THIS week marked the 10th anniversary of the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, ending a 25-year reign of terror. It included the slaughter of 300,000 civilians by his regime, a major war with Iran and the invasion of Kuwait.
In a column in the Washington Post, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had good news.
"Iraq is building an inclusive political system, with free multiparty elections, a multiethnic government and an independent judiciary," Maliki wrote.
"Our gross domestic product is expected to grow by an average of at least 9.4 percent annually through 2016. Last year, we surpassed Iran to become OPEC's second largest producer of crude oil."
Al-Maliki also made this point: "Iraq is not a
protectorate of the United States; it is a sovereign partner."
His words vindicate Gen. Colin Powell, who shortly before the war began was confronted at an international conference in 2003. The Archbishop of Canterbury contended that "nation building" was a euphemism for empire building.
"We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last 100 years and we've done this as
recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace," Powell said.
"But there comes a time when soft power or talking with evil will not work where, unfortunately, hard power is the only thing that works."
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MONDAY is the deadline for filing tax returns, but Americans will continue to pay taxes, taxes and more taxes.
Indeed, every dime Americans earn in 108 of the 365 days in 2013 will go to the government in some form of taxes, the Tax Foundation said.
That's based on U.S. taxpayers forking over $2.76 trillion in federal taxes and $1.45 trillion in state and local taxes — a whopping $4.22 trillion or 29.4 percent of all income.
Since next Thursday is the 108th day of the year, the foundation has declared it national Tax Freedom Day.
It also calculated such a day for each state. West Virginians will have to wait until Friday to celebrate, as it takes them 109 days to pay their tax bill.