Feb 29 2008
My hat is off to Angelina Jolie. Today she penned a very important article in the Washington Post which demonstrates you can be anti-war and still support continuing our efforts in Iraq. How is this possible? It seems so obvious once you read Jolie’s words. She notes we are working towards a lasting peace, which is the goal of the anti-war movement:
We have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance, from us and others, can have an impact.
The Iraqi families I’ve met on my trips to the region are proud and resilient. They don’t want anything from us other than the chance to return to their homes — or, where those homes have been bombed to the ground or occupied by squatters, to build new ones and get back to their lives. One thing is certain: It will be quite a while before Iraq is ready to absorb more than 4 million refugees and displaced people. But it is not too early to start working on solutions. And last week, there were signs of progress.
In Baghdad, I spoke with Army Gen. David Petraeus about UNHCR’s need for security information and protection for its staff as they re-enter Iraq, and I am pleased that he has offered that support. General Petraeus also told me he would support new efforts to address the humanitarian crisis “to the maximum extent possible” — which leaves me hopeful that more progress can be made.
UNHCR is certainly committed to that. Last week while in Iraq, High Commissioner AntÃ³nio Guterres pledged to increase UNHCR’s presence there and to work closely with the Iraqi government, both in assessing the conditions required for return and in providing humanitarian relief.
During my trip I also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has announced the creation of a new committee to oversee issues related to internally displaced people, and a pledge of $40 million to support the effort.
My visit left me even more deeply convinced that we not only have a moral obligation to help displaced Iraqi families, but also a serious, long-term, national security interest in ending this crisis.
As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.
It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.
Well said. If anyone is going to let their anger with George Bush or the GOP stop them from doing what is right for the 25 million Iraqis then all one can conclude is selfishness has overruled compassion. To do the right thing in Iraq has nothing to do with George Bush and the GOP (which I believe also did the right thing in Iraq). The enemy if Iraq is not Bush but Bin Laden’s butchers. And the victims of Bin Laden’s butchers are these innocent Iraqis.
Even if Iraq was the wrong target, al-Qaeda did decide to invade it and try to destroy us through criminal surrogates. Now the vast majority of Iraqis have changed their path and fight al-Qaeda while hoping for a peaceful and free future. Folks who don’t want to fight the terrorists don’t have to, they can work to build the peace that must follow if we are to save humanity. You don’t have to support war to build peace after a war. And maybe working together will forge a new understanding of the intentions of those who fight wars and those who fight against wars, just as Angelina Jolie has demonstrated.
Is it too late to nominate Jolie for the Democrat candidate? Trust me, this kind of pragmatic approach, which puts the goal over partisan interests, is the kind of middle ground that would sweep any candidate into the White House right now. Jolie is saying we can work together for a common cause. This is what America is yearning for – a way to work together to succeed in Iraq. It is a message that should not be dismissed. To do so is suicidal – it is that potent.
Update: To reinforce the suggestion that the political landscape is moving towards reconciliation here in America (as well as in Iraq) Pew has an interesting poll out showing Americans growing optimistic about Iraq and Afghanistan:
Who is not optimistic about Iraq? Mostly those on the farthest right and farthest left would be my guess. The poll results are broad and multi-faceted. They show the Surrendercrats and SurrenderMedia are losing the American people. And the more the left and right predict doom as progress proceeds the more foolish those predictions look, and those who make them. Word of note to those interested: Americans don’t elect those they perceive as fools.