit bigger than Los Angeles. The reason why I tell you that is because the media is leading you all to believe that this entire country is "tumbling into complete chaos." Please don't believe that! What is happening in Baghdad and parts of Fallujah and Sammarah (A combined total population of 7 million) does not reflect what is being done around the whole country. It reminds me of the time when I was stationed at Fort Ord, CA early on in my Army career. I was talking to a friend of mine from back east and she said, "Don, are you alright? I mean, are you safe?"

A little puzzled, I replied, "Yeah, I'm fine, why do you ask? "

"Well, I heard about all the violence that is happening lately in Los Angeles and I wanted to know that you were OK," she said.

"Uh, thanks, " I said with a smile that must have went right through the phone. "You do know that Los Angeles is almost 350 miles away right?"

But she had never been to California. To her it was all the same. But ask a person who lives in Northern California and they will tell you that their part of the state is VERY different from Southern California.

And the same is true in Iraq. What is happening in Baghdad does not reflect what is happening in Southern Iraq where the UK brigade are continuing to "win the hearts and minds" of the people in Al Basrah and Al Hillah. Or ask my friend Jake who is stationed near An Nasiriyah. In one of his emails to me, he sent me a picture of him riding on a camel and this statement, "Here's me doing some crazy stuff with some of the locals. They are great people and so friendly. 90% of this country are people like these who simply want a safe country to live in."

That's a big quote, but it's an important point. Iraq is a big place. We may say that America is in a bad situation because of the violence that goes on in many big cities (and even small towns) each and every day, but we would never say it's "a mess" in the sense that people are saying Iraq is. We would never say that we should Abandon democracy in America because it must not be working if people are killing other people.

Iraq wants to live in freedom. "It is tough work" as President Bush just said, but "we will complete our mission."
The Free Nations of the World are trying to help Iraq live in Freedom, and we should continue to do so.