Iraq: March 19, 2004

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In the past year, some dozen suicide bombing attacks in Iraq have killed nearly 700 people. By comparison, such attacks have killed 474 people in Israel since late 2000. A smaller number of attacks in Saudi Arabia has turned the Saudis against al Qaeda, and the same thing has happened in Iraq. Most of the suicide bombing victims in Iraq have been Iraqi. But the Iraqis put these attacks in perspective, rating them as a very minor concern (compared to getting a job or street crime).

Today is the first anniversary of the coalition invasion of Iraq. Saddam Hussein in is in prison awaiting trial, most Iraqis feel they are better off than last year and optimistic about the future. The United States continues to be free of terrorist attacks, the last one being on September 11, 2001. As a result of the Iraqi invasion, the Middle East now has a second country (besides Israel) that is actually going to try democracy. Libya and Iran have backed off on their plans to build nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia is now actively in the anti-terrorism camp and many Arabs are questioning long held beliefs about what is wrong with the Arab world.  

Examination of captured Iraqi documents revealed that Saddam Hussein stole more than ten billion dollars from funds meant to buy food and medicine for Iraqis. United Nations officials, as well as government officials in neighboring nations, and in Europe, made the scam possible. Interestingly, all of these parties opposed the invasion of Iraq. 

 

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