- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 25, 2005

Almost immediately after Germany surrendered, the Allied forces sought to give the German people autonomy as quickly as possible. Some administrative entities were established as early as 1945, and by 1948, Germany enacted its Basic Law or Constitution.

The U.S. Government, on behalf of a generous and charitable people, gave $13.3 billion to help the Germans and the rest of Western Europe get back on their feet. That sum, in today’s dollars, would come to more than $100 billion.

At that time, some loudly argued autonomy was given too quickly and the money and resources given to the European Continent too costly.

Today, it is universally accepted that the actions of the United States and the innovative Marshall Plan, were responsible for the rebirth of Germany and a Continent destroyed by war.

I offer this historical example to illustrate the parallels in the ongoing Global War on Terror and specifically the War in Iraq. Recently, some have argued our activity in Iraq was a “grotesque mistake,” and that troops should be withdrawn. Others argue that sovereignty was returned to Iraq at the wrong time, and that the assistance America provides is too costly, too expensive. I wholeheartedly disagree.

Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld cited the concrete and tangible evidence of progress Iraq made in the last year. Consider for a moment what the Iraqi people achieved in the first 12 months of regaining sovereignty:

The Iraqis held a landmark election in January in which more than 8 million Iraqis voted in direct defiance of the threats issued by terrorists. The elected officials who won in that election are now drafting a constitution that will be voted on soon in a national referendum. More than 168,000 Iraqi Security Forces have been trained and equipped and are actively providing security in their country, and critical infrastructure being built will tangibly improve Iraqi citizens’ lives. Truly, these are monumental steps in a short time.

I recognize that along the road to democracy and representative government, there will be bumps and perhaps obstacles. Tragically, an insurgency comprised of foreign terrorists who snake across the porous borders of Iran and Syria, seek to dismantle the progress to date by murdering innocent men, women and children. These are the actions of a despicable, desperate few who cannot abide the moves toward democracy and representative government that have emerged throughout the Middle East in the last six months.

A clear indication the insurgency will lose is the fact Iraqi citizens have become outspokenly angry about these murders and are increasingly informing authorities of insurgents’ whereabouts and actions.

I am proud of the men and women who serve our nation so courageously and with compassion. They fight not only for our freedom but the freedom of peoples who have been long denied the liberties we cherish. As our own country soon celebrates the anniversary of our Independence Day and the freedoms we gained many years ago, we should continue to support Iraq and the men and women who have made that progress possible.

Rep. Jim Saxton, New Jersey Republican, is chairman of the House Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities.

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