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Most Iraqis will tell you that they want to be part of the solution. They want their government to be accountable, and in that accountability, they expect basic services to be provided. They want their voices to be heard. They want a better life for their children. They want access to information that empowers them to chart a course for the future that will bring peace and prosperity.
Does any of this sound familiar? When America’s forefathers — men such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin — declared independence and went to war for the freedoms that we not only revere but export, they did so because they simply wanted a say. They wanted to be heard. They wanted a fair shake, and they wanted to control their destiny.
We are a nation of laws, but also of common sense, and our sense of fairness is only rivaled, perhaps, by our capacity to adapt to new realities. A law that is no longer relevant threatens our security, undermines our national interest and relegates us to the bleachers when we have for so long been a leader on the world stage.
George Papagiannis was director of communications for Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during the 105th Congress. After a stint as officer in charge of the UNESCO office in Baghdad, he now works on media development in post-conflict and post-disaster countries for the organization.