Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi addressed the US Congress this morning, thanking America for the liberation of Iraq and pointing out that Iraq, despite all the problems, is on course for democracy.
It is absolutely critical that we stand by the people of Iraq and not leave until the job is finished. The only way that Iraq will descend into chaos is if we allow it to happen. We have an obligation to be strong and an moral duty to leave Iraq in a position to defend itself. Allawi has given our Congress a reminder of what we’re fighting against and what we’re fighting for. The future of not only Iraq is at stake, but the future of the Middle East itself. Either we support democracy and peace or we face yet more terrorism, including attacks that would dwarf September 11. The President in his recent speeches has strongly stood on the side of human liberty across the globe – and indeed the United States must continue to take action to ensure that liberty does not fade in Iraq.
UPDATE: The full text of Prime Minister Allawi’s remarks can be found here. It’s a very good speech, and Allawi said what needed to be said and his tone was gracious and hopeful, as it should have been.
On the other hand, John Kerry’s reaction to Allawi was beyond atrocious. He arrogantly dimissed Allawi, and didn’t even bother to make it to see him at the Capitol. I agree with Jim Geraghty on this one, this was a very boneheaded move on Kerry’s part. It makes him look small, arrogant, and defeatist, and utterly demolishes his line about respecting our allies.
Geraghty is correct in stating that Kerry could have shown himself to be much more tactful by meeting Allawi and offering to work with him in getting more nations involved in Iraq. That kind of missed opportunity is one of the many reasons why Kerry just does not have what it takes to serve as the leader of this country.