Rich Tucker

?The war in Iraq has become a war against the American occupation,? Kennedy claimed in a speech on Jan. 27. But that ignores something he noted later in the same speech: ?The tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed last year included nearly a thousand members of the new Iraqi security forces, and a hundred more have been lost this year.? Kennedy?s own words explain that Iraqis are paying a higher price for their freedom than we are.

The insurgents realize that once democracy takes root in Iraq, they?ll be out of business. That?s why they did everything possible to prevent a vote. ?We have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and those who follow this wrong ideology,? terrorist leader Abu Musab Zarqawi announced last week. ?Anyone who tries to help set up this system is part of it.?

Zarqawi is Jordanian, and his terrorists are far less popular in Iraq than Americans are. ?Every day we get more and more tips from the Iraqi people, who are standing up and identifying these murderers and thugs,? Maj. Web Wright, a spokesman for the U.S. Army?s 10th Mountain Division told The Washington Post. After the elections, Zarqawi will see his pool of supporters shrink even more.

It will be days, maybe even weeks, before we know exactly which candidates will sit in Iraq?s new National Assembly. But what?s happening this weekend is historic: Millions of Iraqis are braving terrorist threats and voting. Some polls estimate 80 percent of the population will go to the polls.

Things could still go horribly wrong in Iraq. It might collapse into anarchy, or a dictator might rise to power and rule for decades as Saddam Hussein did.

But the folks lined up to vote this weekend are specifically voting against such a future.
Americans are expanding freedom to the Middle East. So, to make a bold prediction: Future generations will be proud of our efforts in Iraq today, and will be safer for them.

Rich Tucker

Rich Tucker is a communications professional and a columnist for