Commentary: Don't Give the UN Control in Iraq

By Ken Joseph Jr.

(Baghdad, Iraq) - When one travels outside Iraq after having been there for a long while one is struck by the dramatically different perception of the situation on the ground.

It is this mistaken view which seems to be behind the dramatic change in policy regarding the United Nations.

First, the situation on the ground in Iraq has dramatically improved from what it was like before the war. I was there. I know. I saw and lived through the terror the everyday Iraqi felt. They were terrorized. A ringing telephone, a knock at the door, an unexpected visitor provoked sheer terror. Many were threatening to commit suicide if they were not liberated this time from Sadaam.

Yes, there are regular attacks against Coalition forces, yes there are bomb attacks, but the life for the average Iraq has improved dramatically. They are finally free.

The stores are full, the streets are bustling, people can watch Satellite TV, surf the Internet, talk freely on the telephone and in public for the first time inn 35 years!. A typical evening is full of people, men, women, children, families walking the streets and most of all `hope`. I for one am tired of the constant stream of negative news from Iraq! It is not true!.

Second, Be Strong! The real enemy is radical islam. In clear contradiction to both the historic teachings of Islam and the Koran a wave of radical islam is sweeping across Iraq, killing, maiming and intimidating the public.

The UN never cared enough for Iraq! They made millions of dollars through the Oil for Food program and never even bothered to send the Secretary General before the war. They are much reviled in Iraq.

Fearful of appearing to be anti-muslim the appropriate tough stance is not being taken. Letters left on doors say `cover yourself like a good muslim or we will rape, kill, kidnap or bomb your house` not very `religious`.

The Coalition Provisional Authority needs to take a firm stand so that the Iraqi people will know that they will not be let down, that the radical slick philosophy that denies in most middle eastern countries the most basic freedom - freedom of thought will not take over their country.

Intimidation in the form of the constant blaring of loudspeakers from the Mosques and the forcible wearing of the head covering for women must s in many Arab countries be immediately banned to send a message to the people that their future is in a free, democratic and prosperous Iraq not a theological nightmare like neighboring Iran which has sent their agents throughout the country fomenting trouble.

Third, take care of the `normal` people. I am an Assyrian. The Assyrian are the indigenous or `native` people of Iraq. The Assyrians are the people to whom Jonah of `Jonah and the whale` fame came to. Nineveh in the Bible is Mosul where Sadaams sons were recently captured.

The Assyrians are Christians, according to a pre-war Iraqi Government figures 2.5 million in Iraq with a worldwide total of 6 million. These are the people that will provide the engine of growth for Iraq but they will all leave the country and those overseas will not return if a firm constitution and basic rights are not enshrined.

As the original people of Iraq they need a guarantee that they will not suffer the fate of every Christian minority in every muslim country - discrimination, intimidation and more. How they are treated is the barometer of freedom and a future for Iraq.

Fourth, follow the example of Japan - Impose a constitution! I was born and raised in Japan where my parents came immediately following the war in response to General Douglas Macarthur's call for 10,000 young people to help rebuild post-war Japan. This is not the time for weak minded `dialogue` - it is the time for strong, clear leadership - the only kind respected in this part of the world.

The key to the success of Japan was a Constitution imposed on Japan against the wishes of the ruling elite but with complete support of the people, a forced elimination of all vestiges of the military/industrial/religions triangle that had ruined Japan and a seven year occupation free of any other distractions with a strong leader General Douglas McArthur loved and revered in Japan nearly 60 years later as the man who freed them!

This is something the United Nations cannot and will not do! We must not let them snatch the victory that has been won by the blood of our young and dash the hopes of the average people who hate all the extremists on both sides and just want to be a `normal` country, once more a part of the world - something they finally have hope for!

Fifth, Permanent basing. The key to the success of Japan was and is the permanent stationing of Troops in the country. Many Iraqis have specifically panted this out. They need protection from what they all term the `crazy` people - the radical islamists who are the biggest threat to their future.

Permanent American bases, paid for as in the case of Japan by the host country in the North, Baghdad and south to permanently stabilize Iraq. Dont listen to the constant naysayers - they are usually part of the nearly 20% of the country that was part of Sadaams gravy train.

Iraq is beginning to work! Prices are going up, people are beginning slowly but surely to think for themselves. It is as if they have been woken up from a long 35 year sleep. It will take time for them to get their `land legs` and to be confident, overcome intimidation and free in their thinking.

The average people welcome the Americans. It is the time to be strong, to not listen to the naysayers, to not - I repeat - not give authority to the UN but as in the case of Japan maintain a clear, concrete and reality based vision for a country that is free of intimidation, religious interference in government and a place that will welcome investment, ideas and the free exchange of peoples.

It can be done! It will take time, sacrifice, investment but like Japan we can watch as a former enemy, a former terror to its neighbors is transformed to become a leader for economic strength, peace and freedom.

It worked for Japan it will work for Iraq! This is not the time for compromise but a time for sticking the examples of the past and to what made America great in the first place - freedom, democracy, the rule of law, separation of religion and the state and the greatest give America has given to the world - Hope!

In the words of two young Iraqis who are the future of Iraq when asked what they think of the Americans `
the simple question to a couple of young people -19 and 26 respectively Remon says `We love them! We are so happy they have come! Now for the first time we have a future! We have hope! At the same time we are tired. It is now five months with no electricity and other services. But we are patient. We can wait because now we finally have hope!`

26 year old Ben chimes in `Now we can finally travel overseas! We can watch Satellite TV! We are finally connected with the world!`

Let us not let tem down! After suffering for 35 years they deserve it! They deserve the best - not to be handed over to the uncertain fate of the United Nations.

Rev. Ken Joseph Jr., an Assyrian, was born and raised in Japan. His grandparents escaped the country in the Assyrian Holocaust of 1919 and he directs and is currently writing a book about his experience in Iraq before and after to war.

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