A Wave of the Ink-Stained Hand

Ben P at MyDD:

Iraqi Election: A Success. . . if only contigently so. Its late (1:30 AM West Coast) – and as such this might be a bit of a disorganized rant – but I feel compelled to write an essay saying why I am disappointed that more liberals have not recognized that the Iraqi elections were successful. Indeed, they were more successful than I imagined they would be. Really, just because Bush believes something or says something to be so doesn’t make it not so. Remember, a broken clock is right twice a day. I have hardly been a strong advocate of this war (you might remember some of my posts to this effect), and would most certainly not support an invasion of say, Iran, because of one succesful election in Iraq. (and I’m sure I’ll blog more in the future about issues such as these) But for most of Iraq’s population, this election was a success – and is certainly a step in a positive direction.

Ted Barlow at Crooked Timber:

- The biggest news today, the election in Iraq, seems to have gone better than I would have dreamed. It’s no secret that I don’t think that the Bush administration has much to be proud of. But they deserve credit, along with the courageous Iraqi voters, for the first real elections in half a century. When Bush said that the terrorist hostility to the elections showed the emptiness of their vision, he was exactly right.

Laura Rozen approvingly quotes Fred Kaplan:

… And yet, is it too romantic to see signs of real hope in today’s election? One thing is clear: The day marked a terrible defeat for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who had declared democracy to be an “infidel” belief. He and his goons passed out leaflets threatening to kill anyone and everyone who dared to vote; they dramatized their threat by killing dozens of police and poll workers in the days leading up to the election. And yet millions of Iraqis—including a fairly large number of Sunnis who live in Shiite areas—defied their fears and voted. Whatever mayhem they inflict in the coming days, it will be hard for anyone to interpret their actions as reflecting the beliefs of “the street.”

All three are fervent opponents of Bush and of the war in Iraq. And yet all three could look beyond their partisan advantage and see the value in what happened yesterday. I can only hope to be as honest and classy when the tables are turned.

19 thoughts on “A Wave of the Ink-Stained Hand”

  1. Yesterday TalkLeft summed up the blogosphere this way:

    The right-wing blogosphere, like President Bush, considers the elections a triumph for democracy. The top liberal bloggers, Daily Kos, Atrios, Josh Marshall, knowing better, are either ignoring the elections or have moved on.

    Other liberal bloggers express their criticism: Oliver Willis, Talking Dog; Maxspeak; Jerome Armstrong of MyDD; Armando at Daily Kos; Juan Cole.

    Which made me wonder what the better thing is that Kos, Atrios, and Marshall know, being as they are the TOP liberal bloggers, the elite, the cream of the cream, possibly tracing an Apostolic succession back to the original disciples of Jesus Christ himself.

    But as it turned out, they spoke too soon for Josh Marshall, who later praised the election and called it a good day. Still waiting for signs of a Prague Spring from Kos and Atrios. Ha ha ha ..

  2. One spin is to hail the elections while giving the Bush admin no credit for them.
    Another is to complain that they only happened because Sistani insisted on them, but Bush never intended to allow them.
    Another is to complain that the Bush voters are “gloating” about them.
    Another is to say they are just like some election in Vietnam in 67, and therefore won’t mean much.

    If you want to get a sneak preview of the coming leftist spin read Jeff Jarvis’ comment threads, it’s all there.

  3. the coming leftist spin …

    I think they were all summed up by the spokesman for the Inauguration protests that I saw on FOX News: “We just don’t feel that this system of government is working for us.”

  4. Its hardly the only thing the right has been right about, but adding to the depravity and soulesness of the left, is their inability to appreciate in a correct light the risk that was UNDERSTOOD, by the actors, both in the Iraq streets full of the blue fingered, and the white house.

    At every turn of action there is risk of failure, its inherent with the act of taking action.

    The left carp at us because we understood the risks, and did the action anyway, because it was right and because the potential benifit had high value, value not enumerated in dollars.

    This is not the first vote that resulted from the use of american power, and it wont be the last, but in every case, if todays left was there it would have been dependably opposed.

    They are wrong on most everything else, socialism, taxes, the culture rot that has killed the soul of europe unable to stand up to jihad, that tells a woman “she must become a whore or lose her benifits,”:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2005%2F01%2F30%2Fwgerm30.xml the whole rotten stinking leftist pile.

  5. The left carp at us because we understood the risks, and did the action anyway, because it was right and because the potential benifit had high value, value not enumerated in dollars.

