Second Inaugural Address (Part 2)

Second Inaugural Address,” spoken by George W. Bush, 2005 Presidential Inauguration, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,144976,00.html, 20 January 2005.

Welcome back!

The next line is what caused me to stop in the first part. Bush obviously shifts to Iraq, and I needed to think a bit if I wasn’t going to ignore it. So I walked to the post office and found my lost sunglasses, and now.. back to blogging!

President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Not the Reagan Doctrine… but Better
The Reagan Doctrine
The All-Consuming Fire

The paragraph is short, and the first sentence sets the stage for the second. Bush talks about American resolve on his watch. He is focusing on Iraq with sidelighting for North Korea. Iraq is split into two areas — Bush’s resolve in military matters and America’s resolve to change the nation.

Bush’s resolve is clear. The Iraq War has been a constant drain on his popularity, yet he has not distanced himself from it. During the campaign he went out of his way to associate himself with it, which cost him politically. Yet it did not cost him his office. Bush has showed them that he (and by extension any American President) can stand up to them. That America can take more than a thousand of fatalities and thousands of casualties and respond by attacking, attacking, attacking.

America also has resolve as a great power. America supports its friends and prosecutes its enemies. Condi Rice’s dual-track political-military strategy worked for this. When there was political troulbe in Iraq in April, the U.S. sought to accomodate its enemies. Muqtada al-Sadr was not arrested for murder, and Fallujah was not seized. This acted like a conditional amnesty: those that wished to established themself as friendly had an opportunity to do so.

Sadr responded by converting his organization into a political apparatus and making his base of power, Sadr City, as one of the happiest and safest places in the nation.

Sunnis responded by escalating their brutal and murderous civil war.

Now there is concrete proof that the Shia will ever benefit from this, while the Sunnis will be ever hurt. The U.S. is becoming increasingly pro-Shia, to the extent that it enables free movement of Iranians into Iraq. Baghdad, former home to the Sunni Caliphate, shall soon be the capital of a Shia state that looks forward to the return of the Occulted Imam. We had the resolve to rearrange the world to help those who help us.

The North Korea jab is also a shot at Kerry. DPRK made no secret that were hoping for a software, weaker, more islated Ameica under Kerry. They chose poorly. Now a U.S. Representative in Seoul publicly states that an invasion of North Korea (and implied “reeducation” of its leaders) by the People’s Republic wouldn’t be so bad. North Korea and the Ba’athists-Salafists messed with Texas.

My most solemn duty is to protect this nation and its people against further attacks and emerging threats. Some have unwisely chosen to test America’s resolve, and have found it firm.

A bifurcated paragraph. Point one establishes the universality of freedom over all times and places. The second is a jab at Burma’s military government, an overzealous application of Sharia, and thuggery.

We will persistently clarify the choice before every ruler and every nation: The moral choice between oppression, which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right. America will not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude, or that any human being aspires to live at the mercy of bullies.

The greatest call for human rights from an American President since Jimmy Carter. However, note a persistent feature of Bush rhetoric. No mention of “human rights.” Instead, “human dignity.” This pre-dates 9/11. My impression is that Bush fears “human rights” have been coopted by Europeans and social liberals to mean a licentious and economically controlled society.

More importantly, we seek a structural change. Short-term government decrees of freedom do not serve our purposes. We want to establish free expression and the participation of the governed. He didn’t say democracy. Hong Kong and, historically, Muhammed’s Medina “consulted” the governed. Regimes don’t have to end. But they have to listen to their people and set themselves on the right track in the right direction.

States like Singapore and China which are growing structurally more free are models for others to follow. Egypt, Libya, and Iraq are on the right track by not censoring the internet. Uzbekistan, which temporarily grants freedom when it wishes, and Venezuela, which is dismantling it, should not think that their regimes will always be acceptable.

We will encourage reform in other governments by making clear that success in our relations will require the decent treatment of their own people. America’s belief in human dignity will guide our policies, yet rights must be more than the grudging concessions of dictators; they are secured by free dissent and the participation of the governed. In the long run, there is no justice without freedom, and there can be no human rights without human liberty.

