Sunday, January 30, 2005

Yoga and Iraq

I was planning on sleeping for a few more hours. I’m exhausted after a week of meetings and speeches at the World Economic Forum in Davos. We accomplished a lot.

Hillary got up early this morning as she usually does. After taking a shower she came back into the bedroom to do her Yoga exercises. I don’t understand why she doesn’t do them in another room. I can’t sleep while she is close by tying herself in the most amazing knots. I can’t sleep. I worry she will break her neck. So I got up and moved to another room, since these exercises usually continue for about an hour and a half. It does give me the opportunity to say something important though.

I would like to encourage all Iraqis to vote. You might be afraid, but what can the terrorists do to you that 35 years of Saddam’s dictatorial rule hasn’t done to you already? This is the reason you must vote. You must end this state of fear you’ve been living in for the past decades. Don’t let yourself be imprisoned again. Don’t change one dictator for another one. One ruling through rape rooms, one through cutting throats. This is your chance. You must use it. No matter what.

I know a lot of Iraqis are afraid to go out and vote. I know a lot of people, especially here in the United States blame ambassador Paul Bremer and Don Rumsfeld for the lack of security. They blame them for disbanding the old Iraqi army, leaving a security void, which was filled by looters and terrorists.

I disagree with those voices. If the old army, stuffed with the minority Sunnis and Baathists was still around, they would pose organized opposition to the new civilian authorities. You cannot build a civil society with an armed group as powerful as the old Iraqi army still in place. Civil authorities must be in control of the army. Not the other way around. In the long run, building an army up from the ground will prove to have been a wise decision

Apart from that, having 300,000 armed and highly organized Sunni and Baathist soldiers close to and amidst 125,000 American soldiers is a risk no American president can take.

So again, I would like to say to the Iraqis. Go out and vote. Your future and the future of your children is in your hands.