It has been colder than normal, so maybe hell has indeed frozen over...
Freedom House, a Human rights organization, has acknowledged an increase of personal and political rights throughout the Middle East.
"Reports of increased freedom emerged from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and the Palestinian territories, and observers attributed the results to the Bush administration's support of fledgling democracies worldwide.
The findings were released yesterday as part of Freedom House's Freedom in the World 2006 report, a global survey of political rights and civil liberties published annually by the organization since 1972. The report evaluates countries based largely on criteria drawn from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and rates countries under the categories "political rights" and "civil liberties" on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 indicating the greatest level of freedom."
The president of the Reform Party of Syria, Farid Ghadry, too, linked the surging tide of freedom in the Middle East to Mr. Bush's policies and public support for international democracy.
"He's the driving force behind the freedom ... and he has the dictatorships running for cover," Mr. Ghadry said.
The opposition leader also discounted naysayers dismissive of the president's accomplishments. "We've even heard people saying that people in the Middle East don't understand democracy, they don't need it, they don't deserve it," Mr. Ghadry said. "But it's absolutely not true. ... The movement is too fast, the movement is too strong. The results are there for people to see and hear."(source)
I'm glad Bush had the courage to undertake this in light of the political consequences...but if and when Democracy succeeds in Iraq and the Middle East, it will be the Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen that deserve the lion's share of the thanks...