Both The LAT and The NYT Have To Acknowledge The Iraqi Elections Were A Success
The headline in the Los Angeles Times today was, "IRAQI TURNOUT TRUMPS VIOLENCE," and Patrick J. McDonnell's lead said, "BAGHDAD -- Millions of Iraqis defied violence, calls for a boycott and a legacy of despotism to cast ballots Sunday in the nation's first multiparty elections in half a century."
Inside, writer Ashraf Khalil led, "NAJAF, Iraq -- They came in wheelchairs and on crutches. Some dressed in new clothes as if it were a holiday. Others brought their children along to watch history being made."
Even the usually weak LAT editorial page led its lead editorial, "It takes courage to vote with the sound of mortars and gunfire still ringing and memories of terrorist beheadings still fresh. Whatever the final tally of the turnout Sunday in Iraq, the willingness of millions to defy suicide bombers and killers who threatened havoc at the polls provided some unequivocal good news. Not least, the world could honestly see American troops making it possible for a long-oppressed people to choose their destiny."
The New York Times editorial noted, "This page has not hesitated to criticize the Bush Administration over its policies in Iraq, and we continue to have grave doubts about the overall direction of American strategy there. Yet today, along with other Americans, whether supporters or critics of the war, we rejoice in a heartening advance by the Iraqi people. For now at least, the multiple political failures that marked the run-up to the voting stand eclipsed by a remarkably successful election day."
By golly, could it be the case that George W. Bush is right after all?
The press, as I've remarked before, tends to lack understanding about the nature of war. There are bound to be mistakes, or even horrible screwups. The British have a saying, "England loses every battle but the last." But in the end if what we are fighting for is right, then we can be proud we have tried to defend it, and those who have lost their lives have given them in a good cause.
Saddam Hussein not only gassed the Kurds, murdered countless thousands of mainline Iraqi opponents, but he spread the murder with an invasion of Kuwait and was paying $25,000 to every family who had a suicide bomber die while murdering Israelis in the Holy Land. I persist in the belief the U.S. and Britain were right to go after him, and that if democracy does prevail in Iraq in the aftermath, why that would be wonderful!
The NYT columnist Bob Herbert wrote today, "At polling stations across the country there were women in veils holding the hands of children, and men on crutches, and people who had been maimed during the terrible years of Saddam, and old people. Among those lined up to vote in Baghdad was Samir Hassan, a 32-year-old man who lost a leg in the blast of a car bomb last year. He told a reporter, "I would have crawled here if I had to."
More than 1,400 American and 90 British soldiers have now died in Iraq so that the Samir Hassans could vote and the memory of those who were murdered before they could vote could be redeemed. And as Lincoln said at Gettysburg, "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to the cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion..."