Nobles: The Iraqi people, who over the course of 12 months have achieved what Winston Churchill called the “worst system of governance except all those other systems which have been tried from time to time.”
Before 2005, Israel was the only democracy in the Arab world. For decades, the West preferred this setup, because it was the “status quo” — the disruption of which would send apocalyptic convulsions throughout the Middle East. Various arguments were put forth: Arabs were not ready for democracy; Islam was not compatible with democracy; the imposition of a democratic system could only result in a theocratic state like Iran. In other words, it is far better to support murderous dictators and, as Hamlet said, “bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of.”
And then one gets the message. As an Iraqi told the New York Times after Thursday’s parliamentary elections: “Before we had a dictator, and now we have this freedom, this democracy. This time, we have a real election, not just the sham elections we had under Saddam.”
In terms of lives, the Iraqi people have paid a heavy price for their new-found freedom. They have endured three years of war, shortages of every kind and the constant worry that the United States could very well abandon them to the terrorists and insurgents. Yet, they are not weary, but hopeful.
Iraqis still have a long way to go; but that doesn’t diminish the accomplishment of how far they have brought themselves.
It is an honor to name this year’s final Noble of the week: the Iraqi people.
Knaves: Jane Fonda, who calls our troops “killing machines,” but — of course — supports them anyway.
It looks like Miss Fonda is going to have to write a sequel to her autobiography, “My Life So Far,” in which she (sort of) apologized for fraternizing with North Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War. In an interview last week with The Washington Post discussing a new antiwar flick, Miss Fonda morphs into a military historian.
“Starting in the Vietnam war,” she said, “we began training soldiers differently.” Apparently, during “secret meetings” with “military psychologists,” Miss Fonda learned the military was intentionally turning our young men into “killing machines.” She explains, “This began because the military discovered that in World War II and Korea, soldiers weren’t killing enough (in their opinion), so they changed training procedures.” However, lest one is tempted to cast an disapproving eye on our young “killing machines,” Miss Fonda cautions: “[I]t’s critical that we understand that the soldiers are not to blame.”
For laying on the couch a tad too long, Jane Fonda is Knave of the week.