Monday, December 13, 2004

Blogging and Freedom

The power of blogging, modern communications and the internet is hurdling the gatekeepers and asserting itself. deserves a look. Estimates are that there are already 100+ English language Iraqi bloggers; the software to create Arabic blogs is now being beta-tested and will shortly be in use by Iraqis. No country in the Arab world comes close.

I learned all this by attending a reception held by Jim Hake of, a volunteer group that supplies sewing machines, dental kits, tool kits and all sorts of useful tools to help Iraqis help themselves.

The Marines swear by Hake's group and their work. Volunteer procurement beats anything that government channels are capable of, improves people's lives, makes friends and makes allied troops safer.

It is hard not to get emotional when hearing bloggers Omar and Mohammed, U.S. trained Iraqi dentists who are touring the U.S. (they met with Pres. Bush), discuss their efforts and the impacts of Hake's work.

The Iraqis' message was clear. Iraqis want freedom and democracy; they are grateful for coalition support and they wish it to endure while they move forward.

"Wilsonian" foreign adventures are sniffed at by smart people. Yet, what are the alternatives in a world with too many failed states, a corrupt U.N, craven Europeans, and easy access to the tools of mass destruction (including airliners). In Wilson's day, tyranny's victims were less able to help themselves. In modern Iraq, a growing army of bloggers is providing a powerful alternative to Al Jazeera.