Lt. Col. Scott  Rutter

While the world sits on the sidelines, the U.S. continues to plug away at progress in Iraq. As we wait to hear the results of the surge, we are provided with a daily media reminder of the failure of the Iraqi government to meet the benchmarks established by the U.S. In the end, will we call this a military fiasco, with pundits claiming we should never have gone to war and that George Bush’s steadfastness was nothing more than stubbornness?

The lens of history provides an opportunity to pave a new path in Iraq. For over five years, the world has watched and doubted. Developed nations with similar interests have lacked the fortitude to become leading fighters in the War on Terror. Except for a select few, some have sent only token troops, most none, and financial aid has been arbitrary and unsteady in the face of continued uncertainty. But, we know from history, that national recovery after war is imperative to the development of free societies.

After WWII, Germany and Japan would never have emerged from the destruction of their totalitarian leadership without financial and political assistance from victor countries. The fall of these governments endangered stability in Europe and the Pacific. Had not the allies shored up these countries, continued conflict would have ensued.

Post WWII set the stage for the seeds of the Cold War, pitting the U.S. and democratic capitalism against Soviet communism. Without stability in Europe and Asia, weak countries could have been surreptitiously shrouded by the cloak of communism, changing forever the future of the world and the people that live in freedom in Europe and Japan.

We face that same risk in Iraq. Without the leadership of all free loving nations, Iraq will be consumed by the forces of extremism that exist in Iran and neighbor countries.

With the military component of the surge operating with a good level of success, thanks to General Petraeus and all the brave men and women on the ground in Iraq, it is time for the world to grasp this opportunity to pave the way for freedom in the Middle East. International financial institutions must be developed to help Iraq and other Middle Eastern countries that desire freedom. Reliance and domination of oil based protectorates in the region must face competition from the global strength of capitalism and democratic will.

Lt. Col. Scott Rutter

Silver Star Recipient Lt. Col. Scott Rutter commanded the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry, capturing Baghdad International Airport during the combat phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Lt. Col. Rutter is a frequent speaker for Young America's Foundation on college campuses across the country. You can listen to their podcasts here.

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