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Monday, March 06, 2006

Ambassador Says Iraq Will Define 21st Century

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq believes the current struggle in Iraq between moderate Muslims seeking a democratic future and Islamofascists and other extremists is as important to the future shape of the world in the 21st Century as was the battle with the Soviet Union to the 20th Century.

"Success in Iraq will be a major setback for terrorists and a major asset for the security of this region," Zalmay Khalilzad told Pittsburgh Tribune-Review columnist Salena Zito. "The struggle for Iraq is the struggle for the future of the world."

A former Afghani and now the highest-ranking professing Muslim in the Bush administration, Khalizad precisely articulates the stakes in Zito's column, which is here. Zito, by the way, is a veteran congressional staffer and Pennsylvania campaign operative who has taken up the pen of an opinion columnist.

Jim Wiedman, a colleague here in The Heritage Foundation, and I lunched with Zito last week and came away agreeing she exhibits the experience, grit and intellect to have a major impact with her column.

It doesn't hurt that she has newspaper ink flowing in her veins, thanks to a grandfather who once owned the Pittsburgh Press. She's also a devoted long-time Pirates fan, which proves the woman is both faithful and long-suffering. Those characteristics are pre-requisites for being a successf ful columnist.