We are living in a great democratic revolution. Since the 1960s Empires have been crumbling. Brtish, French, Portuguese, Dutch, and Soviet systems have crumbled. Likewise, tyrannies are unacceptable. There can be no permanent tyranny. (The paranoid will note that Leo Strauss warned of a permanent tyranny and what must be done to prevent it).

Some, I know, have questioned the global appeal of liberty – though this time in history, four decades defined by the swiftest advance of freedom ever seen, is an odd time for doubt. Americans, of all people, should never be surprised by the power of our ideals. Eventually, the call of freedom comes to every mind and every soul. We do not accept the existence of permanent tyranny because we do not accept the possibility of permanent slavery. Liberty will come to those who love it.

To the hopeless: we are on your side. No nation is more of a “hopeless tyranny” than North Korea. The next few sentences are meant to scare regime leaders.

Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world:

All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.

About ten percent of North Korean flag officers have defected to either the People’s Republic or the United States since Bush took office. They are a military government in exile. Note the mention to prison….

Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: the future leaders of your free country.

And what are the plans of our friends, those leaders in exile?

The rulers of outlaw regimes can know that we still believe as Abraham Lincoln did: “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves; and, under the rule of a just God, cannot long retain it.”

“Ruh roh.” War is not inevitable. But it requires systemic changes in government. These will not be easy — new habits have to be learned. And it means the end of autarcky. Because we will be escorting them. Immediate and total change is not necessary. But the journey must be begun.

The leaders of governments with long habits of control need to know: To serve your people you must learn to trust them. Start on this journey of progress and justice, and America will walk at your side.

Free societies must attack their enemies together. When I heard this, I thought of George Soros’ Open Society Institute. While there is internal deliberation about the best course of action, the U.S., the E.U., and OSI worked together to bring democracy to George and the Ukraine. This effort should continue.

And all the allies of the United States can know: we honor your friendship, we rely on your counsel, and we depend on your help. Division among free nations is a primary goal of freedom’s enemies. The concerted effort of free nations to promote democracy is a prelude to our enemies’ defeat.

President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Not the Reagan Doctrine… but Better
The Reagan Doctrine
The All-Consuming Fire

Second Inaugural Address (Part 1)

Second Inaugural Address,” spoken by George W. Bush, 2005 Presidential Inauguration, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,144976,00.html, 20 January 2005.

Possibly, the greatest inaugural address in American history. I will try to comment on all of it. Here is the first section, from the opening formalities to the promise of a multigenerational struggle.

President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Not the Reagan Doctrine… but Better
The Reagan Doctrine
The All-Consuming Fire

Formalities

Vice President Cheney, Mr. Chief Justice, President Carter, President Bush, President Clinton, reverend clergy, distinguished guests, fellow citizens:

On this day, prescribed by law and marked by ceremony, we celebrate the durable wisdom of our Constitution, and recall the deep commitments that unite our country. I am grateful for the honor of this hour, mindful of the consequential times in which we live, and determined to fulfill the oath that I have sworn and you have witnessed.

America’s past and present struggles

At this second gathering, our duties are defined not by the words I use, but by the history we have seen together. For a half century, America defended our own freedom by standing watch on distant borders. After the shipwreck of communism came years of relative quiet, years of repose, years of sabbatical – and then there came a day of fire.

Read closely — the source of our problems is not ideology. While we struggle against Ba’athism, Salafism, etc, they are not our ultimate enemy. Our true enemy is the cause of those ideas. The true enemy will ignore any border, no matter how closely guarded. Our true weapon is human freedom.

We have seen our vulnerability – and we have seen its deepest source. For as long as whole regions of the world simmer in resentment and tyranny – prone to ideologies that feed hatred and excuse murder – violence will gather, and multiply in destructive power, and cross the most defended borders, and raise a mortal threat. There is only one force of history that can break the reign of hatred and resentment, and expose the pretensions of tyrants, and reward the hopes of the decent and tolerant, and that is the force of human freedom.

The solution may be radical, but we are not revolutionary. We are not leading events — events are leading us. And our reactive strategy is connectedness. The struggle for the entire world was not started by us, and is thus a war of self defense.

We are led, by events and common sense, to one conclusion: The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the success of liberty in other lands. The best hope for peace in our world is the expansion of freedom in all the world.

