The Catastrophic Success of Iraq’s Election
Vol: 40 Issue: 30 Sunday, January 30, 2005
It’s really difficult to decide which was the most astonishing news of the morning — the amazing turnout among Iraqi voters, or the equally amazing disrespect they are getting from the leftists in the global press corps.
With very few notable exceptions, the attitude among the press, particularly those members of the press corps who have invested so much in convincing the world that democracy could never come to Iraq, is one of shocked disappointment and disbelief, rather than the jubilation being expressed by the US administration and Iraqi interim government, as nearly three quarters of eligible voters turned out to cast ballots.
John Burns of the New York Times, fearful that the high turnout signals a level of Iraqi unity, published his column under the headline, “The Vote, and Democracy Itself, Leave Anxious Iraqis Divided”.
He writes; “Nearly 22 months after American troops captured Baghdad, lighting a fire of enthusiasm for the freedoms Iraqis had craved so long, it is a measure of how much has gone wrong that Iraqis committed to Western-style democratic ideals can differ so sharply over the best way to secure them. Much of the problem is that the elections are being held under the dominion of the United States.”
Burns, an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and US foreign policy, (and therefore, of all Bush policies good and bad,) is among those who have invested so much of their reputations on tearing down US successes in the war on terror. The Iraqi turnout demands a little damage control.
Now that the elections have signaled the willingness of Iraqis to take control of their own future under a representative government, Burns has redefined the kind of democratic system adopted by Iraq in order to make even a success look like a failure.
“But questions over the election go far beyond the American stewardship, to issues that touch on whether it was ever wise or realistic to think that Jeffersonian-style democracy, with its elaborate checks on power and guarantees for minority rights, could be implanted, at least so rapidly, in a country and a region that has little experience with anything but winner-take-all politics.”
A “Jeffersonian democracy” is what we have in the United States. It specifies three, co-equal branches of government, the Executive, the Legislative, and the Judiciary. At no time was a ‘Jeffersonian democracy’ even hinted at by either the US administration or the Iraqis.
Iraq has adopted a British-style parliamentary government, which is apparently doing well, UNLESS one compares it to the “Jeffersonian model” — which is the gold standard for democracy.
It is like comparing a Geo to a Cadillac and complaining that because the Geo doesn’t have 8 cylinders, climate control and five-position seats, it isn’t really a car.
Unable to accept the reality that three out of four Iraqis defied the terrorist threat and stood in long, vulnerable lines for hours in order to vote, Burns decided to ignore it altogether by evoking memories of the ‘good old days’ of March 2003, when everybody agreed with HIM.
“Iraq’s receptivity to democracy was questioned before the invasion of March 2003, when many American Middle East experts warned that Iraq, released from the stifling grip of Mr. Hussein, was a tinderhouse of competing tribal, ethnic and religious passions.”
Even though the catastrophic civil unrest Burns predicted never materialized, (the al-Qaeda- backed ‘insurgency’ is neither popular nor widespread) that is no reason not to try and keep the illusion alive by calling the administration ‘illusionists’.
“Still, even among senior American officials here, there is an edge of doubt. One, who arrived here as sovereignty was being transferred in June, referred to the Americans who oversaw the 15 months of formal occupation as “the illusionists,” and cites as an example the $750 million of American money that the occupation chief, L. Paul Bremer III, set aside to finance a democracy training program, as well as elections.”
Even before the vote, Newsweek rushed out a story under the headline, “Why Elections Won’t Stop Insurgency”.
A second Newsweek headline, an op-ed piece written by Fareed Zakaria, bore the headline “Elections are Not Democracy”, and concludes that “the United States has essentially stopped trying to build a democratic order in Iraq and is simply trying to fight the insurgency and gain some stability and legitimacy.”
Finally, a third Newsweek story bearing the headline, “Free To Be Angry” bore the hopeful sub-title, “Election Time: Americans ‘Liberated’ Iraq, but It’s Hard To Find Anyone Who is Grateful”.
Clearly, they aren’t looking in Iraq, since everybody else is having a hard time finding someone who is NOT.
Emblazoning the ‘Free To Be Angry’ page is a photo of a blood-spattered Iraqi toddler over the caption. “An Iraq Girl Screams After Her Parents are Killed by US Soldiers in Tal Afar.”
In the body of the story, Newsweek’s Ron Nordstrom quoted a not-surprisingly-unnamed “Coalition diplomat”:
“On Jan. 31, elections will have triumphed,” says one Coalition diplomat. “But democracy will have failed.” How so?
Well, since Nordstrom wrote the piece before the elections had even begun, he couldn’t say.
So he didn’t, instead, just leaving the idea hanging out there as if it were fact — because an unnamed ‘Coalition official’ said so.
Among those who marched with the angry demonstrators in the run-up to the Iraq War, the idea of a peaceful, democratic post-Saddam Iraq is catastrophic.
Because if Iraq DOES embrace democracy, then it means that they were wrong. And, since they can’t be wrong (the Left never is), then what looks like good news is really terrible news, but you just don’t know it yet.
It is bizarre, but that is why I use the term ‘useful idiots’ to describe them.
Their opposition is useful to America’s enemies in their propaganda and recruiting efforts, but only an idiot would believe siding with terrorism is in their own best interest.
But it then becomes a question of what they perceive to be in their own best interests. For the most part, they define their own best interests as the opposite of what is in the Bush administration’s best interests.
There is something revealing about that. To the ultra-liberal left, all that matters is hurting the Bush administration. They don’t see it as hurting American interests, because, in their worldview, all things Bush run counter to their own partisan worldview that America is to blame for the ills of the planet.
To them, a successful Iraq policy would therefore be a political catastrophe. Consequently, as Newsweek reports, the ‘elections have triumphed, but democracy has failed.’
In contrast to Newsweek, the Scotsman ran quotes from the folks Fareed Zakariah says he couldn’t find in his op-ed piece entitled, “Elections are Not Democracy”.
The Scotsman headlined its story with a quote from an elderly Iraqi woman voting for the first time in her life. “‘This Is Democracy’ Say Delighted Iraqis”.
Following was an entire page of quotes from enthusiastic Iraqis like the one from a 55 year-old voter from Baquba named Abu Ahmed. I came here to vote for our goal, which is freedom, and this is the first step toward democracy.
(Evidently, Abu Ahmed hasn’t read Newsweek or the New York Times).
And despite the fact that I did, I would still like to be among the first on my block to offer my congratulations to the United States, to the US forces who have given so much, and to the Iraqi people for stepping up to the plate to seize the freedom more than a thousand Americans died to secure for them.
“Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17)
Be proud, American! You have done a good thing for 55 million strangers, in spite of the Leftist principle of American intervention that demands that ‘no good deed go unpunished’.
May God richly bless you, our troops, our government and our country.