Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki pitched a double header in the Washington, D.C., area today. First, he delivered a speech to a joint session of Congress, then he spoke at a luncheon for U.S. troops at Fort Belvior in the Virginia suburbs.
The disparate receptions Maliki received from the Democrats on Capitol Hill and the troops at Fort Belvoir tells much about contemporary U.S. politics.
The troops gave Maliki—who was democratically elected under an Iraqi constitution approved by a referendum of the Iraqi people—a standing ovation. Twenty House Democrats, by contrast, sent a letter to House Speaker Dennis Hastert yesterday calling on Maliki’s speech to Congress to be cancelled unless he apologized for being critical Israel’s action in Lebanon.
As Rush Limbaugh pointed out on his radio show this afternoon, the congressional Democrats are hypocrites.
If Maliki’s government fails in Iraq, there will be no peace and stability there, and chaos in the Middle East could spread far beyond the borders of Iraq and Lebanon. All Americans have an interest in seeing Maliki’s government succeed so that does not happen—and so our troops can come home.
Maliki, for his part, was eloquently and properly thankful to our nation, and especially to the U.S. troops and their families who have sacrificed greatly, sometimes with their lives, so that his government could come into being.
“I appreciate your colleagues who offered their lives on the land of Iraq, and I tell you that Iraqis will never forget these sacrifices because they have really participated in ridding Iraq of dictatorship, one of the ugliest regimes the region has known,” Maliki told the troops at Belvoir. “And we are happy to be partners in this holy task of fighting terrorism and establishing democracy.”
“I sympathize with families who have lost loved ones,” he said. “And I appreciate this sacrifice and suffering, because I am one of the people who sacrificed and suffered in Iraq. The previous regime had sentenced me to death, and actually has executed 67 members of my family. And I can feel the bitterness of the loss when someone loses a dear member of his family, a son, or a spouse.
“When blood mixes together in the field, aiming to achieve one goal, this blood will help establish a long-lasting relationship,” he said. “Our relationship will last forever.”
It is good to see that the democratically elected leader of Iraq fully appreciates what our troops have accomplished—even if some of the democratically elected leaders in our own minority party do not.