Fairytales are nice, but for the 65 percent of Americans who now believe it was not worth going to war, they need to let go of the fairytale version of reality and sit down and read all 567 sobering pages of The 9/11 Commission Report – The Authorized Edition. (Remember back when the Democrats accused the Bush administration of not doing enough to prevent the terrorist attack?) The 9/11 Commission Report reveals Al Qaeda’s ties to Iraq, Saddam Hussein’s quest for nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and, most chilling, the fierce determination of bin Ladin and other extremists, who have repeatedly declared war against the United States, both in verbal declarations and actual attacks on American interests, domestic and abroad. If an immediate withdrawal would result in everyone living happily ever after, I would be all for it. But there is no peaceful way to end tyranny or terrorism because the dynamics involved in ending terrorism seem to closely parallel those involved in ending domestic violence. No amount of being nice, kind, loving or even just leaving an abuser (or terrorist) alone will change the situation. Whenever I hear people lament the worsening situation in Iraq, call for the immediate withdrawal of our troops or criticize the decision to go to war, I wonder if they understand the complicated dynamics at work in escaping any tyrannical rule, whether in a family or a country. With domestic violence, the danger of being killed increases when the victim takes a stand and tries to end the abusive relationship. Leaving an abusive relationship is terrifying precisely because the situation gets much worse before it gets better. Almost without exception, victims of domestic violence are unable to leave on their own. They need the assistance of others, including authorities with more power than the abuser — like the courts, victim’s advocate organizations and law enforcement. Perpetrators of abuse usually don’t back down. Instead, violence and threats typically increase during this time period. The fear and discomfort that accompanies leaving an abusive situation is often the reason many never leave. Some fearfully prefer to stay locked in abusive, yet familiar, situations rather than take the risks involved in drawing lines and taking a stand to end the abuse. The same thing is true of the situation in Iraq. It has to get worse before it gets better. Instead of being shortsighted and accusing America of making things worse, everyone should take a long-range view of the situation and understand the underlying dynamics of abuse of power, whether within a family or a country. True, many people who have lived under the oppressive rule of Saddam Hussein are psychologically imprisoned to the familiar, yet tragic, life they have always known. Also, those in Islamic countries have been fed nothing but a steady diet of anti-American propaganda that makes all Americans out to be immoral, godless and anti-Muslim. It is understandable why many in the Islamic world are unhappy with the American efforts. But every single American must see the bigger picture and understand the dynamics at work and the value in staying the course for freedom and democracy. Instead of calling for an immediate withdrawal of the troops, criticizing the decision to go to war or complaining that America has made the situation worse since 9/11, we who daily benefit from the hard-fought freedoms bought with the blood of those who came before us ought to be lending our wholehearted support, courage and vision of freedom and peace to the American efforts in Iraq.
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