Tuesday, May 04, 2004

The new certainty in Iraq of ultimate coalition troop withdrawal should also concentrate the minds of those Iraqis who until now have been all too content to allow the outside world to bear the human and financial costs of overthrowing Saddam Hussein.

But there is never any free ride to freedom. If Iraqis do not take up the opportunity now made available to them by the sacrifice of outsiders, they will slip back into a new dictatorship, with new torture chambers and mass graves.

The Kurdish minority is aware of this. That is why only a few hundred U.S. troops are needed in northern Iraq to help the Kurds keep the peace and build democracy in their region...

Where are the voices of a million Iraqis who returned from exile after their persecutor was overthrown? Where is the leader brave enough to tell fellow Iraqis that the danger to them is not from America, but from Iran, al-Qaida and a new Saddam?

The great majority of Iraqis are glad that Saddam is overthrown. We and the United Nations are giving them democracy's moment, but courageous Iraqis must come forward to seize it. Next April's goal is not "stability,' the new soft word for the old hard tyranny. The goal theirs and ours remains Iraqi freedom.

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