Friday, February 04, 2005

Thomas Friedman on the Iraqi Election

Hat tip to Kesher Talk, for pointing me to Thomas Friedman's latest column in the NYT.

The column is Friedman's largely jubilant reaction to the Iraqi election. Friedman belongs to a select group within the leftist media who can justly take credit for supporting the war, and believing in the necessity of Iraqi freedom, in the first place.

Sure, he get in his obligatory "not enough troops" reference. But that stuff has dwindled to such a small part of recent articles, I'm beginning to think he drops it in just so he continues to get decent seating when he goes dining in Manhattan. It's like paying his minimum required Bush-bashing dues.

Anyway, that's not the meat of his column by any means. The big stuff is offered up with things like this:

The Iraqi Shiites just gave every Iranian Shiite next door a demonstration of what real "Islamic" democracy is: it's when Muslims vote for anyone they want. I just want to be around for Iran's next election, when the ayatollahs try to veto reform candidates and Iranian Shiites ask, Why can't we vote for anyone, like Iraqi Shiites did? Oh, boy, that's going to be pay-per-view.
Interesting observation. Many of us have been wondering when the simmering democracy movement in Iran is likely to come to a boil. Perhaps, as Friedman alludes, it will come when the ayatollahs try to supress it in the course of their next election.

Then there's this:

Then there is Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. This Charles-Manson-with-a-turban who heads the insurgency in Iraq had a bad hair day on Sunday. I wonder whether anyone told him about the suicide bomber who managed to blow up only himself outside a Baghdad polling station and how Iraqi voters walked around his body, spitting on it as they went by. Zarqawi claims to be the leader of the Iraqi Vietcong - the authentic carrier of Iraqis' national aspirations and desire to liberate their country from "U.S. occupation." In truth, he is the leader of the Iraqi Khmer Rouge - a murderous death cult.
Awesome stuff. Those in the throes of anti-war Vietnam-era nostalgia might be unintentionally chanelling the West's post-Vietnam non-interventionism which stood idly aside to allow the Khmer Rouge's killing fields.

Friedman's conclusion is terrific as well:

... whatever you thought about this war, it's not about Mr. Bush any more. It's about the aspirations of the Iraqi majority to build an alternative to Saddamism. By voting the way they did, in the face of real danger, Iraqis have earned the right to ask everyone now to put aside their squabbles and focus on what is no longer just a pipe dream but a real opportunity to implant decent, consensual government in the heart of the Arab-Muslim world.

Put that in a telegram and send it to Senator Kennedy (and ask him to read it - slowly - to Senator Dayton).


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