Point/Counterpoint pt2

Tony Cox

‘Liberty’ is not a dirty word

When George W. Bush delivered his inaugural address Thursday, pundits the world over expressed astonishment at the far reach and idealism of his words. This is strange, however, as the president did not say anything radically deviant from the predominant message of his first term: The triumph of freedom around the world is the only way to establish a true and lasting peace; the road to this peace is fraught with peril; and if this peace is pursued with unyielding tenacity and patience, peace will triumph.

Despite the difficulty of the task at hand, no one can argue that much progress has been made in Iraq. Not necessarily as much progress as many, including myself, would like to have seen, but progress nonetheless. Iraq will have its first election as a sovereign nation Sunday. There are certainly difficulties to surmount, and security is always a concern, especially on a day when the democratic process will play itself out on a stage for the entire world to see.

I would be a liar if I were to say the Iraqi venture has been an overwhelming success thus far. Even as a strong supporter of the president, I have no choice but to admit that many aspects of the operation have been grave failures.

As one of the characters in The Shawshank Redemption points out, “Hope is a good thing — maybe the best of things.” In judging Iraq, we would be wise to ask ourselves whether the Iraqi people were better off now or under a brutal regime that made the faintest glimmer of hope an impossibility.

Sure, Iraq is a mess. (Of course, it would be difficult to pinpoint a time during the last 90 years when Iraq wasn’t a mess.) Iraq under Saddam Hussein was a mess too. So, we are faced with a choice: a mess with Saddam in a palace or a mess with Saddam in a jail cell?

Personally, I would rather deal with Bush’s mess, which holds the potential for freedom, rather than Saddam’s mess, where “liberty” is a dirty word.

Experts across the world agree that the coming months will be the turning point for the great Iraqi democratic experiment. The coming elections hold the potential for great terror and great promise.

The mission is a crucial one, and one that can be accomplished with careful consideration and unyielding zeal for the cause of liberty. Only the persistence and determination of a man like President Bush could enable us to see the mission through. As the president enters his second term in office, which will most likely make or break his reputation in the history books, let freedom-loving peoples throughout civilization rally to his cause, because it is indeed our own.

Tony Cox is a junior philosophy major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].