Not that the events leading up to and during the free elections in Iraq didn’t involve regrettable violence and bloodshed, but this was the day that Iraqis, in great numbers, said no to terrorism and yes to democracy.
It is estimated that over 60 percent of eligible Iraqis voted in these free elections. People sang and danced in the streets. They defied the death threats and demands for a boycott of the vote from the Islamofascist thugs.
President Bush was well within his element to declare, “The world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East.” And never has it been a better time for the international community to back up the significant majority of the Iraqi people who exercised their democratic freedoms. If Chirac, Schroeder and Putin still continue to scoff at Bush and the war, and don’t play a role in Iraq’s post-vote transition, then it is clear that they are no friends of the United States. It will be time to cast France, Germany and Russia off as hopeless (basket) cases.
The anti-war left is silent on this night, and are left wondering how to wipe the egg off their faces in a politically correct, non-offensive way. Never has this crowd ever looked so weak and devoid of moral excuses as they do now. (Though, to the Democrats’ credit, they have distanced themselves, by and large, from Senator Kennedy’s call for immediate troop withdrawal.)
President Bush, on the other hand, is coming up smelling of roses. His wisdom with regard to Iraq has just borne its first significant fruits.
Iraqis, understandably tired of the war, have wished the Americans could leave their country. But American forces are not the reason for the insurgency, as Senator Teddy Boy Kennedy claims. The insurgents were threatened by the elections and the exercise of free will among Iraqis.
But instead of the British and Americans leaving Iraq in a state of hopeless chaos, they’ve helped to provide the framework through which the proud Iraqi people can run their country as a democratic republic instead of cowering from fear of a mad dictator.
The only sticky point to these elections is that Sunni Arabs did not contribute much to the vote. The Kurds voted in great numbers and so did the Shias. This is not to say that Sunnis didn’t vote, only disproportionately so.
The road to a free Iraq that is well equipped to look after itself is still a ways off. But the groundwork has been laid. It was a good day for Iraq and for the prospect of Islamic democracy. We must ensure that the good work continues.