February 01, 2005

About That Election

I don't have much to add on the wonderfulness of the Iraqi election that hasn't been covered in the past 48 hours. I offered a column on Sunday, but my editor suggested waiting a day so it wouldn't be doubled up with Jed Babbin's take. Last night I decided to delay more, until hard data on turnout and results become available. (I think most of the estimates and anecdotes have been pretty much used up, commentarywise.)

One thing I will note here, though, is the success of the security plan. I was far less surprised by the size of the turnout then by the relatively small number of dead voters. As Michael Novak put it:

[T]he tactic of three concentric rings of protection around each polling place---the Iraqi police at the core, the Iraqi National Guard in the middle ring, and the Coalition forces in the outer, third ring--turned out to be brilliant. The performance of those in the inner rings was professional, confident, courteous. They seemed to feel all the more confident for having the Coalition at their backs, ready to spring to their aid. Their own inner strength seemed to be doubled by that outer support. Their fortitude multiplied many-fold the range and capacities of the Americans. A well-conceived plan, gentlemen of the military and Iraqi leaders alike! Well done.

A caller from Mosul to the Friends of Democracy-sponsored forum on C-SPAN Sunday reported that voting picked up midday, when people realized that the insurgents weren't having much success at havoc-wreaking.

Well done, indeed.

Posted by John Tabin at February 1, 2005 07:05 AM

A word of caution; one election does not make a democracy. Many places have had one man, one vote-one time. The real proof of success in Iraq will be the next election, and the one after that. Will the losers accept their defeat graciously? Will the Iraqi people vote for the common good, or for their own group benefit? Will Iraq, as Aristotle forewarned in his treatises on politics, degenerate into a tyrrany of special interest?

I think this was a wonderful thing, and the beginning of change in Iraq and the middle-east, but I think we need to keep our eyes open; one election does not necessarily mean we have cleared the hurtles.

Posted by: Tim Birdnow at February 2, 2005 08:53 AM