NRO Symposium: How It’s Looking- Iraq, three years in

National Review Online

M. Zuhdi Jasser

After three years, our losses and frustrations serve as proof of how sorely we were needed in Iraq. Iraq has become an epicenter of Islamist terror. But al Qaeda’s fear of a free Iraq is the greatest sign that our mission is on target. Militant Islamists are now on the run in Iraq.

The conflict between political and pluralistic Islam is a central ideological war from which we should never run. If we change the political and economic environment in the Middle East, we will change the associated religious pathology. However, history teaches that after generations of oppression, a national transformation from a corrupt system into one of free markets and virtues does not happen overnight.

Under coercion people were nothing but slaves to their ruling thugs and theocrats. End the coercion, and begin the long, semi-chaotic process of liberating generations of a shackled Muslim mind.

Our resolve should remain indefinite. Iraq’s liberators will be remembered not only for doing what Iraqis could never have done alone, but also for beginning to wrest the faith of Islam away from the theocrats. Iraq is only the first step of a long journey for Muslims and Arabs as they renew their love of liberty, pluralism, and personal integrity — free of coercion.

M. Zuhdi Jasser is the chairman of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy based in Phoenix, Ariz.

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