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World War II.

In some ways, Bush on June 2 told graduates at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, the struggles in the Middle East now resemble "the great clashes of the last century between those who put their trust in tyrants and those who put their trust in liberty... Like the Second World War, our present conflict began with a ruthless surprise attack on the United States (9/11)... We will not forget that...and we will accept nothing less than victory over the enemy. Our goal...is the same. We will secure our nation and defend the peace through the forward march of freedom".

Throughout his comments, Bush sought to knit together the themes of this century's war on terrorism and the last century's against totalitarianism, saying: "Like the murderous ideologies of the 20th century, the ideology of terrorism reaches across borders". Terrorists, Bush added, sought "to impose a grim vision in which dissent is crushed and every man and woman must think and live in colorless conformity". To this, he said, the world was offering "the great alternative of human liberty".

During World War I, the victorious British entered Baghdad and told its inhabitants they were "liberated" from years of "Ottoman tyranny". The British then took the three vilayets of Mosul, Baghdad and Basra to form what is today Iraq. The Kurds, Sunni Arabs and Shiite Arabs had little in common with each other except for their animosity towards the British. To these communities "liberation" meant "occupation" and they united to end it. The British response was to create a Hashemite monarchy sympathetic to their wishes in 1921. By 1958, the Iraqis again united to overthrow a government too subservient to the British. It was in the chaos following the 1958 revolution that allowed a tyrant like Saddam to climb to power.

Neocons For Kurdish State: Some of the neocons now say one thing still seems solid in Iraq: Kurdish reliability. The Kurdish zone in northern Iraq has loomed large as a beacon of stability. Formally emancipating it can further enhance this process, and help establish an island of stability "whose impact can inspire the rest of former Iraq, and much of the broader Middle East".

If anyone needed proof of the "distorted and unworkable way" in which modern Iraq was built, they argue, the past year's events supplied it amply. The Sunni minority's frequent refusal to join hands with their Shiite neighbours speaks volumes of the ethnic outlook that makes Iraq tick. Also by that logic, they say, "the Kurds deserve a state". As the handover of civilian power in Iraq approaches, the world powers may want to make a point of imposing an independent Kurdistan on its neighbours, "if not for the sake of justice, then at least for the sake of stability".
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Title Annotation:George W. Bush's remarks to the graduates at the Air Force Academy
Publication:APS Diplomat News Service
Geographic Code:7IRAQ
Date:Jun 14, 2004
Words:466
Previous Article:The Course To Nov In Iraq.
Next Article:The Shammar Re-emerge.
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