In the past few months, the Arab news media -- and thus, the Arab public that accepts everything negative about the "West" that it is fed without questioning it -- has focused its rhetoric on an American "occupation" its so-called "professional" journalists feared would follow a successful military campaign launched against the regime of Saddam Hussein (search).
Well, that thing they feared has come, but it is by no means an "occupation." And people everywhere should refrain from calling it as such -- unless, of course, it becomes evident that it is one, both de facto and with regards to its intent.
Although American officials have not formally stated that the war is over, what we are witnessing now are the very beginnings of a post-war Iraq. And it is nonsensical, absurd and preposterous that Arabs are already calling for American troops to leave Iraq, when their job is not yet even done.
In a way, the United States is "damned if it does, and damned if it doesn't." If America was to leave Iraq immediately (and it won't), Arabs would be quick to raise the allegation that the United States never cared about the Iraqi people, that it did not stay long enough to change the humanitarian situation on the ground there, that it did not implement the democratic and economic reform it claimed it wanted to bring the people of Iraq and that it came to the Middle East with the sole intention of destroying a defiant Arab country that posed a challenge to the West.
If America stays on, though (and it will), Arabs, as they are today, will be quick to launch into their conspiracy theories of American "domination," "subjugation," "imperialism (search)," "colonialism" and "expansionism."
But the facts speak for themselves. Neither Saddam nor his remains have been found and no weapons of mass destruction have been located. But the United States will not -- and should not -- leave before this investigation is done.
America went into all of this with the intent to change Iraq once and for all, to bring about democratic reform to its citizens and to welcome all of its inhabitants back into the international community. And it's about time. Too long have the Iraqi people been the victims of their own brutal dictator and too long has their plight been ignored by the international community. Ironically, if Arabs had it their way, to this day the Iraqi people would remain oppressed and subjugated.
George W. Bush is completing a task that his father never did. Coalition forces are liberating the Iraqi people today and Iraqis are thankful for that. Yes, many have died in the past 28 days. But how many scores more have died since Saddam's reign of terror began on July 16, 1979? How many more Iraqis would have unjustly perished had the Arabs gotten their way and Saddam been left to rule?
The Arab news media (search) must quit spinning its web of lies. And its captive audiences must not accept all that they are told. The United States went to Iraq with conviction and with a sense of duty, with the intention of ridding the Iraqi people of their brutal regime, of opening Iraq up to rule by its people and not one ruthless man, and of bringing about the necessary conditions for regional peace and stability.
Although I am not suggesting such a commitment will be necessary for Iraq, aren't Germany and Japan better off today, despite four and seven years, respectively, of American military rule decades ago?
Only time will tell.
Khalid Itum received his B.A. from Johns Hopkins in May 2002 and is now studying International Relations and Economics, concentrating in Middle East Studies and International Finance, at the School of Advanced International Studies. He is a contributing columnist for The Johns Hopkins Newsletter, the campus newspaper where this column originally appeared. Students at Johns Hopkins University watch the Fox News Channel on their campus cable system.