Middle Eastern cultures, it is said, expect the leadership of the strong. Iraq in particular has been waiting for someone behind whom it could rally, a man to replace Saddam and supplant the clerics.
Our own media have come to admire the mealy-mouthed, the politically correct, the inoffensive. They honor consensus, and shower rose petals at the feet of those who boldly stake out the middle ground and bravely adhere to the most common view.
Politicians, pundits, and candidates, please take note of the words of someone who appears your better:
Therefore, we believe that the Iraqi issue should be solved by the Iraqis with the help of friends everywhere. But we reject any attempts to have a regional or international role in solving the Iraqi issue. We cannot bypass the political process. Iraq should be in a position to solve Iraqi problems. We welcome any effort that could enhance the democratic reality in Iraq and protect the constitutional role of that state.(h/t AE, emphasis mine)
— Abdul-Aziz al-Hakim
A leader demands of his followers that they shoulder the burden for their own freedom.
A leader shows tact and bearing, being neither a sycophant nor demagogue.
A leader rejects aid from those who would force him to his knees.
A leader shows resolute determination in following his ideals.
A leader will not quit, but endures.
A leader accepts defeat only when defeated.
A leader chooses to do the hard work.
A leader exhorts without browbeating; encourages without manipulating.
There is more to being a leader than the above, and al-Hakim may or may not fit the bill. I suspect, however, that we are in the presence of the statesman for whom Iraq has been crying out.
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