Friday, August 19, 2005

Understanding the culture

The MSM is a source of frustration as we try to gauge progress in Iraq, but there are other barriers that we need to understand as well. I've done little travel outside of the U.S., but it seems obvious that people the world over share basic human concerns - safety, health, care for family, etc. What continues to surprise me is how much variety exists in the means used to satisfy these needs in other cultures.

Our troops in Iraq have the chance to see these differences every day as they deal with the Iraqi people. For example, over at RightBrains, one returned soldier describes some of the Divisions that hinder Democracy in Iraq. It is from one man's perspective, but it opened my eyes a little more on the challenges that are in front of us, and in front of the Iraq people trying to unify their society.

Occasionally I hear the viewpoint that we can't make Democracy work in Iraq, as if the people aren't ready for it, and maybe never will be. Aside from the fact that I find this to be a depressing thought - I just find it hard to believe. I believe that there are many who are afraid to change their patterns, in the face of danger from the terrorists. But more and more, they will see that the terrorists are losing, and that the future allows them to build new patterns.

Besides - as Bill points out today at the Castle, we must continue this fight, and win it ... because the alternative is no safety - for the Iraqis, or for the rest of us.