    You understand the risks? Here are three: 1) the Shiites expect to run the country, and take out 300 years of frustrations on the Sunnis. 2) the Kurds expect full independence. 3) The Sunnis, backbone of the old Baathist state (remember, the state that never signed a surrender or peace treaty), boycotted the election and will continue their insurgency because of fear of (1) above and because they’re just a bunch of mean old SOBs.

    The “potential benefit” you claim so wisely to have foreseen may not have a value enumerated in dollars, but the effort made to achieve it sure as hell is enumerated in dollars — and blood. This cost was obscured before the invasion: remember Wolfowitz claiming that the oil would pay for reconstruction? So how long do you really think our Republic will continue ponying up for the occasional $80 billion supplemental? Especially now, that we’ve seen Democracy In Action in Iraq?

    The real risk for wild-eyed Wilsonian ideologues is that the American people are going to demand that the Congress and the President bring the boys home. But they’re not coming home anytime soon. Are they?

  6. Stickler

    “This civil War?”:http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,12107390%5E7583,00.html

    bq. AND so the “looming Iraqi election fiasco” joins “the brutal Afghan winter” and “the brutal Iraqi summer” and “the seething Arab street” and all the other junk in the overflowing trash can of post-9/11 Western media fictions. The sight of millions of brave voters emerging from polling stations holding high their purple dye-stained fingers was so inspiring that, from America’s Democratic Party to European protest rallies, opponents of the war waited, oh, all of three minutes before flipping the Iraqis their own fingers, undyed.


    bq. How lame do you have to be to be the last guy on the planet to do the old “Iraq on the brink of civil war” routine? Just as “the brutal Afghan winter” that was supposed to mire shivering US forces in the graveyard of empire is now one-third of a decade behind schedule, so Iraq has now been “teetering on the brink of civil war” for coming up for two years. Brink-wise, that’s quite a leisurely teeter. There’s no danger of a “long-running civil war in Iraq”. Instead, we’ve had a long-running hysteria about impending civil war in Iraq.

    bq. To their credit, both men teetered on the brink of making a laughably inaccurate prediction and then plunged right in. What’s the point of Beazley teetering on the brink of retirement for half a decade only to come back and hurl himself into the abyss of yesterday’s cliches?

    Stickler, perhaps you should send notice to include you too, in the gaggle of nattering nabobs of the cult of constant inpending doom.

  7. So, Mark Steyn thinks there’s no danger — none! — of Iraqi civil war. Well, that’s reassuring.

    But I note nobody has addressed any of my points. Are they so far-fetched? ‘Cause Mark Steyn says so, there’s no danger of civil war? Oh, well, that’s reassuring. He’s been right on so many things so far.

    Hey, here’s something new to chew on:

    In the last week, unless I’ve lost count, there have been three major losses of air assets. One Marine helicopter, one Army helicopter, and a British C-130. Total casualties over 60, no? Now, not to be a nattering nabob of realism or anything, but haven’t we already (as of last November) lost control over the road from the Green Zone to the Baghdad Airport? So we’re already dependent on air resupply (not just to the Green Zone) because of the frequent inconvenience of IED and RPG on the surface roads. If helicopters and C-130s start making unplanned contact with the surface, that is not a good development, is it?

    Perhaps you all can confab with Mark Steyn and explain away this inconvenience. And then explain how Ali al-Sistani will sit there quiescent while the USA pre-empts Iran’s budding nuclear program.

    Don’t most of our supplies come in through Basra? Look at a map.

  8. Stickler

    Not reading any of the solgers blogs eh ?

    Try that, get some info other than the marxist media, and then come back to give your own impression of what the rest of us already have.

    “Here”:http://avengerredsix.blogspot.com is one of my favs.

    bq. A few days ago, we were sitting in my humvee, lined up on the FOB and getting ready to roll out the gate. PFC Langford looked over from the driver’s seat at me and just started laughing out of nowhere.
    “What?” I asked.
    “Nothing. I don’t want to say it.”
    “Say it.” I said, laughing too now.
    “Well…I was gonna say, we’ve never been hit by an IED.”
    “I KNOW!” I shouted while laughing. “We’ve made it through so much shit for a year. And every damn platoon in this battalion has been hit by an IED but us. We’ve seen it all. Tank mines, RPGs, machine gun fire, hand grenades. But we’ve never been hit by an IED.”
    “Sir, what are you DOING?” SGT P asked me like I was crazy. “Silence yourself.”
    PFC Langford and I continued to laugh. “Ahhh, I don’t believe in all that jinx shit.” I said……………………


  9. Not reading any of the solgers blogs eh ?

    Spelling-wise, no comment.

