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September 29, 2004

Tools for Democracy

I am on the mailing list for Spirit of America and got an email today on one of their success stories:

The Iraqi Construction Apprenticeship Program (ICAP) and Spirit of America's donation of tools to the Iraqi graduates. ICAP is a SeaBees/Marines effort to rebuild Iraq, create jobs and provide tangible improvements in the lives "ordinary" Iraqis.

ICAP Tool Kit

The tool kits they present to the graduates of the program go for $150 and Federal Express donates the shipping. Check out the site and the other programs too. There are many organizations such as Spirit of America doing good work in Iraq, I just happened to latch onto this one early on.

Back some time ago I wrote a post about my concerns with whether Iraq was ready for democracy, whether there were enough citizens with the will to make the necessary sacrifices to ensure that blood (and sweat) that is needed to fertilize the roots of the Tree of Liberty was available ("Does Iraq Deserve to be Free?"). I now believe that there are. What began convincing me was reading Iraqi blogs, especially Iraq the Model. The expressed willingness to make the ultimate sacrifice, if necessary, despite real fear, was a strong sign to me of hope. Reading (not in the major media usually, sad to say) of the thousands signing up to serve in the police forces, despite the very real and very immediate threats to their lives did more. And in the case of this particular program:

The Iraqi men participating in ICAP are risking their lives to build a better future for themselves and for Iraq. When I was in Iraq in June these men were getting death threats from terrorists opposed to progress and a free Iraq. With good reason the Marines were concerned that the apprentices would never show up for classes. Now they're graduating and appearing on CNN. These men, like our troops, are at the front line of the struggle for progress in Iraq and they deserve our support.


CNN ran a recent story on this program. You can see the video on the Spirit of America site.

Spirit of America is a 501c3 organization, so your gifts to support democracy are tax deductible. This is a win-win-win situation: you get back a bit of what you give in tax savings, you do a truly charitable deed, and you support the creation of democracy in what has been a desert.

There's that old Chinese saying that everyone knows: Give a man a fish, feed him for a day; teach a man to fish, feed him for a lifetime. In this case we can help the Seabees and Marines teach these men a skill, we can provide them with the tools to practice that skill, and then they can make a living to feed their families, and contribute to their society in a meaningful way. It especially meaningful in that it promotes individual responsibility for their own fates, and it serves as a bootstrap in an economic process that, when combined with the historical industry of the Iraqi peoples, can fuel a feedback economic loop resulting in prosperity.

What I especially like about Spirit of America and similar programs is that they operate on the principle of the doable. In this case they're looking for 400 tool kits. I also wrote a post chiding Teresa Heinz Kerry about putting her money where her mouth is just a few days ago. That sort of applies to me too. While Teresa could easily cover the whole amount with the saving on taxes resulting from the Bush tax cuts, that wouldn't leave us the chance to be virtuous in this.

399 kits to go. Your turn.

Just do it.

Right now.

It's an investment in our future.

Posted by dan at September 29, 2004 12:02 AM