Jewish World Review Dec. 22, 2004 / 10 Teves, 5765

Joe Scarborough

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Terror or democracy | As troops sat down for lunch under skies described as brilliant blue by a reporter on the scene, mortar shells ripped through a US base near Mosul — killing at least 20 soldiers stationed there.

Just as U.S. casualties spiked on and after D-day, we can expect more deaths in the coming weeks leading up to Iraq's first election.

We all know every soldier's death is tragic.

But for the parents, children, and loved ones of those twenty American soldiers, the pain they will endure in the coming months and years will be unbearable.

I have looked into the eyes of young children who lost their fathers to terror attacks. Somehow, telling them that their dad died for a great cause was pathetically inadequate for such times.

All you can do is hug them and let them know you will keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Seven years after whispering my condolences to young boy from my district after he lost his father in the Khobar Towers attack, I still remember the lost look in his eyes.

The nine-year-old really didn't comprehend what was going on at the time, and I'm sure he still asks G-d every night why he was left to go though his teenage years without a father by his side.

Such a loss must be crushing, complete, forever.

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So why did we allow that to happen to twenty more American families today?

Why are we in Iraq?

Why don't we spare others and bring our young men and women home?

Great questions. In fact, they are the same questions Americans could have asked sixty years ago, as young servicemen were dying by the tens of thousands in Hitler's Europe and the South Pacific.

Even in that "good war", U.S. families had to deal with immeasurable personal losses. But they knew America no other option but to fight the war against Hitler to the end.

Despite polls out this week suggesting otherwise, most Americans understand we have no other choice but to defeat these terrorists in Iraq unless we want to face them on the streets of America.

The choice is clear: terror or democracy.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair understood that today while speaking to his troops in a surprise visit to Baghdad.

"The danger that people feel here is coming from terrorists and insurgents who are trying to destroy the possibility of this country becoming a democracy. Now where do we stand in that fight? We stand on the side of the democrats against the terrorists. And so when people say to me, 'Well look at the difficulties, look at the challenges,' I say, 'Well, what's the source of that challenge?'

"The source of that challenge is a wicked, destructive attempt to stop this man, this lady, all these people from Iraq, who want to decide their own future in a democratic way, having that opportunity.

"And where should the rest of the world stand? To say, 'Well, that's your problem, go and look after it,' or, 'You're better off with Saddam Hussein running the country' — as if the only choice they should have in the world is a choice between a brutal dictator killing hundreds of thousands of people or terrorists and insurgents.

"There is another choice for Iraq — the choice is democracy, the choice is freedom — and our job is to help them get there because that's what they want. Sometimes when I see some of the reporting of what's happening in Iraq in the rest of the world, I just feel that people should understand how precious what has been created here is."

There is no doubt that the British Prime Minister was hearing the same complaints about press coverage from his troops that I hear from US soldiers in Iraq. They tell me that while there are bombings and assorted terror attacks, the good they are doing in that country far outweighs the evil being spread by the Islamic terrorists.

Still, many in the press are questioning why the security situation has gotten worse in Iraq in recent months. As I discussed yesterday, the answer is in the memo written by Iraq's reigning terror kingpin, al Zarqawi.

He has told his gang of terrorists that once free elections and democracy takes hold in Iraq, their day is done. The government will gain legitimacy and all those attacking security forces will be seen as enemies of the first freely elected government in Middle East history.

This is the worst case scenario for Zarqawi and Bin Laden.

The past century has taught us that freedom is on the march in all regions of the world except the Middle East. A peaceful democratic revolution in Iraq will have an historic impact on Iran, Syria, and the rest of the Arab world.

With that freedom will come learning, enlightenment, hope, prosperity, and liberation — liberation from hate, bigotry, and Osama Bin Laden's dark vision.

The choice is clear: terror or democracy. Bin Laden or Blair. Freedom or tyranny.

Let's pray to G-d that on the 60th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge, the American people will posses the same resolve that their brave men in women in uniform carry with them every day as they wake up for work in Iraq.

Circle January 30th our D-day, because our enemies know as Hitler did in 1944, that a U.S. victory on that date means the beginning of the end for the forces of evil.

And may G-d bless those who gave their lives in the service of our country and our civilization earlier today. History will understand more clearly than today's scribes why these soldiers' service to America was so critical to our country and our world.

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Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) hosts “Scarborough Country,” 10 p.m. ET, weeknights on MSNBC. He is the author of the recently published "Rome Wasn't Burnt in a Day : The Real Deal on How Politicians, Bureaucrats, and Other Washington Barbarians are Bankrupting America". (Click HERE to purchase. Sales help fund JWR.)Comment by clicking here.

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