Our reactive war for the entire world is… ideological. In other words, this Global War on Terrorism must transcend realist principles. Short term safety, natural resources, even allies have to be submitted to the overwiding goal of human freedom. If the Cold War was a war against an ideology, the Global War on Terrorism is a war for an ideology.

Human freedom also entails no “American Empire” on the order of the British one. We shall not rule. We are establishing global conditions for minimal rule.

America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our Founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the Maker of Heaven and earth. Across the generations we have proclaimed the imperative of self-government, because no one is fit to be a master, and no one deserves to be a slave. Advancing these ideals is the mission that created our Nation. It is the honorable achievement of our fathers. Now it is the urgent requirement of our nation’s security, and the calling of our time.

Note every nation and culture, and the use of democratic movements and not “democracy.” The struggle entails both ending hells like North Korea and improving nominal allies like Ukraine.

So it is the policy of the United States to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world.

We will fight in what Dr. Barnett calls “war in the context of everything else.” Peaceful efforts, such as expanding free trade and supporting democratic initiatives will be focused on more than war.

It also means that human freedom triumphs over liberal society. A clerical Shia Iraq is acceptable as long as it is a free Iraq. Likewise, an artificially western yet unfree society, say the old Shah’s Iran, is unacceptable.

This is not primarily the task of arms, though we will defend ourselves and our friends by force of arms when necessary. Freedom, by its nature, must be chosen, and defended by citizens, and sustained by the rule of law and the protection of minorities. And when the soul of a nation finally speaks, the institutions that arise may reflect customs and traditions very different from our own. America will not impose our own style of government on the unwilling. Our goal instead is to help others find their own voice, attain their own freedom, and make their own way.

The global struggle is similar to the Cold War in scope. It will not be won in any one theatre. It is huge.

The great objective of ending tyranny is the concentrated work of generations. The difficulty of the task is no excuse for avoiding it. America’s influence is not unlimited, but fortunately for the oppressed, America’s influence is considerable, and we will use it confidently in freedom’s cause.

President Bush’s Second Inaugural Address
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4
Not the Reagan Doctrine… but Better
The Reagan Doctrine
The All-Consuming Fire

Peers v. Commons

‘Blogging’ Stirs Controversy in Iran,” VOA News, http://english.chosun.com/w21data/html/news/200501/200501170008.html, 17 January 2005.

Ayatollah revives the death fatwa on Salman Rushdie,” by Philip Webster, Ben Hoyle and Ramita Navai, The Times, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1448279,00.html, 20 January 2005 (from Fark).

Iran is a lot like Britain a century ago. An out of touch elite controls one body of council (The House of Lords / The Guardian Council) while everyone else wants to live their lives.

A fatwa against the author Salman Rushdie was reaffirmed by Iran’s spiritual leader last night in a message to Muslim pilgrims.

The Foreign Office said: “The key thing from our point of view is that the Iranian Government formally withdrew their support for the fatwa on Salman Rushdie in 1998 which is when Britain and Iran formally upgraded their relationship to the level of ambassador.” A senior official said: “The original fatwa was issued by Ayatollah Khomeini shortly before he died. It can only be rescinded by the man who issued it or a higher authority so in practice it will hold indefinitely.

“Almost every time that the current supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, gives a sermon he mentions Salman Rushdie in these terms and denounces him as a man who has insulted the name of the Prophet and who can therefore be killed. It’s just the standard rhetoric.

Kill Rushdie again? Oh Grandpa…

Meanwhile, in the realit-based community

A battle is raging within Iran’s political leadership over a form of Internet communication known as a blog, a “weblog” that combines a publicly accessible online personal diary and a guide to other links on the World Wide Web. Some elements of the Iranian government have been supportive of the free and rapid development of blogging in Iran, while hard-liners in the Judiciary are trying to figure out how to control it.

Hossein Derakhshan, 30, is an Iranian who emigrated to Canada four-years ago. In 2002, he developed a simple way for people to use Persian language on the Internet, which led to the creation of an independent service in Tehran called Persianblog.com.

“After few months, Persianblog.com launched its service and started with a fully Persian interface, in very simple language, to help Iranian people to start blogging. And it was a turning point for the Iranian blogosphere because, thanks to the ease of service and the easy interface of Persianblog.com, many, many people who were not very familiar with technical issues on the Net were able to start blogging.”

