A Message From The President Of Iraq

The President of Iraq writes:

We Need American Troops
Thank you for liberating my country. Please don’t leave before the job is done.

BY JALAL TALABANI
Wednesday, September 21, 2005 12:01 a.m. EDT

BAGHDAD–There is no more important international issue today than the need to defeat the curse of terrorism. And as the first democratically elected president of Iraq, I have a responsibility to ensure that the world’s youngest democracy survives the inherently difficult transition from totalitarianism to pluralism. A transformation of the Iraqi state and Iraqi society is impossible without a sustained commitment of soldiers from the United States and other democracies.

To understand why, let us recall how we reached this juncture in history. How is it that Iraq today has a democratically elected head of state, government and Parliament? How it is that members of the most repressed ethnic groups now hold the highest offices of state? All these welcome developments are a result of the courage and vision of President Bush and his allies, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Australian Prime Minister John Howard, leaders whose commitment of troops to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions liberated Iraq.

Without foreign intervention, the transition in Iraq would have been from Saddam’s bloodstained hands to his psychopathic offspring. Instead, thanks to American leadership, Iraqis have been given an opportunity of peaceful, participatory politics. Contrary to the new conventional wisdom, Iraq and the history of 20th-century Europe demonstrate that force of arms can implant democracy in the most arid soil.

The rapidity of the democratization and reform of Iraq is staggering. There was no German state for four years after the Second World War. By contrast, Iraq has moved from a centralized, one-man dictatorship to a decentralized, federal republic in half that time.

Inevitably, there have been stresses and strains. In Iraq these have been amplified by the terrorism of the remnants of the fascist Baathist dictatorship and our interfering neighbors. To contain these tensions, and to defend our young democracy, requires the support of American and other troops. Foreign forces are needed to train and equip the new Iraqi armed forces and to give Iraq its own counterterrorism capability. Only the United States and its closest allies are able to provide such assistance.

Creating these Iraqi forces has not been easy, but Iraqis have been undaunted by the difficulties. Every terrorist attack on Iraqi forces leads to a surge in military recruitment–the opposite of the appeasers’ myth that resisting terrorism causes more terrorism. For all the short-term problems, the soundness of the long-term strategy of building up Iraqi forces was demonstrated in recent days when Iraqis took over sole control of security in the holy city of Najaf.

As Iraqi forces gain in confidence and capability, so the need for foreign troops will diminish. The number of foreign troops will be determined in consultations between the Iraqi government and its foreign allies on the basis of operational requirements.

American forces are in Iraq at the invitation of the democratically elected government of Iraq, and with the backing of a United Nations Security Council resolution. Your soldiers are in my country because of your commitment to democracy. Moreover, during my visit to Washington, Mr. Bush reaffirmed the United States’ complete support for the Iraqi political process toward sustainable democracy, and for the fight to defeat fascist and jihadist terrorism in Iraq.

That commitment to liberty has shaped our opposition to any timetable for withdrawal. There are also two practical, policy reasons to avoid such a scheduled reduction in foreign troop numbers. First, a timetable will aid the terrorists and tell them that all they have to do is wait. Second, military plans must be flexible. We should have the suppleness to respond to the often-changing level of terrorist threat. Indeed, we will require ongoing security assistance in many forms for many years to come.

If we keep progressing at the present rate, Iraqis may be able to take over many security functions from foreign forces by the end of 2006. That is not a deadline, but it is reasonable aspiration. During my visit to the United States, I was fortunate to meet relatives of some of the brave troops serving in Iraq. They were staunch, and I want their loved ones to have to serve in Iraq not a moment longer than is necessary.

Americans should be proud of what its soldiers have achieved. The presence of foreign forces has prevented a renewed civil war in Iraq–renewed because there has already been a civil war in Iraq. For 35 years, Saddam and his Baath Party made war on the Iraqi people. The liberation of Iraq ended that civil war.

Above all, American forces provide Iraq with a much-needed deterrence capability. In the past, Iraq sought an illusory security through the follies of aggression, terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. Today, our external security comes from our alliance with the United States. Our neighbors can thereby be assured that we will settle all of our differences with them peacefully.

Sadly, some of our neighbors have chosen not to understand this. They seem either unwilling or unable to shut off the pipeline of terrorists crossing into Iraq. And in addition to what is at least passive support for the terrorists, some of them are providing financial and material support to them, too. They must desist from this behavior now.

While the problem of some of our neighbors supporting terrorism is bad enough, we can only imagine what our neighbors might have done if American troops had not been present. Most likely, Iraq would have been transformed into a regional battlefield with disastrous consequences for Middle Eastern and global security.

Without American forces, the vision of American leadership and the quiet fortitude of the American people, Iraqis would be almost alone in the world. With its allies, the United States has provided Iraqis with an unprecedented opportunity. Iraqis have responded by enthusiastically embracing democracy and volunteering to fight for their country. By giving us the tools, your troops help us to defend Iraqi democracy and to finish the job of uprooting Baathist fascism.

Mr. Talabani is president of Iraq.

7 Responses to “A Message From The President Of Iraq”


  • Nice letter by Talabani. However, there are some sides of the bargain that he and his parlimentary colleagues need to live up to make it in the US best interest.

    1- Include the sunni minority in the government.
    2- Not allign itself entirely with the Ayatollahs of Iran as the current government is leaning towards.
    3- Not have a constitution in which democracy is subservient to the Koran and Islamic teachings as the current constitution is structured towards.
    4- Get serious about training Iraqi’s to protect themselves. 2 and a half years after the US led invasion and only 2 of 130 Iraqi combat brigades are battle ready.
    5- Give real rights to women.

