Fifteen million Iraqis are voting today. Because of the strong turnout, the voting time was extended. And I saw a stat on one of the cable channels that there are over 400 women running for office in this election.It's not just the women. One of the most interesting things in the news today is that former Sunni insurgents joined the political campaign, stumping for candidates and competing for votes. The Los Angeles Times reports:
Abu Mujahid brags that he bombed a U.S. Army Humvee and wounded two American soldiers just last month. Now he's stumping for Sunni candidates and talking matter-of-factly about the importance of safety as Iraqis head to the polls today.The Times reports that this shift to ballots, not bullets, is fragile, but just a couple of years ago antiwar creeps like Cernig at Newshoggers were saying we'd never see success in Iraq. Even today, after the obligatory highlighting of violence, Cernig is forced to conclude his post by conceding that yes, indeed, there's progress, but supporters of the war shouldn't gloat:
"This is something like a truce so the elections will be implemented in a secure environment," said Abu Mujahid, an active member of the 1920 Revolution Brigades, an armed Sunni Arab group. "We want to allow people to vote and let them decide without pressure from any groups."
With one foot in the political process and the other firmly rooted in violence, fighters such as Abu Mujahid offer a glimpse of the Sunni community's evolution over the last five years: from waging guerrilla war against Iraq's ascendant Shiite Muslim majority and its U.S. backers, to tentatively embracing electoral politics.
These elections are a good thing, but they're not a universal panacea. Still, the American Right wants to have its cake and eat it. They want to pretend that provincial elections mean "victory" while getting ready to blame only Obama if Iraqi social fractures ignored by Bush for so long lead to more violence later.Readers should recall Newshoggers has outwardly applauded the deaths of U.S. military personnel on the ground, so acknowledging success today must be like swallowing a barrel of Tabasco. Moreover, on issue after issue, as I've shown in recent posts, Cernig's been spectacularly wrong on trends in the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy. And hey, don't even get me going about Juan Cole, who highlights a few violent tragedies in today's voting to cast aspersion on the whole showcase of democratic emergence.
These people truly are dead-enders.