October 15, 2005

Election a test for the critics...

Looks like the Iraq election is going well, with only a few scattered terrorist attacks. Which is good evidence that the Iraqi forces are becoming truly effective. As is the fact that US commanders only asked for an extra 2,000 American troops, as opposed to 12,000 last January.

Let me guess; we won't be seeing a lot of headlines that read IRAQ ELECTION TRIUMPH!

OpinionJournal:...The other big danger is that U.S. media and political pessimism will further erode American public support for the war. The attitude among some can only be described as defeatist. When General Casey and other Defense officials testified recently before the Senate Armed Services Committee, their measured reports were drowned out by criticism and gloom.

In response to one such riff from Senator Hillary Clinton, General Casey put it this way: "Your comments on the insurgency, on the levels of violence, I recognize that that is what it appears, but that is what the terrorists and insurgents are trying to convey. They're trying to convey that they are winning, and they're doing it by murdering innocent Iraqis. . . .

"And it's a tough situation. But that's what a terror campaign is all about. And this is about political will. And as I said in my opening statement, they are attacking ours and the will of the Iraqi people. They're not winning in Iraq, and they will only win here if we lose our will."...

Senaotor Clinton is on the other side. It is easy to find evidence of strong progress if you WANT to. Democrats don't want to.

This election, if it is the triumph that it is starting to look like, will be a good test of those who oppose the Iraq Campaign but claim they are patriotic Americans who "support the troops" and just want to save us from an un-winnable quagmire. If they are telling the truth, then they should be happy that things are going well. The "criticism and gloom" people, like Clinton, should be happy. The "pacifists" should be happy that (so far) there isn't much violence...

And if they are, as some of us skeptics suggest, actually on the side of the terrorists, then we will get sullen silence, or, if pressed, grudging admission of success followed by changing the subject, or focusing on some particular problem--there are always problems--as if it is the real story, and as if the stunning fact of an Arab country voting for a democratic constitution is no big deal...

We'll see, won't we...

Iraqi poll workers prepare a voting station in Basra Atef Hassan/Reuters. From slideshow at this NYT article

I liked this picture because of the glowing light, and because it's refreshing to see walls in Iraq that don't need a coat of paint. And also because I just remembered a line from a great British WWII memoir, by someone who had to fight around where this picture was taken: "The Persian Gulf is the a--hole of the world, and Basra is sixty miles up it." If there is hope for Basra, there is hope for all of us...

(And yes, I am perfectly aware of the problems they are having in Basra. But democracy is a process, not an event. Iraqi democracy will be ugly and flawed, by our standards, for a long time.)

Posted by John Weidner at October 15, 2005 8:44 AM
Weblog by John Weidner