Monday, January 31, 2005


Handwringing over the Iraqi Election

Today, there is a lot of Yes, buts going on in the press.

"Yes, they had an election, but it was a sham." Someone wrote something to these words on a discussion page on the Democratic Underground forum. (Tell that to the people who wept for joy at voting and stood in long lines, and cheered the memory of lost sons and husbands and fathers who worked for this day. I wouldn't tell them that they are a Bush puppet to their faces. You might get smeared with blue ink.)

"Yes, they had an election, but the Sunnis didn't take part." It is true that Sunnis didn't take as much part as some other ethnic groups, but there were districts with 40 per cent turn out, in the very heartland of the Ba'athist resistance, with threats to injure and blow up the voters. Brave souls longing for freedom.

"Yes, they had an election, but they're still on the brink of civil war." The naysayers spin their soundbites, and enhearten the foreigners who have come to be insurgant, but once you get away from the eye of the camera much of Iraq is beginning to show the fruits of stability. Their own army and police force grow regularly and are carrying more and more of the security load and they are even beginning to talk about the day when foreign troops will no longer be needed.

Mark Steyn has a nice article on this today. In it, he says:

What happened on Sunday was a victory for the Iraqi people and a vindication for a relatively small group of Western politicians -- most notably the much-maligned US Deputy Defence Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, whose faith in those Iraqi people turned out to be so much shrewder than the sneers of his detractors.

John Kerry is wrong. It's time for him and Ted Kennedy and Kim Beazley and Paul McGeough to stop under-hyping. If freedom isn't on the march, it's moving forward dramatically in a region notoriously inimical to it.

This weekend's election was a rebuke to the parochial condescension of the West's elites.

"These elections are a joke," Juan Cole, a professor of modern Middle East history at the University of Michigan, told Reuters. Sorry, professor, the joke's on you. And the modern Middle East history is being made by the fledgling democracy of the new Iraq.

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