Persianblog.com estimates there are now as many as 70,000 active Persian language blogs, both inside and outside Iran. These sites had basically been allowed to operate freely, until Iran’s Judiciary began an Internet crackdown several-months ago.

The apparent targets, according to Mr. Derakhshan, are blogs and websites with political content. But he says most of the Persian language blogs did not start out focusing on political issues.

A lot of them are just tools to facilitate dating, which is very important now in Iran, because there are not official dating services, or any official easy way for young people to socialize and to find new friends, new dates, and stuff like that,” he noted.

Mr. Derakhshan says the Judiciary’s attempt to block access to several of the main blogging services used by Iranians, such as Persianblogger.com, blogspot.com and blogger.com, means that many of the existing blogs are turning political, even when they did not start out that way.

The Iranian Judiciary sounds a lot like Ashcroft’s Justice Department. Authoritarian? Yup. Way more strict in their religion than almost anyone else? Yup. Nightmarish goons like Saddam or Kim? Not by a long shot.

Kurdish Kirkuk

The Future of Tamin Province and the Future of Iraq,” by Spencer Ackerman, Iraq’d, http://www.tnr.com/blog/iraqd?pid=2501, 20 January 2005.

Great, great, great news out of Iraq.

One of the tragedies of Ba’athi rule was the ongoing ethnic cleansing programs instituted by Saddam. Ancient cities, including the Kurdish city of Kirkuk, were cleared of Kurds are “Arabized.” In great, great, great news, the Iraqi government has announced that Kurds returning to Kirkuk can vote in the upcoming elections.

This all but guarantees the Kirkuk will eventually be the capital city of a future Kurdistan

THE FUTURE OF TAMIM PROVINCE AND THE FUTURE OF IRAQ: It’s looking more and more like the most important election on January 30 won’t be the one that determines control of Baghdad. It’ll be the one that determines who controls the northern province of Tamim. And a decision by the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq makes that a foregone conclusion.

Tamim is the province that contains the multiethnic and oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which is claimed by Arabs, Turkmen and especially Kurds. The province has a population of about 1.2 million people, split roughly evenly between Arabs and Kurds. That equivalence, however, is in no small measure the result of Saddam Hussein’s genocide of the Kurds, which encouraged Arabs to move into formerly Kurdish areas. The Kurdish leadership, which routinely refers to Kirkuk as the Jerusalem of the Kurdish people, has as a first-tier objective the control of the city.

Control of the city is tied up in control of Tamim province. Since the invasion of Iraq, a delicate ethnic balance has held over the 40-seat provincial council: Fifteen seats have gone to the Kurds, eleven to Arabs, nine to Turkmen, and seven to Christians, with the remainder distributed amongst smaller factions. But also since the invasion, tens of thousands of Kurdish refugees have been returning to Kirkuk and the surrounding areas; in several cases, returning Kurds have in turn created Arab refugees. The electoral status of these refugees has been in question for months. Recently, the Kurdish leadership threatened to boycott the provincial election entirely unless their refugees were enfranchised in Tamim. This caused no end of bitterness among Kirkuk’s Turkmen and Arabs.

On Saturday, the Iraqi electoral commission, apparently deciding that the risk of a Kurdish boycott was unacceptable, announced a deal allowing up to 100,000 Kurdish refugees to vote in Tamim province. The deal effectively guarantees that the Kurds will dominate the Tamim council and the prized city it contains. And that, in turn, has massive implications for the future of Iraq: Under the Transitional Administrative Law, the final status of Kirkuk–that is, whether it is or isn’t part of Kurdistan–will be determined after the ratification of a permanent constitution and the holding of a census in the province and the city. That census is now guaranteed to show a Kurdish majority. As George Packer recently wrote in The New Yorker, what comes next is “a foregone conclusion”:

[T]he province of [Tamim] will vote to join the autonomous region of Kurdistan, and the city will go with it.

The article goes on with typically inane warnings of a civil war. There is a civil war on, now. Denying there is one, and preventing pro-democracy forces from achieving there due, is little more than pro-insurgent appeasement.

