Middle East democracy will take time to achieve

Guest Column by Ryan Smith

For anyone who hasn’t noticed, the war in Iraq is over and has been for nearly two months now.

When the last U.S. troops crossed the border into Kuwait there was no fanfare, no parade, and nothing here state side to mark the ending of the eight year war that seemed to have so many in this country caring about what happened in Iraq.

No one really cared; it was just the cool thing to be opposed to on college campuses and in coffee shops. The criticism is still there today.

Everyone loves to show how the United States “failed” because Iraq has been left with a weak central government fighting to keep control of the country. Civil unrest and violence still occurs once in awhile.

People are still left without basic services and the Iraqi Army, while able to deal with internal threats, could not hope to stand up to a foreign threat.

There is no denying these facts, but does this really mean democracy has failed and that the United States failed?

Perhaps we should not be so quick to judge and declare failure.

Freedom is not easy and democracy takes time, creating a nation takes time and there are growing pains. Consider our own country’s origins.

We were a country with a weak federal government and no national identity. We were fiercely divided over how our new constitution should be written and the role government would play. Violence between rival political parties was almost common place.

Our military was so weak that even dealing with the small Whiskey Rebellion was a major struggle and our ability to deal with outside threats was nonexistent.

Our government paid ransom to the Barbary States to allow our merchant ships to pass freely through the Mediterranean Sea until 1803.

During the War of 1812 against England, our nation’s capital was sacked and burned: a pretty rough start to a nation by any standard.

But our nation grew and persevered through the worst of it all, even after nearly 100 years of existence and enduring a civil war that cost over 200,000 people their lives.

Iraq, and point of fact, all the new democracies of the Middle East have their growing pain to go through, just as we did, just as every other nation earth has done.

Freedom and democracy takes time, hard work, sacrifice and sometimes even blood to succeed.

This is a price paid by thousands across the world. Maybe we should not be so quick to write them off and to write off the sacrifices we made there.

Change does not occur over night and it does not come easy. It has never come easy for any nation in history.

We should all keep this in mind before we pass judgment on Iraq and the new democracies of the Middle East. History has a lot to teach us.