Iraqi ballots and bombs (WASHINGTON TIMES OP-ED) By Tony Blankley 01/26/05)
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It´s a little odd that the most vehement support for President Bush´s
proposition that democracy is the best cure for terrorism came from
the curling lips of Mr. Abu Musab Zarqawi.
beheading terrorist butcher of Baghdad announced, in a
post-Inaugural web-site broadcast (not to be confused with American
network television´s post-speech commentary and analysis) that "We
have declared a fierce war on this evil principle of democracy and
those who follow this wrong ideology. Anyone who tries to help set up
this system is part of it. [Iraqi candidates] are demi-idols, and
[voters] are infidels."
With such a hard-hitting critique of
the president´s speech, he might
well be in line for a political analyst slot at CBS.
Mr. Zarqawi,recently anointed by Osama bin Laden himself,
feels toward democracy much the way the wicked witch of the east felt
toward water. It seems pretty clear from Zarqawi´s analysis of the
Iraqi political scene that he is every bit as opposed to President
Bush´s policy as is Sen. Barbara Boxer and the rest of Mr. Bush´s
His effort at defeating Mr. Bush´s
democracy project for Iraq brings
a whole new meaning to the phrase negative campaigning. Instead of
rude or false charges hurled at a candidate, Zarqawi hurls suicide
bombs at both candidates and voters.
His actions, bloody though
they are, constitute eloquent testimony to
his and Mr. Bush´s shared understanding of Iraq´s future. Zarqawi is
fighting democracy for his dear life because he understands, as does
Mr. Bush, that an established democracy in Iraq will be the death of
terrorism in Iraq — and possibly beyond.
If Mrs. Boxer and her
fellow deprecators of Iraqi democracy won´t
accept Mr. Bush´s insights on the efficacy of democracy, perhaps she
might reconsider in light of Zarqawi´s comments. After all, when the
leading terrorist and Mr. Bush agree on something, the light of that
shared vision might even penetrate the until-now impenetrable
darkness of the anti-Bush mind.
Something had better jog the
liberal mind from its obsessive Bush-
hatred. The liberals, on both sides of the Atlantic, are in imminent
danger of repeating the great shame of many of their ideological
grandparents in the middle of the last century, who became unthinking
apologists for Stalin´s terror and tyranny.
This coming Sunday,
the Iraqi people are holding an election — the
first real election in the 5,000-year history of this ancient people.
But the cynicism and indifference of liberals to this extraordinary
event should shock the conscience of decent people,becauseIraqisare
marching through shot and shell to gain this first chance at self-
Despite the worst that Zarqawi and his fellow
terrorists can do,
there are 7,500 candidates from 111 political parties running for 275
National Assembly seats. 6,000 polling stations have been set up to
count the votes. According to the most reliable surveys, 12 of 14
million eligible voters have registered. Turnout could be as high as
This shouldn´t surprise anyone. When given half a
chance, people will
risk their lives to vote for freedom. They did it in El Salvador in
1984 in the midst of civil war and terrorism. They did it in Cambodia
in 1993 under threat from the genocidal Khmer Rouge. They did it in
Algeria in 1995 under constant terrorist threat. They did it in
Afghanistan last year under the Taliban gun.
There, the story
is told by our ambassador, the night before the
election a woman went through her religion´s death rituals. She
expected to die trying to vote the next day, and wanted to be
prepared to meet her god — but she wasn´t going to miss the vote.
And, of course, we Americans fought a long hard revolutionary
that we might gain the right to govern ourselves through the ballot
But the heartless, mindless Bush-haters from Paris to San
to the chamber of the United States Senate would rather see Mr. Bush
embarrassed than Iraq free.
Of course, one election does not
constitute a functioning democracy.
After the best that the Iraqi people can do this Sunday, years of
hard, careful work is ahead of them. (Henry Kissinger and George
Shultz published a must-read article in yesterday´s Washington Post
that shrewdly lays out the risks and challenges that must be
surmounted before a functioning, decent government can form.)
But it is not too late for the Bush haters to put that bitter
from which they constantly drink to one side, and lend a hand to a
They don´t have to take Mr. Bush´s word for the
democracy in Iraq. They could ask Mr. Zarqawi. Tony Blankley is
editorial page editor of The Washington Times. His column appears on
Wednesdays. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org (Copyright 2005
News World Communications, Inc. 01/26/05)
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