Iraq: A turning point in world history?
Recently, the conservative Heritage Foundation polled its supporters on Iraq. And, while the results are not surprising, they illustrate the wide gap between similar polls conducted by the Sinistra Media and by left-wing groups like People for the American Way.
Here are the poll results: Do you think U.S. troops should stay in Iraq until the Iraqi government and army can defend the country against terrorists? Yes: 89%. No: 4%. Do you think an early withdrawal of American troops from Iraq would hurt our national security? Yes: 90%. No: 5%. Do you think the media are biased in favor of the anti-war movement, and against President Bush? Yes: 89%. No: 4%. Do you think liberal Members of Congress are hurting our fight against terrorism by their campaign to weaken and discredit President Bush? Yes: 96%. No: 3%.
This perception gap comes at a turning point in the survival of western civilization. In her latest book, The Great Transformation, historian, Karen Armstrong, writes: “Perhaps every generation believes that it has reached a turning point in history, but our problems seem particularly intractable and increasingly uncertain.” Yes, Professor Armstrong, our intractable problem is that a bunch of fanatics are trying to acquire the means to blow the United States and its allies to smithereens.
But, there is reason for hope. Despite downplay by the Sinistra Media, breathtaking achievements have taken place in Iraq and in pockets here and there across the Middle East and South Asia. For the first time in history, the Iraqi people (Shia, Sunni and Kurds), have taken part in (not just one, but three), democratic elections to form a popularly elected government that is Jeffersonian in form, if not yet in actual practice.
As President Bush promised from the git-go (western expression), as the new government of Iraq stands up, American forces will stand down. So, the next 12 to 18 months will, indeed, be the turning point. Not just in Iraq, but around the globe. Unfortunately, the anti-war movement and the Sinistra Media have beaten down the American public to the point that 12 to 18 months are about all the time the Bush Doctrine has left to either succeed or fail.
Turn on the nightly news and one gets the impression that all 18 of Iraq’s provinces are going up in flames. Actually, the terrorist violence is pretty much confined to just Baghdad and to Anbar Province.
So, let’s put the violence in Baghdad in perspective. Recently, Republican Congressman Steve King of Iowa was wondering how Iraqi civilians could tolerate the level of violence we see and hear on our nightly news. So, Rep. King did some research that produced some rather interesting results.
On an annualized basis, Rep. King found that the per capita, civilian, violent-death rate per 100,000 residents in St. Louis is: 31.4. In Atlanta: 34.9. In Baltimore: 37.7. In Detroit: 41.8. In Washington, D.C.: 45.0.
By contrast, in Baghdad, the civilian, per capita, violent-death rate per 100,000 residents is: 27.51. So, if the violent-death rate in our nation’s capital is 45.0 and in the Iraqi capital the violent-death rate is 27.51, logic would suggest that the residents of D.C. would be safer if they moved to Baghdad.
Wrong. Simple addition suggests that Baghdad’s violent-death rate would then increase to 72.5. Moreover, that would mean the violent death-rate in Baghdad, which is under terrorist attack, would be even greater than the pre-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans’ violent-death rate of 53.1 per 100,000 residents.
Now, consider that -- post-Katrina -- the violent-death rate in Houston, where so many of the New Orleans refugees have settled, is double what it was prior to Hurricane Katrina. Before long, you might conclude that people, more than weapons, determine levels of violence.
Therefore, if the Iraqi government and Coalition forces are allowed enough time to rid Baghdad of bad people (terrorists), we just might reach a positive turning point in world history.
William Hamilton, a syndicated columnist, a featured commentator for USA Today and self-described “recovering lawyer and philosopher,” is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – two thrillers about terrorism directed against the United States.
©2006. William Hamilton.