This picture is from a deeply moving article that ran in Thursday’s New York Times:
“This is all because of Saddam!” shrieked Ali Majid al-Shamali, in tears, as he waved his arms at the long rows of graves marked with metal signs, well over 1,000 of them. “My brother! My brother!”
He sat on the ground and stroked the dirt on the grave of his only brother, Walid, arrested in October, 1993. A man from another family at the graveyard tried to comfort him. “You lost only one person?” the man asked. “We lost eight here.”
Two women in black wailed. Both men started to cry.
These are heartbreaking anecdotes that have become increasingly common, as Iraqis begin to assess the human toll of two decades under Saddam Hussein.
Just last week, hundreds of Iraqis searching for long-lost relatives rushed to a highway underpass because they had heard rumors that it held a secret prison. Prior to that, Iraqis were seen digging in prison yards with their hands and shouting down a well in a desperate attempt to find loved ones imprisoned by Saddam.
Contrast these stories with the reaction of largely anti-war democratic activists on April 9th, the day Saddam’s statue fell in the center of Baghdad:
Lieberman used his opening statement to praise Saddam’s ouster. “As I saw that statue of Saddam Hussein falling in Baghdad, I could feel the hopes of the children of Iraq for a better life rising,” he said. On my recording of the event, one can just hear the faint sound of a lone pair of hands clapping slowly three times and then abruptly stopping, as if cowed into silence by the obvious lack of enthusiasm in the audience.
The crowd was considerably warmer toward Howard Dean, who said “We’ve gotten rid of [Saddam Hussein] and I suppose that’s a good thing,” and who later told CNN “we don’t know yet” whether we’re better off for having toppled Saddam.
Personally, it is difficult for me to contain the resentment I feel toward those who not only vociferously opposed the war, but also bitterly refuse to acknowledge, even today, that Iraqis will be better off with Saddam Hussein gone.
Today’s protestors are like the American Gentiles who opposed American involvement in World War II despite the atrocities being committed by Nazi Germany, clinging instead to their isolationist views and ignoring the broader ramifications of shirking responsibility.
Indeed, the contemporary political Left is alarmed not by human atrocities, but rather, by American power. And it is so blinded by its antipathy toward the Bush administration that it maintains, even today, that war under any circumstancesis “illegal, immoral and unnecessary.”
The leftists who have thus far been proven wrong are looking past the images of liberation coming out of Iraq, instead fixating narrow-mindedly on the small detailsof a greater struggle (or falling silent altogether).
With its continued opposition to “the occupation,” the American Left has jettisoned any remaining element of humanism — humanism which might have allowed supporting American power that does good in the world while opposing those who currently wield it.
As Mary stated: “Support of the liberation of Iraq not ‘pro-war’ – it’s pro-civilization, anti-genocide. Saddam’s regime was a slaughterhouse – the peace activists knew it, and they weren’t willing to do a damned thing to stop it. … Someone said a while ago that the peaceniks lost their minds a long time ago. Now they’ve lost their hearts.”