A President writes

The new President of Iraq, Jalal Talabani has an article on the Labour Friends of Iraq website which is well worth digesting.

Actually before I quote from it, just take that in for a moment – the new President of Iraq is a leading figure in a democratic socialist Kurdish party and a long-standing partisan in the struggle for democracy in Iraq.

My door will always be open to those who genuinely renounce violence and seek peaceful accommodation into our nascent democracy. That is why I proposed, in my first speech as head of state, an amnesty for those who have been led astray by terrorism.

But while the new Iraq is open to all, there must be no underestimating our determination to vanquish terrorism. Conciliation is not capitulation, nor is compromise to be deemed equivalent to imbalanced concession. Rather, it is through conciliation and compromise that we are building a fair Iraq, a just state for all its peoples. Democracies, unlike dictatorships, are forgiving and generous, but they cannot survive unless they fight. And fight we shall.

The choice of peace or war lies not with the Iraqis who ignored terrorism and intimidation to vote in their millions, the Iraqis to whom I am accountable. No, that decision lies with the terrorist minority that despises freedom and spurns every offered opportunity to enter the political process. The attacks on election officials, the suicide bombings of voters, and the cowardly attacks on brave Iraqis waiting in line to join our fledgling security forces are not the tactics of “resistance” or “freedom fighters” but of murderers and criminals.

Nor are the terrorists by any stretch of the imagination the repressed or the disadvantaged. They chose violence despite consistent exhortations to contribute to the new Iraq. They are, for the most part, representatives of the old regime, Baathists who gorged themselves on their compatriots’ riches. They are not the dispossessed of the earth but those who have been deprived of their palaces.

……We will not allow the naysayers (who predict disaster awaiting us around every corner) and their companions in despondency, the apologists for despotism, to distract us with their uninformed comment from our vision of a democratic and equitable society: The rectification of past crimes and the binding up of the many wounds inflicted upon us by the Baathist regime — these are matters for Iraqis alone.

…..Now, the time has come for the rest of the world to recognize that a federal, democratic Iraq that can defend itself against terrorism is a goal worthy of broad international support. The victory of the new Iraq will be the triumph of freedom over hate, of decency over intolerance. Who would not want to share in such a worthy campaign?

Who indeed.