Sunday, January 30, 2005

The "birthday" of a Nation

Today is the day. The news will be full of stories on the Iraqi elections....well, let me reconsider that. If it's a disater, and many people are killed, the process disrupted and the goal of uncoerced voting occurs, we will be completely overwhelmed by "NEWS." On the other hand, if a nation decides to step up to the plate, as reports indicate, and begin to make a place of thier own, with women freely voting, right next to the men, and every citizen of legal age even having the right to vote, or not vote, as is their own personal choice, then the news will give us a few brief remarks, most likely with an over tone of "it was rigged." I'm not prophet, but by using the past (Afghani elections), I'm making this prediction of the future. This is a historic day. It is also a day that will not reward us with its goodness until many years from now. My evidence you ask? Simple. Japan and Germany. Poland, and a host of other formerly Soviet Block controlled countries. I spent 6 years developing, distributing and supporting a PC based computer program that took the time requirements out of keeping up to date records on qualification in the wake to the gun turret explosion aboard USS IOWA (BB-62). As a result, the administrative offices actually started keeping the records up to date, and watchbills were more accurately prepared, and the process of planning how to get someone qualified was better managed. I bring this up because it is like the case of these elections in that I can never prove how many lives may have been saved, or dollars not spent to repair damage, when an under- or unqualified sailor or officer attempted to do something outside of their capabilities, but I inherently know it must have. The program made it's way to over 120 ships, from mine countermeasure ships and hydrofoils, and all the way up to aircraft carriers. When this election process reaches fruition, and the candiates are put in place with a mandate (yes, that's what happens when you are elected, ask Bill Clinton) to make a safe and peaceful country, we'll not be able to count the lives that are not snuffed out because the hatred dies down. I've often thought it would be illuminating to sit down and do some population math. If you begin by computing the annual death rate under Saddam Hussien, you can simply project that since his ousting from power, the people who would have been killed for sport and political expediency, are still here. Each day, more people survive as a result of the freeing of Iraq. The harder math comes when I'd have to study the process of population growth, in order to predict how many births will now occur, how many marriages will do like-wise, and also result in a following generation, etc, etc, etc, to help us get a handle on just how important this entire process of this war has been. Even if you're one stuck in the "WHERE ARE THE WMDs?" world, can you honestly tell me you hate the fact that the dignity of human life has been enhanced, or might you be so calloused to have allowed Saddam Hussien to continue his fratricidal ambitions? Greyhawk of the The Mudville Gazette has some excellent reading on reports from different cities in Iraq, complete with comments from those who will risk their lives to vote, becasue they see this as something special.

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