Diane in Afghanistan

This is a historic time for the people of Afghanistan. I am reminded of the timeless truths that have guided our nation through the past two centuries, and how those same profound words now hold such hope and promise for the new democractic nation of Afghanistan. "We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal... that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights... of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

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Monday, September 12, 2005

In Support of Democracy in Afghanistan

It was Ronald Reagan that initiated the idea that spreading freedom and democracy had a very practical side to it. He believed to his core being, that without democracy, nations could not experience economic prosperity and the cultural vibrancy that only freedom can foster. But like the old adage; "give a man a fish, and he eats for a day. But teach a man to fish, and he eats for a lifetime," the yearnings of peoples around the world to be free, also means providing them with the tools of civic life, and the blueprints to build democratic institutions.

In 1983, Congress created the National Endowment for Democracy to help fund efforts to provide the "building blocks" of democracy in those nations emerging from dictatoriships and oppressive regimes. The International Republican Institute (IRI) is one of four nonprofit groups that provides that vital support and independent election observers.

Tomorrow I leave for Afghanistan as a member of the U.S. delegation sponsored by IRI. It is a nation that has experienced great oppression and tyranny through the Soviet occupation of the 1980's, tribal warfare, and the Taliban regime. But today in Afghanistan -- a mere three-and-one-half years after the U.S. led liberation -- that nation is poised to make history. On September 18, the people of Afghanistan will freely elect a national parliament, and mark the first time in their 5,000-year history, that women can run for elected office. Afghanistan remains a powerful example of success in fighting the war on terrorism. Where once the Taliban provided safe haven and training for the terrorists of the 9-11 attacks, now democracy and individual freedoms are being celebrated and promoted throughout that nation.

I will serve as an election observer, and it is exciting and humbling to witness history on such a scale as this. I hope you will join me, as I share my experiences through this blog site. Many men and women of our military have given their lives to make this day possible for the Afghan people. Please join me in remembering their sacrifice, and pray that the Afghan people will know an enduring peace.

Sincerely for freedom,

Diane

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