Europe on Red States

The American Scheme erm… I mean dream,” by Metin Danny Balli, et al, The Depixion, Metin Danny Balli, http://thedepixion.blogspirit.com/archive/2005/01/14/the_american_scheme_erm_i_mean_dream.html, 20 January 2005.

A fascinating discussion on the “red state phenomenon” on a blog hosted by a Britisher. It swings into UK politics a bit, but its very well worth checking out.

While at it check out Chad’s and my take on Red State welfare, or Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4 of my discussion of the President’s second inaugural address.

Aborting Democracy

The abortion battle was decided centuries ago,” by Chad M Schuldt, tdaxp, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2005/01/16/if_that_isn_t_right.html, 20 January 2005.

(Apologies to anyone experiencing problems with the site. BlogSpirit is acting up again. But as its free, I shouldn’t be complaining. 🙂 )

Chad believes we should not go back centuries on abortion laws

The abortion battle was decided centuries ago. There are going to be situations where women want to end pregnancies. It is unfortunate. Should we put them in jail? Their doctors? I say we work to make this tragedy as rare and as safe as possible instead of attempting to legislate morality.

We should not go back centuries. We should rejoin the world and outlaw infanticide. Some Europe abortion laws.

Britain – legal up to 24 week
Denmark – legal on demand through the 12th week.
Germany – legal only after counseling, which may come from a church, the Red Cross, of the government
Ireland – illegal
Italy – illegal after 12th week
Poland – legal only for strict medical reasons
Romania – legal through the 12th week.
Spain – legal up to 12 weeks in cases of rape, deformed baby, or danger to the mother’s life or mental health.
Switzerland – legal only to save the life of the mother

There’s a difference between legislating morality and legalizing infanticide. I personally oppose the murder of human beings, and bank robberies, burglary. I also believe those actions should be criminal.

None of these countries have the hysterics on either side we have, because their laws are generally agreed on by the people through their legislatures. In the United States, we suffered under a judicial tyranny that it may take a century get over. I oppose South Dakota’s proposed law as such, but I understand that such counterextremism is a natural byproduct of Warren’s murderous recklessness.

The World in Summary

India and Israel strengthen military ties.

Red China allows citizen to use and read TypePad blogs.

Vietnam applauds U.S. trade relations, but complains about rules regarding catfish-dumping.

Dozens die in another Salafist-Baathist terror bombing.

There is a growing, interconnected world that peacefully pursues trade, freedom, and democracy. Not everyone is at the same place, but everyone is on the right track.

While the tribal neo-Klansmen of Iraq kill people to drive out the world. To [re]impose a hateful tyranny on the masses who despire them.

We are fighting for the free world — for the globalized world. Our enemies fight against it.

The Customer Wins

Damascus prostitutes go to war,” Al Bawaba, http://www.albawaba.com/en/news/178725, 4 January 2005.

In a price war, the customer wins

The fall of Stalinist Iraq has disrupted the certain aspects of the Syrian service sector, as newly mobile Iraqis create a lower equilibrium wage

In recent months, the whores working in Damascus have complained about the “aggressive conquering” of their clientele by foreign workers. The market of whores, as well as other markets, has suffered due to the wave of immigration from neighboring Iraq.

Businesses often resort to FUD — fear, uncertainly, and doubt, to discourage competition. Globalization and expanding free trade means competitors can come from anywhere. “Microsoft Internet Explorer will give you viruses.” So will Iraqi Irene

In the past few months, a mini “world war” has been taking place between prostitutes in Syria: the many immigrants from Iraq have simply “stolen” the jobs of the local girls. However, the Syrian whores have decided not to surrender and have engaged in war by spreading rumors, claiming, “The immigrants are all sick with AIDS”.

Sadly, there are government failures. Well-intentioned government regulations prohibit often prevent true price competition. In the U.S. only licensed doctors can give certain advice. In Syria, only men can get prostitutes out of jail.

It seems that in one of the areas in which this business flourishes, a systematic system has been developed. Syrian or Iraqi pimps “marry” up to four whores (either from Syria, Iraq or Tunisia). In exchange for 10,000 dollars a year, the whores commit themselves to serve any client, anytime. In exchange, the pimp promises her that if she is arrested, he will release her after identifying himself to the police as her “husband”.

