As U.S. and coalition forces close in on Baghdad, Iraqis are becoming increasingly eager to see coalition forces rolling into their neighborhoods. Since the only media available to them is the propagandistic Iraqi state-run television, seeing our troops in person is their only means of confirming that Operation Iraqi Freedom is indeed underway. For the time being, however, they must suppress their feelings of joy and relief, for they know too well that they cannot celebrate until Saddam Hussein and his regime of terrorism are gone for good.

Please allow me, as an American who has lived in Iraq for many years, to share a perspective held not only by the United States and the coalition of the willing, but also by the Iraqi people themselves, in and outside Iraq. Simply put, the Iraqis want this war. They are waiting for us to liberate them, and fortunately, we are doing just that.

There is not a better indication of this liberation than the plea of the Iraqis themselves, who have endured many years of oppression, and are now counting the hours and minutes that separate them from their promised freedom. The Iraqi people are waiting for American and coalition forces to take over their country and help them get back on their feet and form a representative Iraqi government, so they can live in peace and rebuild the cradle of civilization that Saddam has demolished.

This is the reality, but the Iraqi regime has effectively silenced the people of Iraq and forced them to chant praises for Saddam. While in our free world, President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair have been very honest in their visions, and have led a coalition of other willing nations to liberate Iraq and rid the world of Saddam and his weapons of mass destruction.

In case anyone still doubts the danger and brutality of Saddam, here are a few of the countless atrocities that crowd his record. It is not possible to gather a comprehensive catalog of his atrocities, not only because they are unbelievably numerous, but also because most are unbelievably graphic and obscene. Some crimes have finally found their way to various media outlets, as is the case with the 1988 gassing of 5,000 Kurds and deportation of 500,000 others in northern Iraq, and the sickening 1991 terror plot in which Saddam crushed another significant proportion of Shiite Iraqis following a post-Gulf War uprising in southern Iraq. The invasion of Kuwait is no secret either. But there are millions of other innocent people that have been raped, tortured and executed for nothing more than the most mundane misconducts. As would soon become evident, Saddam and his thugs were extremely creative in their methods of torture and terror. Take this scenario as an example: At a gathering of family and friends, someone makes a joke about Saddam and three others laugh; all four are executed within hours. Other punishments include rape, torture and physical disfiguration (cutting off tongues and ears is not uncommon).

Clearly, Saddam is evil. Having killed even his sons-in-law, he is a threat to both friend and foe. Given the means, he would not think twice before attacking the United States or any other country. If it were not for our determination to disarm him, only time would prove the unthinkable.

It is unfortunate that some countries and people have preferred to cheer for Saddam, under the cover of peace and humanity, limiting their arguments to the casualties of war, as if war was the opposite of peace. Those who claim to be speaking on behalf of the Iraqi children and allege that Operation Iraqi Freedom is a cause of the Iraqis’ suffering know nothing about the Iraqi people and even less about their suffering. They are deluded pacifists who have unfortunately dismissed the fact that the number of civilians killed and tortured by the Iraqi dictatorship in any given day far exceeds any casualties in Operation Iraqi Freedom. They march and sing for peace, not knowing that they are in effect propelling the continued suffering of Iraqis. Make no mistake about it, the Iraqi people do not appreciate those who opposed Operation Iraqi Freedom, and will surely hold them accountable for their positions.

I have great trust in our president and all the men and women who have stood together against the evils of terror. Today, more than ever, I am proud to be an American, and grateful for the virtues of our nation. We are affirming our leadership role as a beacon of liberty, justice and peace. As for the silenced Iraqis, allow me to speak for them once again and commend Bush for his commitment to their liberation, the result of which is sure to be an unprecedented alliance and friendship between the people and governments of the United States and Iraq. When Iraq is liberated, the United States will be hailed as a hero, and our troops and commanders will be admired much like skillful surgeons after successful completion of a critical operation -Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Let us pray for our men and women who are risking their lives for this honorable cause, and give the most sincere condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones – our heroes – while liberating the terrorized people of Iraq.

Alattar is an LSA and Music senior.

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