I read an interesting article last week which was linked through the WSJ’s opinion column, Opinionjournal.com:
UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations official charged with election assistance yesterday threw a barb at American troops in Iraq,accusing them of conducting an “overenthusiastic” campaign to promote this weekend’s Iraqi election.
The chief of the U.N. Electoral Assistance Division, Carina Perelli, was asked in a press conference about reports that American troops helped Iraqi officials distribute information on the electoral process to Iraqi citizens, and encouraged them to participate in Sunday’s vote.
Ms. Perelli said that U.N. officials spent time “asking, begging military commanders precisely not to do that,” but the time has not been well-spent. The Americans were “overenthusiastic in trying to help out with these elections,” she said. “We have basically been saying they should try to minimize their participation because this is an Iraqi process.”
At the same time, she acknowledged that the U.N. itself is “not happy” with the way information on the election was disseminated. There are 22 U.N. election experts stationed in Baghdad as part of an international group of 40 election workers advising the Iraqi Independent Electoral Commission, she said.
So, what I’m reading from this quote, and the full article posted here, is that the UN, as usual, was fumbling the ball when it came to Iraqi get-out-the-vote efforts, yet they were unhappy that US troops were out there doing the job for them? Yep, sounds like typical UN “efficiency” to me.
Of course, what most people forget is that US troops have long been what I like to call “evangelists for liberty.” These are people who, like us, grew up living, breathing, eating, and sleeping, the freedoms that we’ve all enjoyed as citizens of this nation.
The major difference, however, between those of us who have not served in the military and those who do serve is that they’ve taken an additional step. They have actually put their lives on the line for our freedoms, and, because of that, know the value of liberty better than anyone.
They’ve lived our freedoms here in the US, fought to protect them overseas, and now they are living examples of America’s zeal for democracy. Who better in all the world than our troops to help get out the vote?
If Ms. Perelli had any common sense, this is what her quote would have looked like in last week’s New York Sun:
Ms. Perelli said that, “our own get-out-the-vote efforts were hampered in many ways, however, US Troops enthusiastically supported all of our efforts and were able to have a much broader impact because of their already-established ties to the communities they’ve been assigned to protect throughout Iraq. These men and women showed in no uncertain terms how much they care about the future of Iraq.”
Yes, I know. It’s too much to expect from any UN official, isn’t it?
Well, at least we, the ones served most directly by our best and brightest, can offer up our thanks and gratitude for what they’ve done. It was their blood, their sacrifice, and their determination that paved the way for that history-setting vote yesterday.
Thanks to you, our men and women in the military, the world is a better place today than it was just two days ago. Thanks to you, we live in a freer world. You are the world’s fiercest warriors, and America’s greatest ambassadors.