Thursday, April 09, 2009

April 9, 2003 -- April 9, 2009


Today is April 9, 2009, six years from the day on which American forces entered Firdus Square in Baghdad and helped the Iraqi citizens pull down the statue of Saddam Hussein. Over at Eye Raki, Hayder offers thanks to those who have stood strong over the last six years:
Many people deserve praise for turning Iraq into what it is today; The coalition soldiers whose blood has been shed on Iraqi soil and mixed with the blood of Iraqi policemen and soldiers fighting a common enemy. The Iraqi politicians who had many sleepless nights trying their best to make sure Iraq does not free fall to disaster on their watch. Perhaps no one deserves more praise than the people of Iraq who are truly the unsung hero's of this tragic story. Hopefully a story that will have a happy ending. They sacrificed for their family and they sacrificed for their country. They stood strong against foreign powers and today the message is as clear and strong as ever. A new Iraq was born in 2003 and it is here to stay.
Over the last six years, starting with Salam Pax, we've heard from many Iraqis who, if Saddam Hussein were still in power, would never have been allowed to voice their opinions openly. The last six years, as Hayder alludes to, have also seen many enemies of democracy try to destroy the new Iraq that was trying to pull itself from decades of dictatorship. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, the Sunni Baathists, and the Shia militants all took the lives of many Iraqi civilians in their hopes of scuttling the formation of a democratic Iraq. They almost succeeded. Although there are many factors that lead to today's relative peace and hope for the future in Iraq, President Bush's decision to follow General Petraeus's counter-insurgency plan, despite many around him, including Senator Obama, urging quick departure, must be given the most weight.

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From the student union at Qom Qommunity Qollege in Iran, Muqtada Al-Sadr called on Iraqis to protest the presence of American troops in Iraq. In fact, he called for a "million man" march. But, as Iraq Pundit writes today ("Viva Mookiestan?"), instead of a million, it looks like only a few thousand showed up:
To mark the anniversary, Moqtada called for a million man [Arabic] march. From the cosy comfort of Iran, he sent word that people should protest the U.S. presence in Iraq. And though the BBC reports say tens of thousands turned out for the demonstration, Iraqi reports say thousands showed up. Whatever the number, it was not a million.
By the way, I really wish I knew how to Photoshop. If I did, I'd put huge QQQ letters across Muqtada's belly.

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