Operation Iraqi Freedom: A Vision Of Hope And Optimism

According to the polls, the polarization of American politics is rooted in basic ideological support or opposition of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Unfortunately, a 500 word essay is usually incapable of reorienting ideologies. But even if you blindly oppose the war efforts, there is no reason to be a total stranger to the truth by considering the Iraq War as a “failure.” I am not attempting to whitewash the war – there is no levity for those who lose their lives each day.However, there are several positives emerging from the Iraq War – stories that are not given their fair shake in your New York Times subscription or the nightly flood of death on television. Two such heartening aspects are the developing Iraqi economy and the attitude of Iraqis about the situation. Here are the numbers for your intelligent interpretation. First is the Iraqi economy. After employment rates in the 25 percent range for the better part of a decade, unemployment rates are now in the mid-teens: 14.1 percent in June, 13.8 percent in July and just under 12 percent in August. Three national banks have been established, a big first step in any emerging economy. The Iraqi monetary unit, the dinar, is holding strong against the dollar – a sign of confidence by investors and citizens who are electing not to convert to U.S. dollars. The average household income in Iraq rose 72 percent from October 2003 to June 2004. Most encouraging, foreign (non-American) companies are investing in Iraq, to the tune of $5 million per day. This is a tremendous story because it shows that firms who conduct their own independent evaluation of the country are determining that the potential and stability of the young economy outweigh the obvious risks. Foreign investment is a vital aspect of any free market economy. Perhaps in correlation to the developing economy, July and August survey results of Iraqis are optimistic and encouraging. According to two surveys conducted by the International Republican Institute and the Independent Institute for Administrative and Civil Society Studies, about 51 percent think that Iraq is on the “right track,” compared to 31 percent who think the opposite. Satisfaction with current living conditions varies by region, but it is on the whole positive: 85 percent of Kurds and 52 percent in the mid-Euphrates region and south cite improvement in life since Saddam was removed from power. In Baghdad, there was a three-way split between “better,” “worse” and “don’t know.” The same majority, or 70 percent, of Iraqis agreed both that “Today life is full of uncertainty” and that “I am hopeful for the future.” An even higher percentage agrees that “Things will slowly continue to get better.” The Iraqis paint a more accurate picture of the state of their country than the American media. Despite the constant coverage given to the insurgency, Iraqis rank the insurgency as only fifth of things that cause them the most fear, at only six percent. Accordingly, the programs allowing Iraqis to govern and police themselves are gaining steam. There is approval in the 60 percent range for the government, National Guard, police, army and judges.An established economy is essential for the Iraq’s legitimacy as a free and independent nation. Iraq’s success as a sovereign state will not be determined by pockets of fundamentalist resistance; rather, the significant increase in the quality of life for the vast majority of Iraqis will be the driving force behind their desire to govern and police themselves. As the population continues to move onward and upward, many of the current problems that threaten stability will work themselves out. The snowball effects of this newfound prosperity are already reflected in Iraqis’ positive outlook for the present and future. If Iraqis already see the light at the end of the tunnel, then why can’t we?