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From the Publisher~Art Hall 2/15/2006

By Rick Racela

“Don’t believe anything you hear, and only half of what you see.”
(Variously attributed to both Will Rogers and Mark Twain)
From The Publisher
  New Europe Believes in Iraq
 December 16, 2005, the Slovak, Czech, Polish and Hungarian ambassadors to the United States joined together to publish a letter on Iraq in the Wall Street Journal to the American people.
Now that the Christmas craziness is over and our lives have resumed a modicum of normalcy, I want to touch on what they wrote. It is too easy to get a skewed impression of what is happening over there by relying solely on the news media interpretations.
To illustrate my point, a former pastor, Dr. Bill Wenker, of the Crest Methodist Church told me that when he was in the Navy he had worked in the Pentagon and regularly saw media stunts put together that created false impressions in the minds of the viewers. 
Whether the media were siding with the demonstrators or just needed to find a story—who knows.
He told me that a handful of people would call the TV networks and say that there was going to be a demonstration in front of the Pentagon at, say, 11 a.m. The demonstrators and the media would all show up at 11; the media would wait while the “demonstrators” would get set up, the cameras would roll, and  a few minutes later the whole thing was over and everybody would leave. 
He said: You’d see it that night on the evening news and you’d think there’d been a big demonstration, and it was all concocted by a handful of people.
* * *
 What is really going on in Iraq?  It’s hard to know, but per the letter mentioned above, these European countries believe Iraq’s problems will pan out over time, and they are working with us to make it happen. 
 They wrote about how hard life was for them under the Soviets, and that they are where they are today by “believing in the transformational power of  democracy and the market economy.  But we needed others to believe in us, too. We could not have made it alone.”
 Now that they are free and democratic nations, “we have a duty to help others achieve  the security and prosperity that we now enjoy.  That is why we have been part of the coalition to help democracy emerge in Iraq.”
 They go on to write that “Establishing democracy in Iraq was never going to be easy.  Yet it is essential for the political and economic stability of the entire Middle East—and vital for the security of our countries.”
 Their nations are hanging in there with us due to their belief that the Iraqis “are capable of securing their future.”  These allies know from experience that “Democratic  transition is a long, painful process.” 
 They believe their support in this war is uniquely helpful. “Maybe it takes countries with vivid recollections of tyranny to serve as the institutional memory of a larger community of democracies.  If so, we are ready to fulfill that role.”  
      Art Hall, publisher
Please send comments to: FromThePublisher@CMCHerald.com
 

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