    Nobody can honestly say that this debacle is going as planned. I am still waiting for the roses thrown at our heroic American GI’s. Weren’t the proceeds from oil sales supposed to be paying for this whole thing. Weren’t we supposed to have begun withdrawing significant numbers of troops by the end of ’03.

    This whole war has been run by a bunch of incompetent out of touch idealist, who ignored all of the advice of the military personell who had any real life experience. Now we are stuck with a situation where the only way to win this war is to throw hundreds of thousands more soldiers into this war zone, which would require a draft if we want to keep the National Guard for their stated purpose of protecting the homefront in crises. We know there is not a legislator in Washington with the sack to propose a draft. So instead we can continue to have 10 to 20 heroic American soldiers sacrificed to these low-life insurgents in the name of this poorly planned Neo-con experiment or we can start to seriously think about ending this cycle of American bloodshed.

    This will unfortunately be another mess that the grown ups (democrats) will have to clean up along with the deficit, sluggish job growth, spiraling gas prices, racial inequity, spiraling poverty rates, a govt run by patronage etc. Thank god we don’t have the important stuff like flag burning or oral sex in the white house however.

  • Michael, congrats. You’ve just about covered every talking point there I’ve heard since the lead up to the war nigh on three years ago. Even down to the, now apparently ‘roses’, that were supposed to greet our coalition as liberators. I’ve seen coalition soldiers be greeted as liberators; that argument’s tired.

    In any case, what we have here from HP is a letter written by the elected leader of Iraq, a Kurd, begging the American population (or at least those of us who are contemplating leaving) not to cut and run.

    It’s interesting that up through the numbered points in your post I was right there with you. I was thinking, wow, here’s a guy who knows his stuff — he’s following the progress in Iraq and wants to make sure our work doesn’t go down the drain. It’s real refreshing to see such criticism — not from the antiwar side, but from those who supported the war and require that it proceed, as you say, in our best interest.

    Then you seem to set a switch off in your head around the word “debacle”. Do you truly believe the number points you wrote above that section? Because those are the number points of a supporter.

    So: I don’t follow how you’ve jumped ship.

    And then you say something about oral sex as if were Clinton still in the White House (for an unconstitutional third or fourth term), still getting hummers, we wouldn’t have to worry about things like international terrorism or the nexus of it with anti-Western rogue states. Feel free to not think about NYC ’93, Khobar ’96, Luxor ’97, Dar es Salaam and Nairobi ’98, LAX thwarted ’99, USS Cole ’00, etc., etc., etc., and focus on the b.j. and how good everything was back then, if that floats your boat.

    Succinctly: Would your wish to end this “cycle of American bloodshed” conflict with your wish that Iraq’s domestic policy is in line with “US best interest” as laid out in points #1-#5? Are you calling for a pull out now? And finally, how do you think the situations you mention in #1-#5: women’s rights, minority rights, self-sufficient security, less religious interference — where do these head if we leave right now? Would that be an end to the “cycle of American bloodshed”?

    In Iraq, maybe.

    [And for the record, there are legislators in DC with the sack to propose a draft: Rep. Chas. Rangel (D-NY) and Sen. Fritz Hollins (D-SC), but I bet you already knew that.]

  • Aidan Maconachy

    Michael – excellent analysis.

    The Sunni issue is a complex one. Personally I think the allies made a bad error by alienating the Ba’athists from the get-go; designated “villain” playing cards give the wrong message. These guys were the aristocracy of Iraq for decades, they needed to be handled more intelligently. They weren’t all genocidal nutbars.

    Your comment on the Iranian connection is also well taken. When al-Jaafari went to Tehran the dignatories were lining up to kiss ass. Recently when an Iranian diplomatic mission visited Baghdad they were strolling around without much in the way of security concerns. By contrast when Condoleezza visited she was trussed up in a flackjacket.

    The campaign was mishandled. Powell is right – there needed to be more guys on the ground from the start and they should have anticipated civilian disorder. Also the apparent descent into dysfunction in Abhu Ghraib should have been stopped faster. It’s one thing to torture a guy to find out where a bomb is located, prior to a few hundred civilians being taken out … it’s quite another thing to torture and humiliate captives in a gratuitous fashion with no particular purpose in mind except heir humiliation. If Bush presumes to export “freedom and democracy” to other lands then he better damn well ensure his representitives don’t morph into low grade thugs.

    This is a deep hole, I’m hoping we can dig out fast and turn it around. Talibani’s positive attitude goes a small way toward setting the compass.

  • Come see my latest post…your heart will soar!

  • key words in the Iraqi President Talabani’s message:

    -interfering neighbors

    -young democracy,

    -support [and understanding of the mission].

    General Abizaid, head of CENCOM, put it good:

    “American soldiers fight best when they know the people back home are behind them.

    “We are fighting for all the right reasons, against one of the most despicable and dangerous enemies this nation has ever faced. We need to know that the people are with us.”

    Just like Israel, Iraq is a democratic state under seige in a desert of tyranny. The President of Iraq is not just repeating the need for assistance just for nothing. We are at war with cold blooded assassins and suicidal fanatics, and to leave the Iraqi people at their mercy would be an absolutely horrible mistake.

    There is good news and there is bad news in every war.

    —-

    We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit
    violence upon those who would do us harm.
    — George Orwell

    Night, night.

  • “Thank you for liberating my country. Please don’t leave before the job is done”.

    Amen! ahaha!

  • Hey DD, remember me From Soy Chicano?

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