Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Who Is Iraq's George Washington?

Every nation has a hero, whether mythical or historic, who symbolically sums up the nation's pride, purpose and personality.

--The United States has its George Washington.

--Numerous countries in South American have Simon Bolivar.

--England has its Winston Churchill (as a contemporary icon).

--Scotland its William Wallace, Robert Bruce and John Knox.

--Every world religion, as well, has their founder and "saints."

But what about the emerging democratic and free nation of Iraq? Who will one day be their George Washington?

Who will they honor with a statue in the town square?

Who will personify their overthrow of Saddam Hussein and their victory over murderous terrorism?

Who will be the lynch-pin that rises above sectarian differences and becomes the leader, respected and trusted by all sides and who inspires others to rise above their differences and sacrifice for the good of the nation as a whole?

I submit that there is, at the moment, no one who remotely stands in such a place of stature at this critical moment of Iraqi history.

When the textbooks are written, what will they say?

While we stood by, powerless and oppressed, the United States invaded our country and cast off the yoke of the dictatorial tyrant Saddam Hussein and his evil Baathist Party.

After the Americans (assisted by the British in the south) created some semblance of security, rich and educated Iraqis who had lived outside of Iraq for many years were flown back into Iraq by the United States. These men, hand-picked by American military and CIA operatives, soon coalesced to form the nucleus of our emerging government.

While many Iraqi men signed up to serve in our new armed forces and police units, it was the United States who screened them, trained them, paid them and, for a time, actually led them in missions against the insurgent terrorists.

While many Iraqi civilians and police officers were killed in terrorist attacks and others killed in crossfire between American troops and Al Qaeda operatives, it was the American soldiers who bore the heaviest burden to secure our freedom.

These soldiers, with the help of foreign civilians paid by the United States, literally rebuilt our country from the bottom, hiring and training Iraqi citizens to take over the management, maintenance and operation of the many components of the new and technologically advanced industrial, economic, educational, security and utilitarian infrastructure.

Our interim government was protected by American troops who also oversaw the logistics and successful completion of our first, free national election in decades. The men and women who we elected to our new parliament eventually framed a new constitution for Iraq. They did so in the area of Baghdad called the "Green Zone" which was a safety area secured by hundreds of American soldiers.

We are a proud people and we salute the brave and visionary leadership of (
fill in the blank) who inspired us and who heroically stood head and shoulders above everyone else during this most difficult period of our nation's new, emerging history.

This mentor and role-model for our nation will always be revered as the Father/Mother of a democratic Iraq.

How inspiring this will be! How Iraqi hearts will fill with pride as they remember how they stood by and watched as the United States freed them and paid the price in money, material and blood for the freedom we enjoy today

The Iraqis will stand tall as they remember that they were completely unable to achieve this by themselves.

How, I ask, can a nation become forged into unity of vision when they do not have either a George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, Paul Revere, John Adams, John Hancock or even a Patrick Henry?

Al-Sistani the "Father of Iraq?" Al-Sadr? Chalabi?

A genuine nation evolves like the Beatles, through strong will, hard work, trial and error, vivid personalities, personal sacrifice, good luck and gifted talent.

The emerging Iraq appears to be more like the Monkees.