Logistics meant that I couldn’t be in front of a computer until tonight, but the reality is that it wouldn’t have mattered because I have been speechless in the face of events in Iraq.
I don’t for a moment believe that today’s vote means that things are over, peace has come, and Starbucks’ will start setting up in Fallouja any time soon. But I do believe – strongly – that it shows the strength of the average Iraqi who wants, more than anything, a decent peaceful future for themselves and their children and were willing to brave incredible (and really, unfulfilled) threats of violence to make that happen.
It’s their country now, not Saddam’s.I’ve been betting on the existence of the ‘silent middle’ in Iraq and throughout the Muslim world, and I’ll take a stand here and say that what this election proves, conclusively, is that such a middle exists. Now we’d damn well better do a good job of reaching out to them.
Today also, I think, demonstrated something that I’ve been arguing for a while – the shallowness of the violent opposition in Iraq.
Today’s violent acts (listed at Counterterrorism Blog) were:
Al-Qaida’s Committee in Iraq–led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi–has claimed responsibility for the following incidents on election day:
* At least four coordinated attacks on election centers in and around Baghdad
* A rocket barrage fired at the protected Green Zone in Baghdad
* The destruction of a U.S. armored vehicle in Mosul
* The destruction of an Iraqi army Humvee with a large roadside bomb in Mosul
* Two separate mortar attacks on the same election center in the Wahdah neighborhood of Mosul
* A mortar and small arms attack on an election center in the Al*Nahrwan neighborhood of Mosul
* A small arms attack on the election center in the Andalusia neighborhood of Mosul
* A mortar attack on the election center in the Palestine neighborhood of Mosul.
* Various other alleged operations in Tel Afar, Ar*Ramadi, and the Diyala province
I count a total of 12 events…nationwide.
CNN has a list of 14 attacks.
Is this the best that Al-Zarqawi can do? In the face of the single event that would permanently set back the legitimacy of his cause?
I think it probably is, and that means something – it means that what we are facing is not a deeply rooted national revolt against an occupying power, but a thinly spread, well organized and skilled group of increasingly isolated fanatics.
We stayed the night at a friend’s – who has a TV set and cable – and watched CNN all morning. Christina Amanapour mentioned (and I can’t find it on the CNN site) that an ambulance full of terrorists was driving through a neighborhood in Baghdad tossing grenades – and that a group of neighbors encircled it and captured the terrorists inside.
I hope it’s true, because when the Iraqis realize that it’s their country, meybe they’ll have something to say to Al-Zarqawi and his kin about it.