Published: Monday, 29 December 2003 12:59
While glancing through National Review Online, I found a guest columnist and his article, Khaddafi's "Conversion".
Written by the former head of Romania's foreign intelligence, who "ran" Khaddafi for the Soviet Union, we get the impression that Khaddafi is being more smart than scared.
Whether he's smart, scared or whatever, as long as we can know for certain that Khaddafi has no WMD and no ties to terrorism, he's clean as far as we are concerned. We have no strategic interest in his country as long as he keeps his nose clean. As Ronald Reagan once said, "Trust, but verify."
I don't care what spots he has as long as they pose no danger to us. That might sound rather harsh, but look at the reality. The US cannot depose every dictator, no matter how brutal. At least not in any quick succession. The rest of the world either doesn't care or is unable to do so by their own internal problems.
And while freedom is every person's birthright, it remains something that must be earned, not given. Freedom is a scary way to live. Not only can you win big, you can also lose big as well. Freedom to starve is right next to freedom to succeed. That's why we as Americans are so successful. We know there is nobody to catch us if we fail. Very few of us who reach for the stars get there on the first attempt. It is by failure that gives us the incentive to try again, and harder. In brutal dictatorships where any success is seen as a threat to the State, no one tries. Because the reward for success and failure is death. In places like Iraq was, doing nothing also could get you a trip into the plastic shredder. So again, there is no incentive to try very much. You eke out what you can and hope you don't attract the attention of the secret police.
I stand by what I said when I wrote that freedom must be earned, not given. The people of Iraq have not been given freedom yet, but rather the removal of the yoke of dictatorship. They must still earn it. Iraqis are only learning about the fundamentals of freedom today, they are getting the payoff of freedom first. They still have to learn the responsibility part. It takes eternal vigilance on the part of the people to make sure freedom stays free. The people of Iraq can still lose their freedom before it ever gets off the ground if they do not wisely choose their form of government. Hopefully we will steer them down the proper path.