WASHINGTON, April 14 (UPI) — Few expected the Saddamite regime in Iraq to fall as quickly as it did. The ominous pre-war predictions of anti-U.S. riots in Arab streets and coalition forces bogged down in a desert quagmire have been proven wrong. The toppling of Saddam’s statute in Baghdad has become a metaphor for the collapse of a 25-year reign of terror.

Coalition forces have shifted focus and are securing cities, providing healthcare and food to Iraqis and setting the stage for an indigenous government to eventually take power through democratic elections.

Whether the tasks ahead constitute nation building is of little importance save to partisan activists always looking for avenues to attack George W. Bush. The U.S.-led coalition that ousted Hussein now has the responsibility to help the democratic process take root. If that is nation building, so be it.

The task is just shy of monumental, one in which the United States is going to play the central role. The United Nations, as well as significant sovereign states like Russia and France, lodged objections. They asked, insisted even, that they be included in the rebuilding process despite their opposition to the war.

These are not settled issues. How they are resolved may set the course of U.S. foreign policy for decades to come.

The principled objection to Russia, France and Germany’s participation in the rebuilding process arises out of their refusal to support Saddam’s ouster by force. No one who failed to contribute to his removal, the reasoning goes, should be allowed a share of the spoils.

While understandable, this thinking is outdated.

The purpose of the Iraq war was to free the Iraqi people from oppression and to guarantee the safety of the United States and its allies. Blood was shed to fend off the threat posed by weapons of mass destruction believed to have been in the regime

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