Sunday, April 17, 2005

Iraq's New President Speaks

Courtesy of Harry's Place, here is a must-read article by Iraq's new president, Jalal Talabani:

For all the talk of Iraq as a "model" for the Middle East, we know that there are unique factors at play in building our federal, multi-ethnic democracy. Indeed, we do not seek to export our political ideas or experiences, a practice that has too often led to instability in the Middle East. Rather, we ask that the uniqueness of the Iraqi experience be recognized and our newly restored sovereignty respected. We will not allow the naysayers (who predict disaster awaiting us around every corner) and their companions in despondency, the apologists for despotism, to distract us with their uninformed comment from our vision of a democratic and equitable society: The rectification of past crimes and the binding up of the many wounds inflicted upon us by the Baathist regime -- these are matters for Iraqis alone.

We seek foreign assistance to help us develop our security forces and to partner with us as we try to further sustainable economic growth in our shattered country. We hope that the United Nations will live up to its ideals. The assistance provided by the U.N. during the recent elections was invaluable and an important step toward the return of this organization to Iraq. A continued and consistent U.N. engagement, which bolsters the new Iraq, will convince Iraqis to put aside their qualms about an organization that many of them identify with the previous Baathist regime.

A greater international role is important to lift some of the burden from the shoulders of the United States. Our gratitude to the American people is immense and we should never be embarrassed to express it. Time and again the U.S. has given the world its most precious resource in the cause of freedom, the lives of its most talented and courageous young men and women.

Now, the time has come for the rest of the world to recognize that a federal, democratic Iraq that can defend itself against terrorism is a goal worthy of broad international support. The victory of the new Iraq will be the triumph of freedom over hate, of decency over intolerance. Who would not want to share in such a worthy campaign?

The world is simply a better place with this man as president of Iraq. I wish him and his people success in their difficult struggle.


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