Monday, January 10, 2005


Just off the wire (from AFP): "Yushchenko looks to Iraq withdrawal

The winner of Ukraine's presidential vote, Viktor Yushchenko, said on Sunday withdrawing the nation's troops from Iraq will be a priority for him once he takes office, after an accidental blast killed seven Ukrainian soldiers there. "Viktor Yushchenko sends deep condolences to the families of Ukrainian peacekeepers who died in Iraq today," said a statement released by his press office. "Insofar as withdrawing Ukraine's peacekeeping contingent from Iraq, it remains one of Yushchenko's priorities once he assumes office," the statement said. The seven Ukrainian troops, along with one Kazakh soldier, died after a bomb they were about to defuse went off accidentally in Iraq's central Wasit region, where Ukrainian and Kazakh troops serve under Polish control, Kiev's defence ministry said. Another seven Ukrainian and four Kazakh troops were injured as a result of the accident, which occurred at 12.05pm after a team of Kazakh sappers and their Ukrainian back-up had brought back to defuse about 35 aerial bombs that Iraqi police had found stashed near the central military base of As Suwayrah. After the bombs were unloaded from their transport vehicles one of them exploded for reasons that are still being investigated, the ministry said. About 1,600 Ukrainian troops have been deployed since August 2003 in Iraq's Wasit region, where US-led coalition forces are under Polish command. Prior to today's deaths, Ukraine has lost nine of its troops, with another 20 injured. In the heat of Ukraine's election saga last month, parliament in Kiev approved a resolution that demanded outgoing President Leonid Kuchma withdraw Ukrainian soldiers from Iraq."

Sad. A man who owes so much to external/international pressure put on his enemies - the enemies of freedom and democracy - (and who also owes much of his success to the external/external support given to his party), is withdrawing support for other human beings who are struggling to gain freedom and democracy.

I think that - (a) in light of the loss of brave Ukrainian troops in Iraq, and (b) the fact that he would NOT have ascended to power without this external/international support - Yuschenko should've reconsidered, and decided to keep the Ukrainian troops in Iraq. I think that if Yuschenko goes through with it, that he is, in effect, withdrawing from the Coalition of the Willing and joining the "Coalition of the Ungrateful" - along with France and Germany and Spain, (the nations of Old Europe which have forgotten the cost of freedom, and are unwilling to do for others what was done for them after WW2).

Certainly, it's within his right and power to withdraw the troops - and campaign pledges are imporant, BUT... the higher good - in this case, supporting the Iraqis in their hour of need as they seek to attain their universal Human Rights (as the Free World helped Ukrainians) - is MORE important.

Some argue that the efforts of the USA and the Coalition of the Willing are doomed to fail because "democracy cannot be imposed."

I say this is hogwash! Democracy is NEVER imposed. WHY?! Because freedom is a natural, innate gift all humans are born with, AND democracy is the only mutually consensual way for free people to act collectively and have self-rule.

Rather, it is TYRANNY which is imposed on free people. This is why it's called LIBERATION when tyrannies are cast off: because people are freed from what is imposed on them, and their innate freedom is all that's left! That's why the effort in Iraq is properly called a LIBERATION: we have removed the tyranny that was imposed on the Iraqis by Saddam and the Baathists, and are now engaged in a war with fanatical counter-revolutionaries who are trying to impose a religious tyranny on them. We are fighting them in order to give the Iraqis an opportunity to arrange for self-rule and democracy.

It would be nice if the Ukrainians did ALL they could to help. Apparently - like Spain, and France, and Germany - they will do less than they can - and LESS THAN THEY SHOULD. Like I said: it's sad. It reflects badly on them, and NOT on the noble efforts of the Coalition of the Willing to help our brothers in sisters in Iraq gain their universal human rights.


Anonymous said...

I disagree on this one. The decision to commit or renew a commitment of troupes to a military action is a major decision and should not be taken lightly even if one supports the military action. The choice is that of Ukraine and their elected head of state. Since he made this promise during the election the citizens of the Ukraine had the opportunity to decide if this stand was objectionable enough to reject his candidacy and they decided that it was not.

I myself as a Canadian find that although I disagree with my country's decision to not commit troupes to the Iraq action I must also admit that a majority of my fellow citizens did not share my views and so Prime Minister Paul Martin did the right thing in this instance. American commentators turned a simple refusal to commit troupes into being an enemy of the coalition on par with France even though we expanded our activities in Afghanistan to be of assistance. (This is Canada by the way. We can not even afford to buy submarines that don't catch fire and kill our own soldiers and yet we are trying to help you project force a crossed the planet.) America's unpopularity in the world, while not fairly earned is only increased when you lash out at people that are on your side.

Your comment about "A man who owes so much to external/international pressure put on his enemies" is itself sad. It devalues the brave protesters who spent day after day and night after night risking a crackdown and revenge from those in the minority to fight for the same freedom of choice you criticize them for exerting. Which do you really think was more influential; whom do you think Vikto Yushchenko owes more to: the citizens who brought the fraudulent regime to a halt while demanding justice at their own risk or Washington Bureaucrats that issued harsh condemnations of his enemies from the comfort of D.C.?

It seems that America's gratitude has no long-term memory. As long as a country takes every action in accordance with your wishes you are grateful. Deviation from those wishes is an act of betrayal. The mature thing to do would be to tell the Ukrainians that while you don't agree with their decision, you thank them for their involvement up to now and their sacrifices both on behalf of Iraq and of America. Maybe more small nations would be willing to help in limited ways if they didn't think they would get called out as cowards if they ever withdrew.

I agree with a lot of you opinions but filtering everything we perceive about the world through our opinions (like those about the war) gives us no opportunity to evaluate our perceptions critically.

Anonymous said...

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