By ALEX JONES, Register columnist
Sandusky High School graduate attending Ashland University
"Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere."
-- Martin Luther King Jr.
Believe it or not, Saturday marked the seventh-year anniversary of the American invasion of Iraq.
The success that the new Iraqi government is beginning to experience has been overshadowed by the health care debate and the slumping economy. However important these issues are, I feel it is prudent to reflect on just how important the Iraqi situation is.
Only three short years ago, a stable and peaceful Iraq seemed distant and possibly unattainable. In 2007, after taking recommendations from military and political leaders, President Bush ordered a troop surge that would prove to turn the fortunes in Iraq. Today we have an Iraqi government able to have open elections. Although there was some violence surrounding the events, it was nothing in comparison to what could have been done.
This is a country in the youth of its freedom. One cannot expect a country to fully embrace freedom when the seeds have just been planted. That is like trying to harvest from a tree one has planted yesterday.
If you don't think this is as important as I would make it out to be, ask the women of that country just how important their new found freedoms are to them.
I believe that we as Americans have truly lost sight of what is so important about Iraq. What makes Iraq important is not whether it makes a good news story, or whether death tolls are up or down, but whether justice has been achieved.
Whether you agree or disagree with the reasons we went to war, Iraq is now operating in freedom, not tyranny. The Iraqi people are no longer under the reins of despotism, but have taken the reins of liberty. One should hope Iraq can shine the light of democracy in a part of the world that has none.
Although it is foolish to believe that all will be well immediately, or that our work is now fully finished, America must now move into a supporting role. Let Iraq live and learn. If it makes mistakes, make sure it is a lesson learned. As it matures, we must let it become more and more independent. Like a parent, we should be there to offer support, but not be controlling. If this can be achieved, and I fully believe that it will be, justice has been achieved for the Iraqi people.
If the people of Iraq can live together in peace in a country that is free, where liberty is guaranteed, not suppressed, America can know it has done good for Iraq and the world.
Although the war in Iraq has slipped onto the back burner of American politics and news, on this anniversary it would be right to thank all those who have fought and died for those who now enjoy freedom.
It is right to thank those who made the tough decision to change the war strategy.
It is because of the 2007 troop surge that Iraq is today stable, and it is because of this stability that Iraq can enjoy freedom. The freedom and the justice that Iraq can now claim greatly enhances the quality of our justice here at home.