The new Iraqi President speaks
Jallal Talbani, the new Iraqi President, seems to be paying attaention to american history. He seems to be following the Teddy Roosevelt model of "Speak Softly and carry a big stick!" in this editorial he wrote for the WSJ ( Hat-tip Stefania). Here is the moneyshot: My door will always be open to those who genuinely renounce violence and seek peaceful accommodation into our nascent democracy. That is why I proposed, in my first speech as head of state, an amnesty for those who have been led astray by terrorism. But while the new Iraq is open to all, there must be no underestimating our determination to vanquish terrorism. Conciliation is not capitulation, nor is compromise to be deemed equivalent to imbalanced concession. Rather, it is through conciliation and compromise that we are building a fair Iraq, a just state for all its peoples. Democracies, unlike dictatorships, are forgiving and generous, but they cannot survive unless they fight. And fight we shall. The choice of peace or war lies not with the Iraqis who ignored terrorism and intimidation to vote in their millions, the Iraqis to whom I am accountable. No, that decision lies with the terrorist minority that despises freedom and spurns every offered opportunity to enter the political process. The attacks on election officials, the suicide bombings of voters, and the cowardly attacks on brave Iraqis waiting in line to join our fledgling security forces are not the tactics of "resistance" or "freedom fighters" but of murderers and criminals. Nor are the terrorists by any stretch of the imagination the repressed or the disadvantaged. They chose violence despite consistent exhortations to contribute to the new Iraq. They are, for the most part, representatives of the old regime, Baathists who gorged themselves on their compatriots' riches. They are not the dispossessed of the earth but those who have been deprived of their palaces. Damn straight! You hear that Raed? Slaying terrorism, and the extremist nationalism and perversion of religion that breeds it, will require our greatest effort, both as Iraqis and as new members of the alliance of democracies. We will again and again ask and work with our neighbors to assist us by controlling their borders, intercepting the transmission of funds to the terrorists and by handing over Baathist fugitives. We, in turn, will work with our neighbors to ensure that Iraq is never again a haven for terrorists. All such foreign-armed groups in Iraq must be neutralized and rendered harmless in a manner that is just and legal. Iraqis, the victims of the vilest stratagems and subterfuges, will not fight a "dirty war." I am really starting to like this guy. Read the whole thing here.