But the free market finds a way. Is pimpery becoming gender-neutral?

The Iraqi whores work in a few centers, according to reports. In the A-Thal neighborhood of Damascus, for example, one can find night clubs in which Iraqi and Syrian women perform sensual dances. According to the reports, one can even spot women in their 50s sitting by the stage smoking nargilas. Perhaps these are the mothers of the dancers that came to watch after their daughters or perhaps to mediate between their girls and the eager clients…

Wow. I got through that entire article without one comparison between Syria and John Ashcroft’s America!

Social Welfare

Democratic Underground is a wonderful site. Somewhere between the “Zarqawi is imaginary” rhetoric and hilarious hatred of Free Republic, it manages to come up with insightful comments. Below are three pulled from a discussion on social security. I agree (at least partially) with everyone one

When was the last time anyone felt proud to receive an SSI check?

means test and folks will be told by others that if they had pride they would leave the money for those that really need it.

Which hypocritical South Dakota Senator managed to provoke the greatest “anti-millionaire” campaign in the state since Steve Kirby lost last time, in spite of the fact that Janklow, Diedrich, and, er, everybody in South Dakota politics is either a millionaire or an aparatchick?

I heard Tom Dashle give an interview once and he bragged how his Mom uses medicare. I almost fell out of my fucking chair! He and his wife are millionaires!

Which party is on the wrong side of a demographic debacle, for short-term gain?

Then why is Ted Kennedy saying that….

there will have to be a 20% reduction in benefits?

…answer

The baby-boomers out number the gen-xers.

Which party supports a rich cabal?

The “dirty little secret” about age-based entitlements is that they generally benefit the rich. Eighty-seven percent of the wealth in this country (ie, real estate and securities) is owned by people 55 and above. And yet over two-thirds of government entitlements are going to the same folks. Do you lament that the rich are getting richer? The biggest culprit in increasing the disparity between rich and poor is the federal government, as they use our employment withholding to subsidize ocean view condos in Tampa Bay, plantation homes in Myrtle Beach and golf course haciendas in Sun City.

Sadr and Happier

Two Iraq cities await elections, Steven Komarow, USA Today, http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2005-01-11-cover-usat_x.htm, 11 January 2005 (from Chrenkoff through Iraq the Model).

Austin Bay Writes…,” by Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, http://instapundit.com/archives/020575.php, 19 January 2005.

As Iraq journeys to becoming a normal county, the Shia have realized: democracy means the end of Sunni tyrant. The Sunni have realized: democracy means the end of Sunni tyrannt.

Sadr City and Fallujah illustrate both the hopes and risks of Iraq’s march toward democracy. One place embraces the politicking; the other ignores it. One sees how a new government could benefit it; the other fears elections will lead to oppression or worse. As the vote approaches, one sees itself as a potential winner. The other’s already lost.

Ironically, through much of the U.S. occupation of the past 21 months, Fallujah and Sadr City have followed parallel paths. Although Fallujah is a Sunni Muslim enclave, a stronghold of deposed dictator Saddam Hussein, and Sadr City is dominated by the rival Shiite sect, both exploded into rebellion against the occupation.

Last April, there was open warfare in both places. Skirmishes raged into the early fall in both. U.S. military convoys regularly were ambushed and troops were killed in both. But then Sadr City’s and Fallujah’s paths diverged. The Shiites have begun embracing elections; many Sunnis fear them.

Now a U.S. officer, Brig. Gen. Jeffery Hammond of the 1st Cavalry Division, says Sadr City is the safest place in or around Baghdad. About 18,000 people have reconstruction jobs, he says, earning about $6 a day. “Sadr City is what the future of Iraq can look like,” he says.

Those who were once taking up arms are now talking democracy. “Before, the men were buying black cloth for their (martyrs’) banners. Now for the election, we are buying white cloths” for posters, says candidate Fatah al-Sheikh.

Now, who in American history do the Salafists-Islamists remind you of…

Craig Henry: “How are the ‘insurgents’ in Iraq different from the KKK in Mississippi circa 1963? And aren’t the nameless election workers who are dying everyday in Mosul and Baghdad heroes like Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner?”

Yes, and there were even people calling the Klansmen “patriots” and comparing them to the Minutemen.

The tDAxp eXPerience