December 1, 2003
She was a little girl, barely one week old, during the fourth week of November 2002.
Born with a life-threatening heart defect – reversed arteries – she desperately needed specialized emergency surgery that would require hours of skill and patience by more than one highly qualified surgeon. Time was of the essence, and being advised that their little girl had very little of it left, her parents pleaded with the government authorities to help transport her to an appropriate hospital.
But there was a hitch. A really, really big hitch.
The family lived in Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and the only hospital capable of performing the required surgery was a day’s journey away, in Israel.
Being the Jew-hating Arab that he was, President Hussein refused, and the little girl died within a week.
End of story.
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Flash forward to last Wednesday, when just over a week old, Bayan Jabbar, barely enduring in a small Kurdish village near the Iraq city of Tikrit (the same town where a young Hussein learned to torture small rodents and kittens) and having the same heart defect, was quickly, safely and legally whisked across the Jordanian border and through the desert mountains all the way into Holon, Israel.
She underwent 18 hours of intense but successful surgery. Although still in critical condition, she was expected to survive as of this past weekend.
The difference is obvious, but the point seems to be missed by many around the world.
Although the first child mentioned was fictitious, Human Rights Organizations such as Freedom House estimate that thousands like her have existed over Hussein’s 30-year reign of terror. The very real little girl from last week survived, or at least has an opportunity to do so, directly because of the new freedoms that only now exist for the people of Iraq.
These unprecedented liberations exist because of the determination of the president of the United States and his tenacity in not bowing to misguided pressure or wasting time with the gratuitous games of so-called political insiders who refuse to digest any sense of history, especially recent history, unless it is dished out onto a self-serving silver platter with large spoons.
I watched with dismay and disgust as these partisan fools actually took to the airwaves last Friday, vainly attempting to twist a surprise and daring Thanksgiving visit to our troops in Baghdad into something evil and manipulative, as opposed to the bold and courageous show of support from a commander in chief that it was.
This is not a silly game of partisan politics, liberals versus conservatives, old Europe versus new Europe, and especially not Americans against the French (one explosion under the Eiffel Tower and they will again be “mendier aide”). This is a simple issue of good versus evil. Not in a religious or biblical sense, mind you, but a sense of common decency and compassion toward fellow man.
Forget all that blithe babble about whose deity is bigger or badder, or which one has been around longer or whose version of The Truth is more “true” than another’s. None of that nonsense really matters in the long run.
What matters is survival, and mankind has survived for hundreds of thousands of years in its present form, yet evolution’s ladder compels our species toward the same inevitable conclusion that it does all others – only the strong survive.
Our war against terrorism is nothing more than one clan (the terrorists) determined to bring a rival clan (the rest of us) to an abrupt end. Why is no longer even an issue, as these people want to kill us, plain and simple, and no flower-wielding pacifist or Bible-thumbing preacher will stand in their way of returning the entire planet into a single clan of cave-dwelling, women-beating, theocratic thugs.
Many of us tried to ignore the conflict as long as possible, the ultimate out-of-sight, out-of-mind twisted NIMBY scenario.
But once they brought it home to our soil, the wagons of patriotism were circled and we wound up a big ol’ Popeye-styled fist and sucker-punched ’em right back in their filthy narcissistic faces.
It takes a village, indeed.
It took over 40 years to defeat communism in its latest form, but some people think we can defeat this current form of terrorism in less than one-tenth of that time. Some people would also prefer to sit back and wait for more attacks on our home turf before reaching the conclusion that, “Hey, somebody should do something to stop these people.”
That somebody is the U.S. military, led by their commander in chief (cue up the John Philip Sousa music), President George W. Bush.
Some people need to learn to deal with it.
Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org