Here is President Hamid Karzai, the country's first democratically elected leader:
"Whatever we have achieved in Afghanistan--the peace, the election, the reconstruction, the life that the Afghans are living today in peace, the children going to school, the businesses, the fact that Afghanistan is again a respected member of the international community--is from the help that the United States of America gave us. Without that help Afghanistan would be in the hands of terrorists--destroyed, poverty-stricken, and without its children going to school or getting an education. We are very, very grateful, to put it in the simple words that we know, to the people of the United States of America for bringing us this day."
This is from a Unicef spokesman remarking on the changes he has witnessed in the 3 years he has been in Afghanistan:
" I still can't think of that day in 2002 - when my Afghan colleagues and I watched the first girls walk back into their schools - without my heart jumping."I have interviewed former child soldiers now learning to be carpenters; I have walked through the foothills of the Hindu Kush to monitor distribution of school supplies; I have visited projects where widows and other women have been able to earn an income in their own right for the first time in a decade; and I have drafted statements applauding Government commitments to key child rights legislation and international conventions, which in some cases set examples for other countries.
"So much progress, so many steps forward have been taken. As another year comes to an end, it seemed an appropriate moment to reflect on how rapidly life has changed for the better for so many Afghan children. Given the history of Afghanistan, a history steeped in conflict and chaos, those changes take on even greater significance."
She's linking to piece by Chernoff, but adds these key comments:
Liberals don't like to talk about Afghanistan because even they know it was a wonderful victory for Bush. But more importantly it was a wonderful victory for the world. The above statements give us a picture of how history will view this. Generations from now will read about the turning point of democracy in the middle east. It will begin with Afghanistan and God willing, it will continue through Iraq and others.
As our brave warriors continue to fight those in which freedom enrages, we should keep in our hearts the words above. May they soon be true for Iraq as well.
For every bad soldier shown on TV from the prison scandal to the AWOL thing, there are thousands and thousands soldiers like Matteson. Good strong brave men and women who not only fight for freedom, but build a better world.
So I say this to the American Soldier:
We offer are hearts full of gratitude to you who risk so much, who stand so strong, who fight so hard. When children of future generations do read about the cost of freedom in the middle east it will be you that wrote those words. It will be you that turned it all around. It will be you that history will remember as changing tyranny to democracy, fear to freedom, and war to peace.