    Try that, get some info other than the marxist media, and then come back to give your own impression of what the rest of us already have.

    Okay, so you want me to hew to the party line? Not read the German press, Juan Cole, Pat Buchanan, Brent Scowcroft, Ha’aretz, China Daily, the Independent, CBS, Fox News, … shit, what’s left? A couple of soldiers’ blogs? I can see you and raise you some soldiers’ views: operationtruth.org. Or are they invalid because they have left the reservation?

    Here’s a tip. The Left is not a useful term in this particular struggle. Leftists were against the Great Iraq Adventure. The “mainstream media” was 100% for it. True conservatives were against it. Moderates were against it. Bush I’s advisors were against it. Pat Buchanan was against it. Lots of Clinonista Democrats were for it.

    Oh, and again: nobody’s answered one of my questions. What if?

  10. “Here are three: 1) the Shiites expect to run the country, and take out 300 years of frustrations on the Sunnis. 2) the Kurds expect full independence. 3) The Sunnis, backbone of the old Baathist state (remember, the state that never signed a surrender or peace treaty), boycotted the election and will continue their insurgency”

    The people I read understand the following:
    there are seats reserved for Sunnis and that so far there is no sign that Shiites intend to “take out” frustrations on them. Why would the Shiites risk civil war for no good reason?
    the Kurds want full independence eventually, but so far are willing to accept a degree of provincial autonomy. They participated enthusiastically in the election.
    The Sunnis did NOT boycott the election. Sunni voting was larger than expected, and some claimed that more Sunnis wanted to vote but were cowed by the jihadi threats, which were much more numerous in their areas than elsewhere.
    Also, it’s a slur to identify all Sunnis with the Baathist revanchists.

    Finally, what I found most heartening about the election was that so many participants want to see themselves as Iraqis rather than Sunni or Shiite or Kurd.

    You know, this isn’t my blog and I don’t have a say, but you have been cluttering up the comments here for several weeks with unsubstantiated assertions delivered in a belligerent manner. The belligerence would be tolerable if your salvos had any relation to reality, and their lack of relation to same would be tolerable if you weren’t so accusatory. The two combined makes you a troll, and fisking you is going to get old quickly. I hope you either grow some manners or get banned.

  11. “The “mainstream media” was 100% for it.”

    In some alternate universe maybe.

    “True conservatives were against it. Moderates were against it.”

    This moderate was for it.

    “Lots of Clinonista Democrats were for it.”

    Makes sense, it was Clinton’s plan and Clinton defended most of Bush’s actions.

  12. “The earth shakes”:http://andiamnotlyingforreal.blogspot.com/2005/01/like-millions-of-iraqis-i-made-long.html as another moonbat confronts reality.

    bq. “You may think that you have felt dumb before, but let me tell you something: until you have stood in front of a man who knows real pain and told him that you are against your country’s alleviation of his country’s state-sponsored murderous suffering, you have not felt truly, deeply, like a total f…..g moron.”

    Another moonbat finds himself in hard core reality check.

    Good to see.

  13. Measured only in its own terms, the death and destruction that the Coalition invasion of Iraq has provoked is terrible. The question this elides is, “compared to what alternatives?” The most thought-provoking analogy to Iraq 2003-2005 is Algeria 1992-1994. A review of that country’s recent history will show that there were no good choices for people in favor of concepts like democracy, human rights, rule of law, prosperity. But there were still momentous choices to be made, and that were made. Choices guaranteed to cause suffering, and that did cause suffering.

    Jihadis carry the spiritual torch of Bolshevism and fascism; they deserve to win unconditional victories, and they will strive and sacrifice to do so. A clear majority of Iraqis have shown that they reject this vision of History. My nephew and niece are shipping out as part of the US determination to see them through. Ultimately, will a “free Iraq” choose policies that are pleasing to the US? Judging from South Korea, Germany, and France, probably not. That notwithstanding, they deserve our continuing support.

  14. You can include left2right in that select group as well.


    “Michael Ignatieff’s piece in today’s New York Times strikes the right tone concerning today’s vote in Iraq. Whatever one’s view about the American invasion and occupation of Iraq, we should unite in admiration of Iraqis who have stood up to attacks on democracy of unparalleled violence to participate in today’s elections. According to the Times’s early reports, voting in Baghdad is higher than expected. If these reports hold up, this is very good news from a country that has had significantly more than its share of bad (for which we bear great responsibility). Whatever happens, Iraqis who are participating deserve enormous admiration and respect.”

    Credit where it’s due.

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