Austin Bay
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Besides, empowering technology isn't the only miracle here. Danziger's effort would not be possible without another profound miracle: the reality of an emerging Iraqi democracy -- a political system that allows the individual voice to be heard.

A second video went up this week. In that video, a questioner asks, "What would you like to say to those who want American troops to leave Iraq tomorrow?"

The woman replies: "I can only imagine the tragic consequences that would follow ... and the blood ... and the price we'd have to pay. ... A disaster."

A city side-street, bright with sunlight, provides the background. A shadow, however, hides the speaker's face, for she fears reprisal. Yet her voice is clear and her words certain.

It's also certain that if Saddam Hussein were still in power, or the misogynists in al-Qaida ever gained power, we would never hear her voice at all.

The shadow of war continues to haunt Iraq, as does the shadow of Saddam Hussein's destructive tyranny. Other shadows of the past darken Iraq's present: the Treaty of Versailles' unfair treatment of Arabs, Islam's fossilization, Islam's Shia-Sunni fault line and Arab tribalism.

Yet in the midst of it, the incremental miracle of democratic change is also occurring.

The terror aimed at them by sectarian and political fascists has not cowed the Iraqi people. They know the long-term stakes and rewards.

When I was serving in Iraq, several Iraqis told me they knew democracy was "our big chance." One man said Iraq had the opportunity to "escape bad history." I hear those same voices in Danziger's interviews. The Iraqi people have suffered the hells of the past and are confronting the bombs of the present because they have hope for the future. Abandoning them would be a damnable, destructive and utterly foolish act.

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Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
 
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