Great News!!!!!

Great news. I just read a number of stories celebrate the elections in Iraq. It truly is something to celebrate to start reading headlines like this. It has been a long and in many ways difficult road for our nation and for the people of Iraq, but these stories indicate to me that we have turned the corner. It truly is amazing what we have accomplished in eight years since the attack on our nation on 9/11. I am thankful to have played some small role in this incredible moment in history.

I have heard the United States described as the greatest experiment in the recorded hi
story of humanity, a grand experiment in democracy. Our own nation had many struggles forming a stable government following the Revolutionary War. Our first attempts met with failure in the Articles of Confederation. It took many years before we came together as a people centered around the Constitution. And it has taken 233 since our declaration of independence for the first African American to be elected president of our nation. 200+ years to get where we are. And countless lives. We saw major conflicts with major powers who tried to use military force to maintain their influence in this hemisphere from the war in 1812 with the British, our war with Spain and so forth. We fought our own internal cultural and political battles with a bloody and costly civil war. I walk the grounds where some of the first casualties were laid at Arlington as my duty station. We fought in and played an essential role in the world wide defense of liberty in two world wars.

On D-Day June 6, 1944 the allies landed 156,000 troops (50% of the number used in Iraq right now, landing in one small space in one short day). 11,590 aircraft provided support. (Interesting to know in light of the number of air craft the Air Force operates today and the number of aircraft we are requesting to continue to provide security.) In five days, 326,547 troops would land in France (about the same number as are in Iraq), and France was only one part of the entire war.
Allied casualties for D-Day (one single day) are estimated to be somewhat over 10,000. In addition, in April and May 1944 in operations to prepare for the invasion the Allied Air Forces of the day lost 12,000 men and 2,000 aircraft.

Why the history? Just a bit of contextualization for what has been done in Iraq, to reflect upon what has been accomplished. I am proud to be a member of our Armed Forces and very proud of the work that these men and women, most of whom are much younger than I, have done. I believe that 2007-2008 will go down as a significant turning point in the history of our world. Our own nation has struggled for 200+ years to create a true society of justice and liberty. Now democracy and liberty is taking root among a people long under the thumb of tyranny, so long that for time remembered submission was bred into them. But a people are waking to justice and to freedom.

It would be amazing to be able to read our history books in 50 years. But I can anticipate a bit of what they may sound like, when I think of how our history books read now about World War II. There are many parallels. When the Japanese, a martial militant culture at that time, attacked us by surprise and dealt us a grievous blow, our nation was struggling with a huge economic burden with the great depression still lingering. Freedom and democracy was directly threatened by those who would enslave and dehumanize people. The world stood at a brink, as it has done before, as it will likely do again, and as I believe does now. Freedom loving people rose, committed, went forth, and did what had to be done that liberty would prevail.

Imagine what our history books would read today if we as a nation then had said, our economy cannot support this war, it is not our fight, we can engage in some reduced action to secure our own nation behind our oceans. I wonder what our world would have looked like had FDR not said "today is a day that live in infamy" but had said: "in light our current economic conditions, we do not believe there is a military solution to this challenge, but the way forward is through negotiation for we do not have the money or the time and we would loose". But FDR did not say such. FDR said this:

No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.

And a generation rose, commited to liberty and service -- and changed the world.
I believe history will read in 50 years about this struggle in many parallel ways.

These two stories tell the tell.

Iraqi polls turnout was 51 per cent

And the phrase "war on terror" is being phased out. I think this story misses another point that could be playing a key role. We are winning. The terrorists are loosing. Insurgencies are notorious throughout the time of recorded history for being long and the most difficult types of conflict to win. But our young men and women in uniform, a military of volunteers and professionals, are winning. I am humbled and thankful to have the privilege of wearing the uniform with them, for adding some small part to support them in what they do, for having some small role in what was accomplished. When I stood and looked into the streets of Kirkuk several years ago, I could see changes already. Construction, commerce, children walking the street playing, families celebrating key life moments. I saw challenges. We had some attacks. But it was heartening when quite often the Iraqi's themselves took custody of the terrorists hiding in their midst. Liberty and justice cannot be contained.

In addition, a huge point of celebration, the stories indicate that the Iraqi's were responsible for their own security. Huge gains in security and capabilities have been made in the last few years thanks to all those who left home to serve in Iraq. The surge worked. Again, I'm not surprised. The Iraqi people are a noble people and our service men and women get the job done whether it be liberate Europe or liberate Iraq. Tyranny cannot stand when freedom, justice, service and unwavering resolve are united. The key word in our nation's monicker is not states, but "United".

The truth of the matter is this. People are people, each of us: black, brown, white no matter. Male female. We are every single one of us created in the image of God. People are people. People deserve to live in justice and in freedom. Responsibility to one another certainly. Individual liberty tempered with reasonable law administered with justice certainly. But free. The Iraqi's and other people I came to know who worked there from other lands, all wanted much the same as myself. To live my life without fear, to worship God, to provide for the needs of my family, and when life calls me onward to lay down with honor and be able to say my life was lived well. People are people. God bless them. I am thankful.