William Jennings Bryan was once severely criticized because, while he was a staunch anti-imperialist and spoke against the imperial designs of the worlds major powers of the time, he supported the ratification by the United States of the Treaty of Paris which ended the Spanish-American War and placed Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines under U.S. control (Cuba became independent in 1902, the Philippines became independent in 1946, Puerto Rico and Guam remain U.S. territories by choice.).

When accepting the nomination to be the Democratic candidate in the Presidential elections of 1900 Bryan addressed such criticism by stating “I thought it safer to trust the American people to give independence to the Filipinos than to trust the accomplishment of that purpose to diplomacy with an unfriendly nation (Spain).”

Let’s fast forward to the present day. The United States is now engaged in battle with unfriendly forces, in the form of Islamic terrorists, for the continued freedom and the eventual full independence of the people of Afghanistan and of Iraq.

There are those who say that the U.S. conquered two sovereign nations in the names of oil and of imperialism. But at no time do those who make that claim present evidence of any policy, plan or legislation of the U.S. Government to do anything other than to turn full control of those nations over to the Governments that were freely elected (Afghanistan’s first free election was in June of 2002. Iraq’s was in January of 2005) by the people of those nations once those Governments state that they are ready to take control.

Contrary to the opinions of those who would prefer to see nefarious purpose in the presence of American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq it is quite readily evident that the intention of the United States and of the other members of the multinational coalition is to “pick up our toys and leave” once the home team says they’re ready to run solo with the ball. It is true that there may be some U.S. or NATO military presence left in those nations after their Governments take full control but it will only be with the permission of those Governments just the same as it is in Germany or South Korea.

I think it is far “safer to trust the American people” to support and to recognize the freedom and independence of the Afghanis and Iraqis than to trust the accomplishment of that purpose to the good will and peaceful intentions of Islamic Terrorists.