Sunday, January 30, 2005

Hoorah for Iraqi Elections!

The title will take you to the NY Times front page story on the Iraqi elections, which they must be grinding their teeth to have to publish. Considering how sweet it would feel for the Times to be able to say, "I told you so" if no-one had showed up to vote, I can only believe that the election must have been a smashing success to get such grudgingly positive coverage here. Oh sure, they point out that some children were killed, and that only a few people showed up in one Sunni area, but the overall story is one of Iraqis demonstrating in every way possible their pride and joy to be voting. I heard similar stories last night on NPR; one or two sour Sunnis complaining (in any representative vote they must be a small minority, and really...who expects them to be overjoyed at taking the position of a small minority after dominating the country for a generation?) but the rest of the Iraqis positively beaming and several overtly thanking the US for making it possible.

I am proud of them. I am also proud of the US, and am sick to death of whining about there not being WMD's found, when everyone...even in self-righteous Europe...believed there were. As a physician, I know what it is to make life and death decisions based upon incomplete and sometimes inadequate data, and I also know what it is to be blamed retrospectively when the rest of the data comes through and you were wrong, even partially. Nevertheless, the mass graves are exposed; most of the tyrants and killers are behind bars or dead; and there has been an election in which, without doubt, more voters turned out than usually do in America.

There will be more whining, about how the Sunnis didn't get the vote so the results are illegitimate. I might point out that our first elections excluded, by law, all the many blacks in our land, and all the women, and all the people who didn't own property. But they were a start, and we went on, imperfect as it was. Furthermore, the Sunnis excluded themselves, and actively attempted to disrupt the process for everyone else. Let us not give them the dignity of a truly oppressed minority.

There will be whining and predictions of a civil war. There may be a civil war. Did we not have one ourselves? Over issues of the minority? Can anyone really, really prefer the "peace" of mass graves slowly filling up out of the public's eye, of state sponsored abductions and executions in the night, to the exhuming of those graves and overthrow of those murderers? I cannot.

May God bless our efforts to give the Iraqi people at least a chance, the chance we had 200 years ago, to form a representative government. It may fail, but I am glad that we have at least tried. And may He bring peace to that broken land and that broken people. Amen.

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