On Friday, I praised President Bush for sticking to his guns and keeping to a firm election timetable for Iraq. It was a difficult thing to do, but it was the right thing to do. Today, we see the fruits of his steadfastness: A vote that, by initial accounts, was a spectacular success.
The greatest danger now is that we will see this as an end, rather than simply another step, in the struggle for Iraq. The danger that triumphantism -- the inevitable (and inescapable) nya-nyas -- will lead to impossibly high expectations and pre-mature champagne ejaculations. Don't let it. Now is not the time to relax. Now is not the time (per Senator Kennedy) to sing from Roger Waters' songbook, and "bring the boys back home." Most importantly, now is not the time to proclaim victory -- because, among other things, we haven't yet won.
Whether you agreed with the Iraq war or not; whether you believe that Rumsfield's and Franks' war plans were on target or (as I do) hopelessly naive; whether you live in Indiana, Alsace, New York, or East Anglia; whether you will fight the Bush administration to the nails on abortion, Social Security reform, or Kyoto -- today, today looks to have been a good day. Let's be happy for it. Let's fight to keep it. Let's hope for more and better to come.
And let's praise the Iraqi people, for this day belongs to them and their courage.
(Gregory Djerejian captures the mood of Iraq on election eve, as well the standards for success, in a must-read post -- one that shows us exactly how well the Iraqi elections seem to have gone.)
Meanwhile, "Canucklehead" finds the funny on Drum's blog: "Allawi and the Iraqi government are trumpeting a 72% turnout. That's way down from Saddam's 99%." As the Calpundit says, "I have a feeling there's practically no one left in the blogosphere who retains a sense of humor about this, but I thought it was funny....." I do too. (I also like Bobbyp's comment "Sure. But what do the exit polls say?" Hey, if we can't laugh about these things ....)