Dec 15, 2005


Time on deck as I write this is 1635C. That would be Iraqi local time – pay no mind to the time stamp below, as it’s currently set for California and I’ll be posting this later anyway. At the time of this writing, there have been no giant attacks, no major offensives, in short: no doom and gloom. This is an Iraqi election, held by Iraqis, for Iraqis.

Even the big western media can’t deny the success of this. Oh they’re trying hard to find an angle. CNN includes every little detail of every little attack that has happened, trying to spin success into some form of disappointment. The New York Times has a story about how even if the election goes off without a hitch, just look at the town of Ramadi: a FAILURE! Why, no one showed up last time, so this time can’t possibly be any better. And if it is, it’s all because the Americans won’t be around as much this time anyway, so you see, it’s a lose-lose situation for the US any way you slice it…

Sorry fellas. That crap don’t cut it no more. This thing is working.

This is not to say that there haven’t been incidents. In a town just down the road from where I am, mortars started falling about a mile from the polling station. Sadly for CNN, not one person – of the over 500 in line to vote – moved an inch. There have been a few RPG, hand grenade, and small arms attacks on polling sites throughout the country today. Near as I can tell, they have yielded no casualties (some cuts and bruises notwithstanding) and have yet to cause a single polling site to shut down. In fact, the only polling site that closed at all today (that I know of) was one this morning where some of the locals organized a protest on the grounds that non-local workers were the ones that had been hired to run the site (hey, wouldn’t YOU like to recognize the folks at the registrar’s office when YOU got to vote?). Sadly for the NYT, the Iraqi Police handled that one quickly and peacefully, and the station was open again after about 45 minutes.

All across the nation, people are committed to this process. Now, I’m not blind. I can see a couple different reasons for people voting, and not all of them are positive. Some Iraqis want to install a hard-line Islamic theocracy in the model of Iran. Some Iraqis are voting simply because they figure if the process works, then the Americans will leave. But most, I think, are voting because they actually give a damn what happens to their country and want a safe environment for their families and children. They want a say in how things run. And even the folks who are only voting as a means to the end of gettin’ us gone… well, that’s fine by me.

Because, you see, they can hate us or they can love us. But as long as they respect us, and love their kids more than they hate us… hell, I’ll call that a win.

I’d like to extend a personal thank you to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for that one. When he and his al-Qaeda shmucks blew up those hotels in Jordan, it wasn’t just the Jordanians who noticed. Iraqis had known on a small, local scale, and suspected on a much larger, national scale that he was not helping their cause. Now they had evidence on an international scale. Now, even the local insurgents who took shots at Americans realized that their worst enemy was not the US. It was the guy who’d kill anyone – even his own countrymen - just because. It was the guy who’d blow up kids in the middle of the street to get press coverage. Even the Americans don’t do that! Maybe those guys are on to something with the whole democracy thing…

And so, throughout Iraq today, what do we see? Hope. Pride. LIBERTY.

Freedom’s infectious, people… and Iraq’s caught it. I don’t know how this day will end. I don’t know what the final tally will be or what the face of the new Iraqi government will look like. But any way you slice it, this thing has worked. This country is free, and it’s people are not afraid to stand up and be counted in order to keep that freedom. That’s a win.

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