Friday, December 16, 2005

On the Iraqi election

From the L.A. Times: "Iraqis across ethnic, sectarian and religious divides voted in droves today in a high-stakes election that could determine the course of the nation and the success or failure of the U.S. effort to bring Western-style democracy to the Arab Middle East."

Well, maybe. It's an important step on the road to liberal democracy in Iraq, but the key word here is "could". I'll do a round-up of reaction over the weekend, once more is known, but here's some reading for you, some stand-out or otherwise helpful posts that I've come across:

  • Iraq the Model: "We got our purple fingers" -- see here
  • Daily Kos: "More purple fingers, to what end? -- see here
  • The Glittering Eye: "Election day in Iraq" -- see here
  • Michelle Malkin: "History-making in Iraq" -- see here
  • Captain's Quarters: "Nation on the edge of forever -- see here.

Professor Bainbridge very much expresses my own thoughts on the election: "Who can deny that the election today in Iraq is a good thing? The voting reportedly went remarkably well. Yet, the triumphalism I'm seeing on the war blogs and hearing on talk radio strikes me as unwarranted. Democracy is a lot more than elections. The old Soviet Union had elections, after all. Iran has elections all the time, which lately have been electing hard line Islamofascists, a point that strikes me as very relevant to today's events. Heck, even Hitler got elected back in 1933. So let's not count our chickens before they hatch. If five years from now, Iraq is a peaceful, multi-ethnic federal state, we can all look back on today fondly. If five years from now, Iraq is run by a pro-Iranian bunch of Shia mullahs and riven by ethnic strife, today will have meant exactly squat. The mission is not accomplished."

As many of you know, I've been extremely critical of the conduct of the war in, and occupation of, Iraq. But I do hope this election proves to be of lasting success. After all, however much we may dislike President Bush, however much we may be critical of his mismanaged war, what matters here is the well-being of the Iraqi people.

Yesterday was an incredible day in Iraq. Saddam and his barbarous regime are gone and there was -- gasp! -- a democratic election in the heart of the Middle East. All those voters, all those purple fingers -- that means something.

But now the hard work of building a democracy, a liberal democracy, continues.

Are the Iraqis up to the task? I suspect they are.

I certainly hope so.

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