The President, who steadfastly remained committed to the Jan. 30th date, had this to say about the election.
And then there was the “elections are good, but…” crowd. For some, the glass is never 70% full, but always 30% empty. The goal posts are currently being moved. Like clockwork, from moderately pessimistic Newsweek, Fareed Zakaria’s piece titled “Elections Are Not Democracy” starts:
The United States has essentially stopped trying to build a democratic
order in Iraq, and is simply trying to gain stability and legitimacy
Feb. 7 issue - By the time you read this, you will know how the elections
in Iraq have gone. No matter what the violence, the elections are an important
step forward, for Iraq and for the Middle East. But it is also true, alas, that
no matter how the voting turns out, the prospects for genuine democracy in Iraq
are increasingly grim. Unless there is a major change in course, Iraq is on
track to become another corrupt, oil-rich quasi-democracy, like Russia and
I may have read past it, but I did not see where Zakaria backs up his opening claim that the U.S. has stopped “trying” to build a democracy and is simply trying to gain stability and legitimacy.
And then there is that ray of sunshine that is Mark Steyn, who predicts that Iraq will be just fine:
When you consider the behavior of the Shia and Kurdish parties, they've
been remarkably shrewd, restrained and responsible. They don't want to blow
their big rendezvous with history and rejoin the rest of the Middle East in the
fetid swamp of stable despotism. The naysayers in the Democratic Party and the
U.S. media are so obsessed with Rumsfeld getting this wrong and Condi getting
that wrong and Bush getting everything wrong that they've failed to notice just
how surefooted both the Kurds and Shiites have been -- which in the end is far
more important. The latter, for example, have adopted a moderate secular
pitch entirely different from their co-religionist mullahs over the border. In
fact, as partisan pols go, they sound a lot less loopy than, say, Barbara Boxer.
Even on the Sunni side of the street, there are signs the smarter fellows
understand their plans to destroy the election have flopped and it's time to cut
themselves into the picture. The IMF noted in November that the Iraqi economy is already outperforming all its Arab neighbors.
The ''realpolitik'' types spent so long worshipping at the altar of stability they were unable to see it was a cult for psychos. The geopolitical scene is never stable, it's always dynamic. If the Western world decides in 2005 that it can ''contain'' President Sy Kottik of Wackistan indefinitely, that doesn't mean the relationship between the two parties is set in aspic. Wackistan has a higher birth rate than the West, so after 40 years of ''stability'' there are a lot more Wackistanis and a lot fewer Frenchmen. And Wackistan has immense oil reserves, and President Kottik has used the wealth of those oil reserves to fund radical schools and mosques in hitherto moderate parts of the Muslim world. And cheap air travel and the Internet and ATM machines that take every bank card on the planet and the freelancing of nuclear technology mean that Wackistan's problems are no longer confined to Wackistan. For a few hundred bucks, they can be outside the Empire State Building within seven hours. Nothing stands still. ''Stability'' is a fancy term to dignify laziness and complacency as sophistication.
I'm hoping that the naysayers get a glimpse of the news footage showing Iraqis standing in long lines and singing and dancing with ink stained fingers, before they pretend that it never happened.