Rich Tucker

 To paraphrase Churchill: Democracy is dangerous. But it?s less dangerous than all the other political systems out there.

 Democracy is dangerous because it puts power in the hands of the people, so terrorists will attempt to use it against us by swaying public opinion. They?re doing that in Iraq.

On Oct. 19, terrorists kidnapped Margaret Hassan, the director of CARE International in Baghdad. They later released a tape of her begging for her life. The tape was carried, of course, on al Jazeera, the terrorist?s mouthpiece network.

?Please help me, please help me, these might be my last hours,? Hassan begged. ?Please British people ask Mr. Blair to pull the troops from Iraq and not bring them to Baghdad. Please, please I beg of you, the British people, to help me. I don?t want to die like [Kenneth] Bigley. I beg of you, I beg of you.?

The tape is a good illustration of how changeable the terrorist?s demands are and why we can?t negotiate with them. It wasn?t until two days after Hassan was captured that the British government announced it would shift some troops to Baghdad. She wasn?t seized so the terrorists could protest troop movements -- that?s simply another grievance tacked on by the terrorists after they?d already kidnapped her.

Hassan also mentioned Kenneth Bigley, another British citizen abducted and used by the terrorists. He was beheaded in October because the British government wouldn?t negotiate with his captors. Obviously, the killers are going to keep trying to use violence to bend Britain?s democracy to their will. After it became clear the British wouldn?t meet their demands, the terrorists executed Hassan on Nov. 16.

But here?s where democracy is dangerous for the terrorists. At the same time they want to use it against the West, democracy would spell defeat for them. That?s why they?re doing everything possible to defeat democracy and freedom on the ground in Iraq.

An especially audacious attack came on Oct. 23, when terrorists killed some 49 newly trained Iraqi National Guard recruits. The unarmed guardsmen were shot execution-style. Many were found with their arms tied behind their backs. Clearly the terrorists realize that, once Iraq is a functioning democracy, they?ll be out of business. So they?re doing everything possible to disrupt the process through kidnappings and killings.

Unfortunately, that?s not how some on the street see things. In The Washington Post, an Iraqi citizen named Salman Mohammed blamed others for the attack. ?I think that there are foreign countries that want to destroy these forces. I think the Zionists are behind that. They want to make this country collapse . . . to extend their state from the Nile to the Euphrates.?

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for